Need 43 minutes to waste? Call up your local Pizza Hut, grab your 20-year-old TMNT pillowcase and let’s get down on some horribly bad costumed Ninja Turtles on the Oprah Winfrey show.
You’d really have to be living in a sewer back in the late ’80s and early ’90s if you hadn’t seen a single episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Skateboarding teenage amphibians and talking rats along with Bebop and Rocksteady were LIFE. I’m proud to claim my insane devotion to TurtleMania that swept the era of Saturday Morning goodness. However, I don’t know if I can ever have the strength to defend that insanely wacky “Coming Out of Their Shells” album and tour from 1990.
Good God, it’s Magic Mike, Donatello.
Yeah, I got nothing. No words.
Anyways, on the heels of a successful Saturday morning national treasure, and that first feature-length kick-ass movie, the Turtles moved into the music scene with a live tour and album- sponsored by who else? Pizza Hut, duh. The “Coming Out of Their Shells” tour was promoted on the original release of the TMNT VHS movie from 1990, (if anyone actually remembers), among countless commercials from the nationwide pizza chain. The show itself, which did air live on Pay Per View once, showcased the mean, green heroes dancing, singing timeless hits such as, “Pizza Power” and“Skipping Stones”, and playing instruments because hey, they were a band now. We had Donatello on keys, Leonardo on bass guitar, Michelangelo on guitar, and Raphael on drums while also making Kenny G envious of his sweet saxophone skills. Of course, the show wouldn’t be complete without the Turtles’ arch-nemesis Shredder. And oh yes, his costume is just as awfully stupendous. The Shred-Head, along with buggy brainiac Baxtor Stockman, invent a device that steals all the music in the world while also weakening the Turtles if they stand too close to it. So there we have an epically staged corn fest of singing turtles saving the day. But man, it sure didn’t seem that way when we were kids. Am I right?
Or maybe not…
Well in any regard, the power of the Turtle was so strong even the mighty Oprah had to acknowledge it with a full show dedicated to the four mutants and their traveling live album. The audience was PACKED with little TMNT enthusiasts as you can umm, see above. I would only assume that the horrified look above may have been from Oprah’s question to the Turtles on whether they wished April was a turtle-like themselves. Which good ole’ Ralphel replies, “Well, I’ve been trying to talk her into an interspecies relationship for months now.” That poor woman playing April O’Neil looks so mortified.
Something tells me there is NO WAY that would fly in this day and age. Ahh, well gotta love the ’90s! Check out the entire show below courtesy of the Digsy channel.
Like the majority of us adults, some of my favorite memories as a kid were the magic of the holidays. Sitting around watching glorious Christmas specials. Grandma’s magnificent Italian seafood dinner spread consisting of Linguini with clams, Clams Oreganata, and the classic eight-hour gravy for the non-fish folks (like me) with mussels on the side. AND of course, all the goddamn wonderful Christmas toys.
1990 was a banner year for some of the hottest toys and games on the market that holiday season. As we’re all aware, many toys are derived from pop-culture entertainment and with such films like Beetlejuice, Batman, and the explosion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles warping our minds on the heels of their late ’89 and ’90 releases, companies like Mattel and Kenner were in no short supply of marketing campaigns for the 1990 Christmas catalogs.
In full disclosure, I never write about what I can’t either recollect from my own memories, or fill in from other family members so every damn thing on this list is something I or my brother either received for the holidays that oh-so-far-away-feeling of 30 years ago! So if there’s something you’d love to add to this list, by all means comment below and tell me about YOUR favorite Christmas toy from 1990!
My Pretty Ballerina
Oh man, I vividly remember receiving this dancing delight under the tree that year. My Pretty Ballerina was a beautifully made doll made by TYCO that twirled around in a circle and walked around on her tippy toes along to her cassette and dancer pole (heh) that came with each doll. Although she was stunning in her little pink tutu and fun to play with, she was NOT a doll to sleep with at night as I ALSO vividly recall nearly poking my damn eye out with that rose glued to her hand.
Red Ryder ain’t got shit on My Pretty Ballerina.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3rd Series)
Playmates and Croner weren’t messing around with the blockbuster release of the first TMNT that year and OF COURSE went balls deep in creating another line of figures for the holidays. This year in particular harvested a RIDICULOUSLY extraordinary amount of turtle merch, including Undercover Donatello there along with Samurai Leo, Surfer Michelangelo, and Space Cadet Raphael. Along with an abundance of vehicles and playsets, let’s highlight the radical Party Wagon in particular.
Beetlejuice Creepy Cruiser
Oh man, that Kenner line of Beetlejuice toys were unbelievably fun to play with. The “Ghost with the Most” dominated holiday toy competitors in 1990 along with TMNT a year after the box-office theatrical release of the film. And with the various strange and unusual pieces you could buy adding on to your collection, it wasn’t hard to see why. While there were many options to choose from in the line, The Creepy Cruiser was the holy grail of Netherworld vehicles in 1990.
By the way, check out my Welcome Page– I still have my talking Beetlejuice Kenner doll in the original box! It’s no creepy cruiser, but let me just have this moment.
New Kids on the Block Action Figures
If you weren’t hangin’ tough with one or ALL FIVE of these Hasbro produced figures of the biggest band of 1990, you were nothing and may as well never leave your house again. Well, according to nine-year-old-girl logic anyway. And you better have that stage, mics, and the phone too. Also, having those interview cassettes that came with each doll pretty much drove your playground points up as well.
Batman Dark Knight Collection
Like Beetlejuice, yet another historical, nostalgic film of 89′ launched a toyline that exploded in 1990. The almighty Kenner was responsible for the glorious Batcave, Batmobile, and figures that some of us still treasure to this very day. I have to admit, when my brother got the Bat Jet and JokerCycle under the tree that year along with the Batcave he already had obtained for his birthday, I snatched that thing and was shooting that Joker face off at everything I possibly could-including my poor brother’s face, heh. Meh. I was a jerk big sister but weren’t we all!
WWF Action Figures
Listen, our household took wrestling very seriously. So much so we had a GARBAGE CAN full of these guys! Every single one was obtained and the answer is yes- we had the ring as well which made for some great Royal Rumbles. Hasbro marketed these guys well as we weren’t the only kids dashing to Toys R Us for the new Ultimate Warrior variant.
Nintendo still hot on the market along with the infamous Nintendo World Championships of 1990 throwing the company into legendary status with our generation, Dr. Mario was released for the NES just in time for everyone with a system to put one on their holiday list. The 215 stage game for the pre-med puzzle thinker was a Saturday well spent in my childhood!
And speaking of Nintendo…
Nintendo Game Boy
Ahh the good ol’ days when everyone was hooked on Dr. Mario and Tetris on the go with Game Boy! Technically, the 8-bit then sorcery phenomenon was released a year prior. However, it was still number one on a LOT of holiday lists that year and sales were booming; making last-minute parents run around like a dizzy ex-governor of California looking for one!
Lil’ Miss Magic Jewels
The Lil’ Miss line from Mattel ran from 1989-1993 with several different variants including a magic mermaid and the original Miss Makeup (which yes I totally owned). Along with this little jeweled treasure that I bet a lot of you forgot about! Bedazzling your doll and your own hair with that wand was all the rage at the beginning of the decade. However, pulling those Velcro jewels out of your ponytail hurt like HELL and would pull out your own hair if the jewels were to close to the roots.
Here’s to going bald in 1990!
Happy Holidays Nostalgic Nuggets! Comment below with your favorite toy or memory from that year! Or hell, any year! Let’s get a good nostalgic conversation going!
If there’s anything we can remember distinctively about our favorite cartoons from our childhood, it’s most certainly the intros. The ’80s are undeniably associated with over-the-top awesome music, bright colors, and spandex galore. So when it came to dazzling the eyes and ears of children of the era via animation, it came as no exception.
Even if it’s been 20 plus years since you’ve laid eyes on your favorite Saturday morning splendor, chances are you can totally remember that rockin’ tune that opened the portal to the castle of Greyskull or man-cats in blue spandex. I’m even willing to bet you probably catch yourself humming one of these intros every so often, like a trapped vortex of ’80s epicness spinning around in your dome. Well, if not, you’re about to for sure. And I’m not the least bit sorry about it!
I have to say it was pretty daunting ranking these magnificent ‘toon openers. The only proper way to get this task fairly done was to use the “head-bobbing method”. Basically, how hard it got my head bobbing back and forth like an idiot headed to the Roxbury.
Anyways, according to the all mighty head bob, here are the 10 greatest cartoon intros of the ’80s!
10. Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling
Sadly, (and this is so irritating of the WWE) anytime someone uploads that glorious intro to Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, it gets taken down pretty quick. Sometimes you’ll be lucky if you catch it. But today is not that day my lovely readers. Luckily enough this kick-ass tune is quite awesome enough to hold on its own. Now just imagine Hogan and his animated buddies hopping in the Wrestling Roadster, while being chased down by Piper and his posse. Then a live-action, fully dressed in red spandex Hogan walking the city streets fist-pumping to this fine tune. You’re welcome.
He may have not been quite as popular as that other smartass orange cat, but goddamn if he didn’t have the better cartoon opener. I don’t remember one thing about this show, other than the cool alley cats. But I sure as shit can sing this tune without skipping a beat. That has to count for something.
Oh man, this one hits right into the nostalgia membranes-woo-hoo! Even if you never watched this, (and who are you if you didn’t) you remember and KNOW every word to this song- woo-hoo! Shit, now I can’t stop with the woo-hoos’. Curse you McDuck!
Just kidding. We love you. Woo-hoo. RIP Alan Young.
Muck like with Ducktales, chances are you at least know some of the lyrics. Come on, who doesn’t recognize, “Robots in disguise“? You’d seriously have to have been living in Gollum’s cave of riddles to not know at least that part. Plus, it’s basically robots fighting each other. What’s not to love here?
6. Alvin and the Chipmunks
It was inevitable a show centered around a trio of singing chipmunks that parody Michael Jackson songs were going to end up on this list. I mean, if the intro theme can’t suck us into a show of that nature, you’re kind of screwed. Love or hate the talking tree rodents, that tune is undeniably catchy.
This intro gives you ZERO explanation of what this show is about. But the flashing lights, super ’80s-ish music, and all the energetic ass-kicking sucked you in anyway. When you heard this as a kid, you got damn excited to plop a squat on that oversized bean-bag chair and watch this badassery with a big bowl of cereal. And then maybe whack your little brother over the head with your plastic sword in the midst of all the excitement.
4. The Real Ghostbusters
Well of course, the more animated theme of Ray Parker Jr’s smash hit from the 1984 blockbuster of the same name, was going to be included. Hell, even Rowan is getting down on this rockin’ classic intro to, quite frankly, one of the most badass cartoons to ever grace the screen on Saturday Morning.
3. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
The most powerful man in the universe also had one of the most powerful (and fuckin’ spectacular) intro themes in cartoon history. Much like with Thundercats, the opener is bright, flashy, and raging with testosterone; making you want to just sit the hell down and satisfy your senses with Skeletor mercilessly ripping into the He-Fool with epic insults. Face it guys- the Bone Daddy of Eternia was the real star here.
2. Jem and the Holograms
There could be an argumentive debate on which Jem intro is superior- the other I’m referring to is the Barbie-like “Jem Girl” theme. However, the fact that The Misfits don’t get a little solo bit in the latter, automatically makes it the weaker version in my own humble opinion. Also, this may be another unpopular opinion on my side, but while Jem and her friends are truly outrageous in their own right, The Misfits had the better songs, period. I can only imagine what kind of rad as hell intro could have been with Pizzazz at the helm. Oh Hell, just bring them back and give them their own show already.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I think it might be fair to say that the Ninja Turtles not only reign as High King for cartoon intros but quite possibly the animated era of the ’80s altogether. When poor He-Man fell from grace (that atrocious 1987 film may have been the final nail in the coffin), four smart-ass teenage kung-fu mutants took the crown as THEE most popular show for both boys and girls for the remainder of the decade. The exciting in-your-face opener is just the greasy pepperoni on top of a delicious pizza with a load of glorious ’80s cheese (but not too much) and a perfect solid dough underneath, Making this not only the most kick-ass intro to really get you excited for an episode but one of the greatest cartoons of the decade as well.
Great, now I just made myself hungry. Now if you’ll excuse me I have tomato bread to consume.
What’s your favorite animated ’80s intro? Stay tuned as we dive into righteous ’90s next week!