Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Group
of humanoid sewer dwelling teenage turtles (Michaelangelo,
Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo) on the animated cartoon TEENAGE
MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/SYN/CBS/1987-96.
This team of crime fighting turtles consisted of :
Michelangelo (orange face mask), the prankster of the group
and an expert with the whirling Nunchukus (Japanese weapon of two
wooden stick attached by a chain). The ultimate party animal, he
loved rock n' roll, doing corny imitation of movie stars like
Sylvester Stallone and James Cagney and really went bonkers over a
good pizza (a food enjoyed by all of the turtles). Mike jokingly
called himself the "Master of the Whirling Pizza."
Donatello (purple face mask), the smartest of the Ninja
turtles. Donatello was a mechanical whiz, who always read
technical manuals and invented things like the Turtle Communicator
and the Turtle Blimp. His weapon of choice was the Bo, a long
Raphael (red face mask), a loner and a rebel who was
the hot-headed member of the group. His favorite weapon was the Sai, a three pronged dagger.
Leonardo (blue face mask), the oldest, (16 years
old) most responsible and disciplined of the group. His taste in
weapons leaned toward the Katana, a long sword (but he was
proficient with all fighting tools).
The Turtles spoke in a surfer-dude language and used such phrases
as "Radical," "Awesome," "Mondo," "Tubular, "No Problemo" and
"Bummer." Their favorite catchphrase and battle cry was "Cowabunga."
The teenage turtles were lead by a large rat called Splinter.
Whereas the turtles loved pizza, Splinter enjoyed Sushi. Splinter
was a master of the martial arts. He used to be a Japanese Ninja
master named Hamato Yoshi "the greatest shadow warrior" who was
betrayed by an evil disciple, Oroku Saki who took over his
fighting clan (The Foot) and turned them towards evil ways. Hamato
Yoshi then escaped to New York City and took shelter in the sewer
While living beneath the city streets, a small boy carrying a bowl
of pet turtles tripped and spilled its contents into the sewers
below, where Hamato Yoshi found and adopted them as pets. He named
the turtles for his favorite Italian Renaissance artisans.
All went well until Oroku Saki (now called Shredder) discovered
Hamato and poured a green ooze over him and the four turtles. This
toxic waste instead mutated Hamato into a huge hairy rat and the
turtles into humanoid-sized turtles.
Realizing the green ooze bestowed intelligence onto the turtles,
Hamato trained the mutant turtles in the ways of the Ninja.
(According to the comic book origins, Splinter was the name of
Hamato Yoshi's pet rat who was transformed by the Retromutagen
Shredder employed other mutant animals like Rocksteady (a grey
rhino cross-mutated with a street thug) Bebop (a warthog crossed
with a dim-witted mobster) continued to be the Turtles main
In future episodes additional evil doers crossed path with the
Krang, an evil bodiless brain-shaped entity from Dimension X
General Traag, the leader of Krang's Rock Soldier Army
Baxter Stockman, an absent-minded professor mutated into a fly
Rat King, a sewer based criminal dressed in rags who controlled
the rats beneath the streets of New York City (a la the Pied
Foot Clan soldiers (purple-hooded robots/teenagers who did the
evil bidding of Shredder and his accomplices).
The good-guys who assisted the turtles in their fight against
April O'Neil, a human female TV news reporter
Casey Jones, a human who wore a hockey mask and fought criminals
vigilante style with a hockey stick
Ace Duck, a famous test pilot who mutated into a duck creature
Genghis Frog, a tadpole mutated into a five-foot tall intelligent
Metalhead, a robotic turtle built by Krang but reprogrammed by
Donatello to be their butler
Danny Pennington, the lonely son of April's Boss who joined forces
with the turtles
Usagi Yojimbo, a white rabbit who cross-mutated with an ancient
Wingnut, a vampire bat from the planet Huanu
Screwloose, a mutated mosquito buddy of Wingnut.
NINJA TURTLES: THE NEXT MUTATION/FOX/1997 continued the adventures
of the Turtles in a live-action TV-movie with full-bodied
characters similar to the theatrical film versions.
TRIVIA NOTE: The idea for the Ninja
Turtles was created in 1983 in the kitchen of a New England
farmhouse by the cartoonist team of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
from Northhampton, Massachusetts.
After unsuccessfully trying to sell their concept to Marvel
Comics, the two borrowed $500 from Kevin's uncle and printed 3000
black and white Mirage Studios comics in April 1984 which sold out
immediately. The next issue sold 15,000 copies and the Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles soon became one of the most profitable
merchandising schemes in history (with the assistance of
entrepreneur Mark Freedman).
The popularity of the Ninja turtles inspired video games, toy
figurines, and the successful live-action Golden Harvest film
adaptations Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and its
sequels Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
(1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993).
In 2007 a computer-animated reproduction called TMNT was
produced by Peter Laird.
Back to Top