Below: Seven of the most interesting TMNT items currently on eBay. I can afford nearly none of them.
TMNT Sewer Hockey!
Asking Price: $224.99
Table hockey is fun under any guise, but when your team includes the likes of Casey Jones and Genghis Frog, you’re compelled to never stop playing, fully aware that things can only go downhill from the moment you stop.
Subterranean Sewer Hockey’s high price owes as much to its rarity as its awesomeness. Since the game was shelved far, far away from the “normal” TMNT toys, the only kids who really noticed it were those who pored over their Sears Wish Books with extreme scrutiny.
Neat note: Despite being produced by Remco, the various player figurines were very obviously based on Playmates’ toy collection, down to every last detail. Which means that Rat King is still covered in albino rats even while playing hockey. I’m naming him the MVP based on that alone.
Asking Price: $150.00
While Masters of the Universe Slime and Real Ghostbusters Ecto-Plazm are widely considered the best-ever toy glops, Retromutagen Ooze was right up there. Really, you got the best of both worlds: The Ooze was as green as He-Man’s sludge, but it had the drippier consistency of Ecto-Plazm. So good!
There was also a much rarer Retromutagen Foot Ooze variety, which actually made more sense, since the term “retromutagen” refers to slime that reverses the effects of mutation. (In layman’s terms, it was supposed to turn Donatello back into a regular, boring turtle. Certainly more useful to Shredder than our heroes!)
Both versions of the Ooze came with a miniature turtle or rat figure inside. The turtle was meant to represent the pre-mutated form of your favorite Ninja Turtle, while the rat, obviously, was supposed to be a baby Splinter.
I’d kill for one of these cans, but I’m not paying anywhere near $150, and that’s only a little more than the average price for a sealed one… mostly because unsealed cans rarely have any slime left!
TMNT Arcade Game!
Asking Price: $2000
Building my own arcade is high up on the list of things I’d do after a lottery win, and though the Ninja Turtles game wouldn’t be the first cabinet imported, it’d certainly be among the first five. WHAT A GAME THIS WAS.
Everyone who played it loved it, but it took a serious TMNT fan to appreciate all of the little touches. (Like how the enemies included Shredder’s Roadkill Rodneys, who only appeared in a scant few of the cartoon episodes. “Do not resist us!”)
As much as I loved feeding these machines quarters, I think I got even more enjoyment from just watching other people play. They generally performed better than I ever could, and the graphics were good enough for me to pretend that I was just watching the cartoon. Or maybe I was just too self-conscious to suck at being Raphael in front of complete strangers.
Great Big Button!
Asking Price: $4.99
Oh yes, who could forget the GREAT BIG BUTTON series? Joining other ludicrously huge novelty buttons, they spent a few years being THE THING TO BUY if you were stuck in Spencer Gifts with less than five bucks.
Several TMNT buttons were a part of this series. I owned at least two, along with one of the Batman logo, and another three depicting Bart Simpson. By 1991, my jacket felt like chain mail.
Since the photo doesn’t offer much in the way of scale, I should point out that these were seriously huge. Like at least 10-12 times the size of a standard novelty button. The only people who dared to wear them were only beginning to get their feet wet with deliberate fashion choices, because kids who’d already spent time gauging the reactions to such things knew better than to walk around with what acted as thematic targets all over their bodies.
I myself learned the hard way.
Chef Boyardee Super Shredder!
Asking Price: $749.99
After TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze debuted, it wasn’t long before Playmates released a Super Shredder figure. (Naturally, this represented Shredder as he was depicted in the film’s climax, when drinking mutagen somehow made his clothes grow more threatening. It was the kind of plot point that you could only get away with in a film that had already featured a four minute “Ninja Rap” fronted by Vanilla Ice.)
That same figure was also offered as a mail-away promo on cans of Chef Boyardee’s TMNT Pasta, but in a weird twist, it had a uniquely darker color scheme. Though less canonical, it was an undeniably cooler look, transforming Super Shredder from “spiky eggplant” into something out of The Road Warrior.
The example shown here is unusually expensive, but even the “cheap” ones will still cost you more than the best dinner ever.
TMNT Pizza Hut Display!
Asking Price: $800
As much as I’d like to blast the seller for that $800 asking price, where the hell else are you gonna find one? Besides, if this was mine, it’d take a lot more than 800 bucks to pry it from me. You’d need maces and big clowny distractions.
I’m not 100% onboard with the Turtles’ mouths, though. They’re all a little funky, but I’d be working way too blue if I told you what Leo’s brought to mind. Which I suppose is fitting, given his bandana.
Ninja Hero Rider!
Asking Price: $75
Hooo boy. I’ve seen a bazillion TMNT knockoffs over the years, but this may be the strangest yet. Here we have a stand-in for Donatello, who’s traded his shell in for frog legs, and is perpetually situated to look like he’s prepping for a forest shit. And it only gets better from there!
Notatello rides a horse, but in the spirit of TMNT, it’s a GREEN horse, which looks ten times weirder than I ever would’ve imagined a green horse looking. Also take note of the blonde mane. It’s like Kermit and Miss Piggy had a baby and then argued over which one of them cheated.
It can’t accurately be called a bootleg because there’s nothing in the real TMNT universe even remotely like this, but now that I’ve seen a Teenage Mutant Ninja Frog ride a pistachio horse into the sunset, I sooo wish there was.