It’s tough to exaggerate how popular the Ninja Turtles were in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Batman may have been a bigger movie and The Simpsons may have been a bigger TV show, but the thing about the Turtles is that they hit into EVERYTHING.
All at once, they had a white hot cartoon, a white hot movie, a white hot toy line, a white hot arcade game, and a comic book series that was at least red hot, but probably white, too.
When something gets into the zeitgeist to that degree, its reach keeps expanding even when it’s not doing anything. From their halcyon days, below are five times the Ninja Turtles were referenced in movies and TV shows. (You know you’ve made it when Sophia Petrillo namedrops you!)
TMNT 2 VHS on Step By Step! (1992)
In Back to Basics (S2), Carol fumes over the kids’ financial irresponsibility — mostly thanks to a rented copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, which got lost under a bed for so long that she had to buy it outright.
Frank is less annoyed, because he’s heard great things about The Secret of the Ooze. Surely there are worse things to be saddled with than a movie wherein David Warner uses magic slime to grow a werewolf. Frank can’t wait to kick back and relax with the Ninja Turtles and a cold can of… Sprit?
Props to the prop department: Not only is that a legit TMNT II videocassette, but it’s very specifically a rental copy. You can tell by the cumbersome hard plastic sleeve. (I couldn’t stand those. They may have been protective, but I hated having to shake them like maracas to get the tapes out.)
(Big thanks to Looey Q Comics for tipping me off about this!)
TMNT Cereal on 21 Jump Street! (1989)
In the opening seconds of Mike’s P.O.V. (S4), a high school student (that’s Mike) breakfasts on TMNT Cereal before heading off to school. Oh, and because this is 21 Jump Street, he kills someone on the way to class.
The cereal wasn’t just a cute reference or a matter of happenstance — it helped establish that Mike was still a kid. Given that the guy who played him (Donovan Leitch Jr.) was over 20 at the time, that was pretty essential.
A mix of cheap Chex and chalky marshmallows, TMNT Cereal wasn’t one of my favorites. That never kept me from grabbing it, because the Ninja Turtles were my gods and they demanded tribute. (And also because of the way-cool giveaways, like those bowls that came shrink-wrapped to the boxes!) Read More…
Time to launch the first Funpack of 2021! (And yeah, there are finally slots available for new subscriptions! As of this writing, at least!)
UNITED STATES ONLY! LIMITED SUPPLY!
I’m thrilled with how the January 2021 Funpack turned out, and I hope you will be too. It’s a strong mix of serious collectibles, goofy novelties, awesome snacks and more. If this stuff doesn’t put a smile on your face, you’re reading the wrong website.
Y’all know the score. Subscriptions are $25 a month (including shipping), and for as long as you remain subscribed, you’ll keep getting boxes of old-and-new nonsense each and every month. (And you can cancel anytime without penalty, of course!)
Scroll to the bottom to start your subscription, or keep reading to learn about everything in this month’s box! Read More…
Let’s ease out of the holidays and into 2021 with some random TV commercials from 30 years ago. (That line played better in my head, but since nobody reads intros, better to be clunky now than later.)
Rare TMNT PPV Promo! (1990)
Here’s an extremely rare promo that ran on preview channels for the Ninja Turtles’ Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, live on PPV!
Picture TMNT as an odd mash of NKOTB and Van Halen. The Turtles really did tour nationally, but this pay-per-view was for their kickoff show at Radio City Music Hall.
Given that this went down when the cartoon, toy line and live-action movie were all white hot, I’m guessing that the PPV did huge business. Pretty shocked that I didn’t order it myself, but then, I had an irrational fear of music before high school.
Maaaaan, I miss the hell out of PPV preview channels. Are they still a thing? Way back when, I’d let them play for hours on end, slowly memorizing every trailer, and even the order in which they appeared. It was like radio for the radio-averse.
Nestle Alpine White! (1986)
Wait, have I really never featured this spot on Dino Drac before? I know I covered the second version with the female vocalist, but this is the original — one of the definitive 1980s commercials, with a jingle so good it should’ve been released on vinyl.
God knows what compelled Nestle to be so “extra” about Alpine White candy bars, but I’m not complaining. Available with and without almonds, the bars were otherwise pure white chocolate.
White chocolate is still rare in the candy arena, but it was positively alien during the ‘80s. Which meant that Nestle could define it however they wanted. Hence, we got this batshit awesome commercial where winter models stood moody and mute, only ever opening their mouths when it was time for another bite. A+. Read More…
It’s nearing 2AM as I write this — technically Christmas Eve, but only barely. I’m running on fumes and bourbon, shocked that our “simple” stay-at-home Christmas has required just as much prep as any regular one.
The gifts are wrapped. Everything except that weird bonsai tree I bought my S/O. How do you wrap a bonsai tree? I considered hiding it in my long-emptied Cheetos Popcorn tin, but I didn’t want to risk making the tree stink like fake cheese. She’s vegan, anyway.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up and cook for six hours straight. I’m making way too much food, in a sad attempt to replicate the feel of our normal Christmas Eve parties, which involve dozens of dishes for dozens of people. Somewhere along the way, I have to pick up sushi and that one last gift, because no matter how hard I try, there’s always that “one last gift” to get, every year.
Sleep would be the wisest move, but I wanted to leave you with a few last drops of holiday goodness. HI EVERYONE, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I hope you’ve enjoyed Dino Drac’s holiday season, truncated as it was. (The nice thing about 2020 is that you can do very little and sell it as a lot.)
It’s not the booze talking when I say that I love you guys, and that even after two decades, I still love doing this. I feel extremely blessed that I’m in a position to do it, and that I have enough of an audience to justify it. If there ever comes a point where those things stop being true, I’ll look back at this as one the luckiest times of my life — no matter how weird and low-rent it may sometimes be!
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, but given the times we’re in, I get that some of you won’t. Looking around, it’s plain to see that a lot of folks are just trying to survive the week. Which brings me to the point of this “article” — in quotes because I’m not sure it actually qualifies as one.
If you find yourself with too little to do over the next few days, I’ve uploaded a couple of holiday videos that’ll help you pass the time. Big swings, IMO. These were all pulled from my VHS collection, and I tried to make the picture and sound as clean as possible: Read More…