Friday, February 17, 2012

The Cartoon Historian Lesson Redo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Original)

*Inside The CH Classroom*

Welcome to the very first of my Redo Lessons. Today we will be taking a look at The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series.

*The Cartoon Historian Theme Plays*

Co-hosting is a guy that was promised a co-hosting gig a while ago. So here he is Michaelangelo 2K3.

*2k3 Michaelangelo enter and he and stefan fist bump*


2K3 Mikey: Awesome to finally be doin' this dude. What kept ya?

Yeah I know,I promised you last year that we'd do this. But I was busy.

2K3 Mikey: Whateves dude you owe me big now.

How about I buy Pizza later?

2K3 Mikey: Now you're talkin'.

Anyway,The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a cultural phenomenom and has spawned many movies,comics,cartoons and even video games.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are is a team of four mutant turtles, who were trained by Splinter,a mutant rat,in the art of Ninjitsu. From their home is the sewers of New York.

2K3 Mikey: These dudes battle petty criminals,evil megalomaniacs,and alien invaders,while trying to hide from humanity. Kinda like My team.

Yeah,but that's where the similarities between your team and the OT's ends.

2K3 Mikey: *scratch head* OT?

Original Toon.

2K3 Mikey: Oh. Gotcha,dude.

Anyway,The characters initially appeared in comic books before being licensed for toys, cartoons and film adaptations. But it was the Cartoon that made the franchise popular.

2K3 Mikey: Now lets get down to the good stuff.

Right. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Europe)was produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson and Shogakukan Studios. It premiered in December of 1987 as a five-part mini-series animated by Toei.

2K3 Mikey: Whoa! You Serious?

Yup. Toei,the creators of the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon Animes,were the original animators of the show. Though,Toei only did the 1st season. The rest were done here and abroad in Korea.

As I stated earlier,the TMNT franchise started as a Comic series. A comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The property was changed considerably,from the darker-toned comic to a more light-hearted show.

Upon being approached to create a toy line,Playmates Toys was uneasy with the comic book characters' bad-ass additude.

2K3 Mikey: Holy Censorship Batman!

Playmates didn't like the darker,more bad ass tone of the original Mirage Comic,so they requested that a television deal be acquired first. A TV Show that was for the 8-12 Year Old Demographic.

2K3 Mikey: Apperently,Toy Collectors weren't invented yet.

*chuckles* Anyway,after the initial five-episodes,the California toy company released their first series of Ninja Turtles action figures in the summer of 1988. Soon after,Playmates and Show Creators,Murakami-Wolf-Swenson,became buisness partners.

2K3 Mikey: A Match made in heaven.

Anyway,David Wise and Patti Howeth wrote the screenplay for the first season with some input from Eastman and Laird. It's also worth noting that Eastmen and Laird had a hand in the creation's of Bebob,Rocksteady,and Krang.

2K3 Mikey: Whoa!

Yeah. Anyway,When the series continued in the second season,comic artist Jack Mendelsohn joined the show as the executive story editor. The Series began it's Saturday Morning run on October 1st 1988.

After it became an instant hit, the show was expanded to five days a week and aired weekday afternoons in syndication in most markets on September 25th 1989.

On September 8th 1990,the series became a 60-minute block on CBS's SatAM block and then back into a 30-minute show until the series ended on November 2nd 1996.

2K3 Mikey: How come My show wasn't put into an hour block. Stupid 4Kids!

Well,what the hell do you expecy Mikey? 4Kids sucks! And They'll Continue to suck until the day they die,which hopefully won't be long now.

2K3 Mikey: Death To THe Destroyers Of Anime And Saturday Morning Entertainment!!!!!

Anyway,The show helped launch the characters into mainstream popularity and became one of the most popular animated series in television history. And not just in the U.S. either. But around the world...including Japan.

2K3 Mikey: This show was a marketing bonanza. There were Toy's,Plushies,Cereal,A Board Game,Video Games,Bed Sheets,and even Pez Dispencers. Man,I sure could go for some Pez right now.

And those were just some of the many Ninja Turtle-realated items marketed during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

2K3 Mikey: Whoa!

A successful Archie comic book based on the animated show was published throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Action figures were top-sellers around the world. In 1990,the cartoon series was being shown daily on more than 125 television stations around the Country.

2K3 Mikey: So why Is the Original cartoon so different from the Mirage comic?

The TV series differs greatly from that of the original Mirage Studios comics. This was to make the show more marketable to the 8-12 year old demographic. I thought I already explained that?

2K3 Mikey: Sorry,I guess I kinda missed it. Kinda,got a short attention span.


2K3: Yeah,I'm not proud. Infact My family is kinda annoyed by it.

Anyway,In the Original Cartoon,Splinter was an honorable human ninja master named Hamato Yoshi. Yoshi was banished from the Foot Clan in Japan after his arch-rival/bitter nemesis and fellow Foot Clan member,Oroku Saki,pinned Yoshi's dogi to the wall with a knife,preventing him from kneeling before their sensei. This was seen as an insult.

When Yoshi removed the knife,the sensei was again insulted,believing Yoshi was trying to kill him. Exiled from the ninja clan,the disgraced Yoshi moved to New York City. Since he had little to no Money,Yoshi was forced to live in the sewers.

2K3: Mikey: That makes sence.

While living in the sewers,Yoshi befriended the Rats. Few weeks later,Yoshi found 4 baby turtles,who were accidentally dropped into the sewers by their owner. The Owner was unnamed,but he kinda looked like Zack. If that was Zack,it would explain his fasinatioon with the TMNT,because they reminded them of the turtles that he himself use to own.

2K3: Good Theory,dude. Oh wait? Who's Zack?

He was a TMNT Fanboy that appeared in a few Episodes. he was annoying. Kinda like Serling.

2K3 Mikey: Yeah,but he was fun to torment.

Yoshi returned one day from his explorations around New York to find the turtles covered with a strange glowing ooze. The substance caused the turtles to become humanoid, And since Yoshi also touched the Ooze,he began mutating as well.

Yoshi became a humanoid rat,since the rats were the animals he was in most contact with. And The Turtles became Humanoid because of similar reasons. The Turtles nicknamed Yoshi "Splinter".

2K3 Mikey: This and the Archie Comics is the only origin story in the TMNT franchise where the Turtles come to Yoshi before being exposed to mutagen. At least I think?

Right,Mikey. Also, Yoshi becomes the rat.Even though in most other TMNT Universes,Splinter is Yoshi's pet rat,who becomes humanoid. This is also the only version in which the Turtles become fully grown immediately after exposure to the mutagen. Splinter raises them from infancy in other versions.

2K3 Mikey: Yup,Yup.

Yoshi adopts the four turtles as his sons and trains them in the art of ninjitsu. He names them after his favorite Italian renaissance artists: Leonardo da Vinci(Leonardo), Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi(Donatello), Raffaello Sanzio(Raphael), and Michelangelo Buonarroti(Michaelangelo).

2K3 Mikey: Oh,so Those are the dudes that we're named after. I've heard about da vinci and the Great Micheangelo,but had no idea who the other 2 were.

In most versions,the Turtles tend to go by nicknames Leo, Donn,Raph and Mikey. However,in this version they are always addressed by their full names. Each Ninja Turtle wears a mask over his eyes. Each Mask is a different color (unlike the comics where the turtles masks were all red and even maroon in some versions of the comics). Each turtle is also Trained with a personal weapon.

2K3 Mikey: Me and my bro's were once called sell-outs because of that.

The Weaponms?

2K3 Mikey: No,the multi-colored masks.

Oh yeah,I remember that as well. Anyway,back in Japan,Oroku Saki has taken over the Foot Clan and have trained them to be ninja thugs. He soon moved the Foot Clan to New York City. Once their he makes plansd to kill his old enemy Hamato Yoshi.

He soon becomes associated with Krang,a disembodied alien brain who has been banished from his home,Dimension X. Krang was also a great warlord. Now it's unknown how Saki met Krang. As it was never ever explained.

2K3 Mikey: THat little duide freaks me out.

Saki soon became The Shredder and soon had his Foot Ninja's Automated.

It becomes clear that the mutagen that transformed the Turtles and Splinter was dumped into the sewer by Shredder in an effort to destroy Yoshi. Shredder thought it was a deadly poison. The Turtles vow to take revenge on the Shredder for dishonoring their master,as well as turning him into a rat.

The Turtles want to force him to turn Splinter back into a human again,though this quickly evolves into stopping Shredder's ongoing criminal career with the aid of Channel 6 reporter April O'Neil.

2K3 Mikey: April was a News Reporter in This? Wow what a difference from My April. Though,gotta admit,she is hot.

The Turtles begin to take on the role of vigilante crime-fighters operating outside of the jurisdiction of law enforcement against any criminals,much like Casey Jones in the third season.

For the first couple of seasons the Turtles are constantly preoccupied with hiding their existence. This seems to be slowly relaxed by the next few seasons,as most citizens seem to be aware of them.

They also frequently have to deal with citizens misunderstanding them,thanks to the efforts of Burne Thompson,April's Boss,and Vernon Fenwick,a Channel 6 cameraman and April's co-worker. Both men distrust the Turtles and frequently blame them for the trouble that the Shredder and Krang cause.

2K3 Mikey: Well that sucks.

True. Anyway,Shredder and Krang,have help in the form of 2 Mutated thugs named Bebop and Rocksteady(who shredder himself has mutated). They also have the newly automated Foot Ninjas.

Much of villians quest for world domination hinges on using the Technodrome (Krang's mobile fortress and the villians main base). One of the things that change with each season,is the location of the Technodrome.

2K3 Mikey: The Technodrome aka The Giant Golfball on Wheels *laughs*

Anyway,the Technodrome is either stuck in the Earth's Core,Dimension X,The Arctic or The Ocean. And in the Final seasons,it was stuck in a black hole. The Mobile base was Destroyed in the Red Sky Seasons.

And speaking of the Red Sky saga. In those seasons,the Turtles finally banish The Shredder and Krang to Dimension X. They destroy the engines and the "trans-dimensional portal" of the Technodrome preventing them from ever returning to Earth.

The show itself had already lasted well past the average lifespan of most Saturday morning cartoon series. But in the Final 3 Seasons(the red sky seasons) went through dramatic changes.

The animation became darker and closer to the original comic book style,the color of the sky in each episode changed from the traditional blue to a continuous and ominous dark-red sky (which was commonplace with newer action-oriented children's programming at that time). The theme song was changed.the introduction sequence added in clips from the first film.

2K3 Mikey: The show took on a darker,more action-oriented atmosphere. I kinda wish those Turtles were used in "Turtles Forever".

Well think of it this way,the Turtles that you and Your siblings met in that movie were not the same Turtles from this Cartoon,but dumbed down versions. But,I'll get into "Turtles Forever" some other time.

A new villain,Lord Dregg also appears as their new chief nemesis. Lord Dregg begins a propaganda campaign against the Turtles, turning the general population against them and in favor of him and his forces. In the last episode of the series, the Turtles trap Dregg in Dimension X.

2K3: Anti-Climatic much!

From Seasons 2-7,the Turtles,as well as the other characters,are seen breaking the fourth wall by saying things to the audience and talking about their show. It's also worth noting that the writers were used to writing Comedy,rather than true action.

2K3 Mikey: Oh,so that's why the action scenes were so goofy and full of jokes and puns.

Yup. The Turtles,Shredder,Krang and various other characters from the 1987 series returned for the 25th anniversary crossover movie Turtles Forever. Due to legal reasons, none of the original voice actors were able to reprise their roles and replacement actors were used instead.

It is unknown wether or not this movie is Canon for the Original Toon,even though it's 100% canon for the 2K3 Series.

While the story and Characters were diverged heavily from the original conception of the original Mirage comics,the 1987 television series is probably the most notable and popular incarnation,and drove the franchise to the phenomenal status it would achieve in pop culture.

2K3 Mikey: Too bad My show didn't achive the same success.

The series was in production for nine years and was still quite popular when it went out of production. It was responsible for introducing many of the catch phrases associated with the Turtles into the lexicon. Phrases such as: "Cowabunga!","Heroes in a half-shell!",and "Turtle Power!".

The Original Cartoon was such a prominent part of the Ninja Turtles,that many people consider it to be it's own special canon. Much like the 2K3 Series.

2K3 Mikey: Damn Right!

This version is also renowned for its critically acclaimed soundtrack. Through most of the series,the episodes featured background music which reflected the mood of the current situation (e.g. danger, action, exploration, confusion, mystery, winning).

ID music was also used. The Technodrome,The Sewers,Channel 6,etc. Each tune contributed to the show's dynamic uniqueness. The soundtrack was composed by Dennis Challen Brown (credited as "D.C. Brown" and later as "Dennis C. Brown") and Chuck Lorre. Lorre penned the famous theme song and became a successful television producer.

2K3 Mikey: Gotta admit,that The Original Toon Theme song is quite epic.

And remixed and rearranged many times.

Ok,here's something that I know everyones been waiting fore: The Reason Why Michaelangelo lost his Nunchucks and why The Ninja Turtles were known as The Hero Turtles in the U.K.

2K3 Mikey: Death To The Censor Whores!!!!

In the United Kingdom, TMNT was released under the name Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TMHT). This was due to the controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons at the time. Not to mention that,at the time,Nunchucks were an extremely popular weapon among British Thugs.

2K3 Mikey: So,the intro sequence was heavily edited because of these reasons? And they replaced the word Ninja with Hero? And scenes where My Classic Counterpart wields his nunchuks,were replaced with random clips from the show? Lame!!

Speaking of which,in the show itself,all of Mikey's "Nunchuck Scenes" were cut.

2K3 Mikey: Lame Times 2!!

Well after a while,the Creators of the show decided to give in to the British censors and replace Mikey's Nunchucks with a Grappling Hook.

2K3 Mikey: Lame Times Infinity!!! Anyway,that was a completely lame reason. Stupid British,forcing America to censor their cartoons for the sake of themselves. Imagine if We asked and even forced Japan to edit their Anime for the sake of U.S. audiences. That's so Wrong.

True That, However,The U.K has given up on it's "Anti-Ninja" and "Anti-Nunchuck" policy. And when the 2K3 series made it there,it stayed as is. The original title was even kept. Plus,nowadays,British Thugs favor Guns,Switch Blades,and Box Cutters a lot more than Nunchucks. In fact,I don't think british thugs even use Nunchucks anymore.

2K3 Mikey: All I have to say is Thank God they kept my show as is. Because If they didn't,I would've totally beaten the crap out of them.

Amen Bro. Well that wraps up another Cartoon Historrian and the First of Many Do-overs.

2K3 Mikey: So,will you,by any chance,be going over My series again?

It's in the Cards Mikey.

2K3 Mikey: Sweetness. So will you have me back for that? After all it Is my Show you'll be Talking About?

Sure thing.

2K3 Mikey: Great. Can I bring my Bro's along as well?

Well see,Mikey,we'll see

*fade to black. credits roll as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles closing theme plays*

1 comment:

KingsSideCastle said...

:-D Great info regarding the Turtles. ^_^ This was a fun episode. ^_^