12 Things You Didn’t Know About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have battled crime and scarfed pizza for decades. From their home base – a New York City sewer – they’ve conquered comics, television, movies and video games. But did you know the following tidbits about them?

Self-Published Success

In 1984, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird self-published the first TMNT comic. It was black and white and ran forty pages.

Michelangelo, Surfer Dude

When the turtles became animated TV stars in 1987, Michelangelo adopted the stereotypical personality of a California surfer.

The Many Lives of April O’Neil

April O’Neil has gone through a couple mutations herself. In the comics she was a laboratory assistant. In the 1980’s TV show she became a reporter. In the current computer-animated program on Nickelodeon, April’s a high school student.

The Blair Turtle Project

Until the release of “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), the first Turtles movie was the most successful, in terms of box office, independent movie in history.

Kermit vs. the Turtles?

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop designed the animatronic heads for the first two Turtles films. However, Henson disliked the original film, criticizing its violence. The second movie was dedicated to his memory, a dedication his five children publicly objected to.

Female Turtle Power

Yes, there was a female Ninja Turtle. Venus de Milo appeared on the live-action “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation,” a show that aired from 1997 to 1998 on Fox Kids.

Feldman Joins the Gang

Eighties teen star Corey Feldman voiced Donatello in the first Turtles movie.

The Turtles Go Disney

Through a licensing deal, the Turtles appeared at the Disney-MGM Studios in Florida in 1990. The Turtles would drive their Party Wagon up to a small outdoor stage and then dance as April sang.

Breakfast of Ninjas

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal debuted in 1989, and included marshmallows shaped like pizza slices.

Krang and Liz Lemon

The NBC comedy series “30 Rock” mentioned the Turtles’ enemy Krang a couple times in 2012. In one episode, Liz Lemon, a television writer played by Tina Fey, instructs her staff not to write any more Krang-themed sketches.

The Turtles Sing!

The Turtles went on tour in 1990. This concert, sponsored by Pizza Hut, was called “Coming Out of Their Shells.” It featured Turtle characters singing original songs, including the show-stopping “Pizza Power.”

Turtles Just Say No

The Ninja Turtles joined many other animated TV stars, including Winnie-the-Pooh and the Smurfs, in “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.” This 1990 special, about a boy who smokes marijuana, aired on all three major networks.