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The First Animated Episode

Okay we just ran across stacks of old storyboards from the original animated series and a couple of press releases to boot!  We’d love to show you all of them, but each episode is over 200 pages long.  Maybe we’ll do a best-of-the-best sometime in the near future.  Until then, here are a few from episode #1 along with those press releases.  At the bottom of this page you’ll also find the video of Episode #1!

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Heroes In A Half Shell Strike Blow
For Humor As New Action Figure Line

They’ve been lurking underground for years.

Now they’re hitting the streets — not to mention the TV screens of America with a tongue-in-cheek vengeance.

Their motto: “Strike hard and fade away… into the night.” Their arch-nemesis: The evil Shredder, master of ninjitsu whose very name belies the cool, cutting efficiency of a cheese grater.

Who are they?

Heroes in a half shell.

We speak, of course, of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, that tortoiseshell team of comic book fame, soon to be stars of a new animated television series. And the latest news: the four wisecracking martial artists are destined to be the off-the-wall hit of the toy industry when Playmates Toys introduces its crazy new line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures and accessories.

“When the smoke clears, the industry will be shell-shocked,” grins Richard Sallis, Playmates Toys vice president of marketing – perhaps because the nimble Turtles plan to hit the action figure segment of the industry with all the force of a flying kick. Last year, the male action figure and accessories category pulled in a staggering $1.4 billion in retail stores.

“Action figures and accessories are a cornerstone of the boys’ toy world,” says Sallis. “The average boy in the 5 to 9 age group collects about $300 worth of these figures. But times are changing – we’re seeing old favorites fade. Kids are really looking for something new, different, offbeat, humorous… something radical.”

The new line debuts in January 1988. The first release features ten highly detailed 4 1/2 inch action figures articulated at neck, shoulders, forearm and hips. According to Sallis, they will be priced very competitively – “especially for collecting.” Playmates Toys plans to back the zany Turtles with a hefty $5 million dollar TV advertising campaign running throughout 1988.

The original comic book, co-created by New Englanders Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, features the adventures of four teenage turtles. Altered in form and intelligence by a mysterious radioactive ooze, the turtles have spent 13 years training with Splinter, a wise old sewer rat, in the secret martial arts of the ninja — the shadow warriors of feudal Japan.

The spoof begins as the four turtles — Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael — embark on a perilous mission to confront their sworn foe, the evil Shredder. The premiere issue was released May 1, 1984 by Eastman and Laird’s Mirage Studios in Dover, New Hampshire. Since then the comic has reached the status of an independent classic, with sales of over 150,000 per issue. The Turtles are so popular that Archie Comics will begin distributing 300,000 copies of a special newsstand version of the comic beginning March 1988.

All of the Playmates Toys figures are adapted from the comic book and a five-part TV series to air on syndicated television in late 1987 and through 1988. The central characters are four highly individual and funny Turtles. LEONARDO, perfectionist and unofficial commander of the team, uses keen eyesight and acute hearing to spearhead the Turtle assaults. MICHAELANGELO, swings his nunchakus with the wild abandon of the party reptile he is. DONATELLO, creative genius and designer of the Turtle attack vehicles, is the behind the Turtles brawn. And RAPHAEL, who cuts with his rapier wit and forked Sai, keeps everyone in stitches – one way or another.

Other good guys include SPLINTER, the Turtles’ leader, a rat mutation of a ninja master who has trained the Turtles to fight for truth, justice, and their share of pizza. APRIL O’NEIL, the nation’s hottest TV journalist, is the Turtle’s protector and resident femme fatale.

On the evil side is the SHREDDER, leader of the evil Foot Clan. His most recognizable features are slice n’ dice armor and a vice-encrusted heart bent on world domination. His loyal (if somewhat mummified) FOOT SOLDIERS are skeletal subhumans who follow the twisted will of their master. Other enemies of the Turtles include ROCKSTEADY, the mutant GI whose Rhino-tough body makes him a Turtle-bashing powerhouse; and BEBOP, a huge mutant punk-rock hog who slam-dances his way through battle, resenting teen Turtles almost as much as he does his parents.

Turtle accessories, available in June 1988, will include the TURTLE PARTY VAN, a shell-topped ground machine equipped with Foot-stomping side weapon, Turtle attack panel, and itchy powder/laughing gas bombs; the TURTLE BLIMP, a wacky 30″ long attack aircraft with a detachable Turtle Glider with trigger-activated Turtle launcher and the TURTLE TROOPER, a working parachute toy with a 35-inch diameter chute.

When not rocking the sewers, the Turtles call Playmates Toys Inc. 16200 South Trojan Way in La Mirada, California, 90638, their home. Playmates is a leading manufacturer of children’s toys.





Heroes in a Half-Shell Strike a Blow for Humor with New Five-Part Animated TV Series

They are Renaissance Turtles — Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. But though they brandish the weapons and skills of the feared Ninjitsu warriors of ancient Japan, inside they carry the angst and tribulations of…

TEENAGERS! Yes, they are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They strike hard and fade away into the night. But not for long. Soon they will be appearing on a television screen near you, feisty and ready to kick some “shell.”

Murakami Wolf Swenson, Inc., famed Hollywood animators who already have an Oscar and two Emmy’s under their belts, have created an animated version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The new animated series is scheduled to air on syndicated television in more than 80 percent of the country between Christmas and New Year. The 30-minute segments will run on consecutive days, with double plays in the mornings and afternoons.

Based on characters conceived in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in their wildly-successful, independent, black and white comic book series of the same name, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be the first “alternative” super hero show to hit the TV screen.

And alternative it will be. The series is a brilliant blend of high adventure, science fiction and, most importantly, spoof. This is not just action-adventure.

“What we’ve done here,” says David Wise, co-writer of the upcoming series, “is to animate the biggest selling independent comic book in the world. It’s totally new, wild, off-the-wall, screwy, warped, and wonderfully funny.”

The series traces the latest adventures of four teenage turtles trained in the secret martial arts of the Ninja by a mutated, Zen-like rat named Splinter who lives in the recesses of the New York sewer system.

Armed with sais, nunchakus, swords and other Ninja battle paraphernalia, our heroes battle their foe — the Shredder, an evil human Ninja with slice and dice armor and his minions of the “Foot Clan.”

And so the battle rages. They may not slay the Shredder and they may not prevent galactic warfare on earth, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will laugh trying.



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