Sunday, September 9, 2012

From Comics to Toons: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

To think that it all started with an independently published, black & white comic book that was a pop culture phenomenon in the mid-80's.

Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their television debut 25 years ago, and are still charming audiences today. As I noted in reviewing the live-action Next Mutation series, the Turtles' current home is Nicktoons (which, I'm happy to say, is finally available on Time Warner Cable in upstate NY), after spending most of the last decade between Fox & WB/CW.

The original series aired initially in syndication before being picked up by CBS as that network needed another tentpole series to go along with Jim Henson's Muppet Babies in the late 80's. The Turtles enjoyed a very successful run on the network, and reruns would later surface on USA's Cartoon Express anthology block.

I should also note that actor Rob Paulsen, who worked on the original series, is currently the only cast member who returned for the current animated incarnation of the Turtles. The 1987 cast also included former Screen Actors Guild President Barry Gordon (ex-Fish), whom some of you might also know was the voice of the Nestle Quik (now Nesquik) Bunny for many years.

From season 2, watch what happens when Baxter Stockman turns into "The Fly":

Soon, I will cover the more recent Fox/CW run. Keep reading.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

I was never a big Turtles fan but I caught a few eps here and there.

I also remember Barry Gordon as the voice of "Razor" on "Swat Kats". I didn't realize he was the Nestle Quick Bunny!

One Turtle movie I really enjoyed was the 2003 animated reboot which ended with a TV movie with the '87 Turtles crossing over in each other's universes! It actually addressed both shows quite well, including poking fun at the wacky set ups from the '87 series, as the reboot was more serious in tone.

hobbyfan said...

Y'know, I've been dying to put some SWAT Kats stuff up, but every time I turn around, the embedding codes are freakin' disabled! What's wrong with these geeks?

Seriously, Barry Gordon has one basic voice, so all of his characters pretty much sound the same. I found out about his being the Quik Bunny after doing some research to verify.

One big diff between the '87 and '03 Turtles series was April O'Neil's occupation. She wasn't the Turtles' answer to Lois Lane in the later series. Hmmmm.......