Heroes in a Half Shell

My Childhood Ninja Turtles Gear
July 25, 2008
Every kid has their role models and heroes while growing up. Some kids may look to their fathers, grandfathers, teachers, or perhaps even someone who has made a major impact on the world, as their very own personal hero. However, some kids like myself had a different breed of heroes. My heroes were green, mutant, and teenagers...they were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for many years as a kid. I had so much Ninja Turtle merchandise, that I am sure the amount is worthy of a Guinness World record. The point of this article you may ask, is to simply take a look back at some of those items that truly put a smile on my face. Nothing more than a reminder of fun days spent with my heroes. So, if you are a fan of the Turtles, sit back and enjoy...

As grainy and outdated VHS tapes inform me, I was well into the Turtle craze by the age of two. Christmas of 1988 had me pulling mousers and Ninja Turtle Kleenexes out of my stocking, while presents of Ninja Turtle action figures would soon follow.

These action figures would truly stand the test of time, for they saw a lot of action in their days. From fighting Shredder and his goons, to watching me eat breakfast, from splashing in the bathtub, to lending me their weapons so that I could stick them in my nose and ears (don't ask)...these action figures were always up for an adventure (specially in the party wagon or turtle blimp!).

When the toys had lost their appeal, any other activity I was to participate in had to involve the Ninja Turtles. Coloring books and colorforms would prove to be first pick among stationary choices.

If I wasn't picking out the perfect shades of brown for Master Splinter or recreating the perfect sewer battle, working puzzles and painting by numbers were a must. I loved the satisfactory involved in successfully finishing a paint by numbers...it took a lot out of a kid! Although the puzzle shown above is rather simple, as my skills progressed, so did the puzzles. It truly does take 750 jigsaw pieces to perfect the wrath of Krang.

All of that work sure would make a kid develop an appetite. Luckily, the Ninja Turtles took it upon themselves to invest in the food market, so that kids would never go hungry again. From Turtle Pies to unique yet tasty jelly beans, the Ninja Turtles were featured on pretty much anything remotely edible. Waking up and eating breakfast was a little easier when pouring cereal from a brightly colored Ninja Turtle cereal box. The only thing that made the not so creative sugar dusted Chex cereal (with marshmallows) any better, was pouring it into the Ninja Turtles cereal bowl. For on the go Turtle munching, I can recall snacking on some Ninja Turtle cookies that came in a Turtle van shaped box. Although there are many other Ninja Turtle food items, those were just some of my favorite things to eat at the time.

If I could count how many hours I spent playing the two Ninja Turtles NES games above...it wouldn't do me any good, other than further stating how much I used to play video games. They were so much fun. Not only did I pump quarter after quarter in the Turtles arcade game, I could bring it home and play it too! It was one of my favorite games as a child, as it never got old to me. The first Ninja Turtles game was good, but lacked the appeal of its offspring game. It always used to bug me that the picture on the front had the Ninja Turtles in red masks, yet they had colored masks in the game. I am not sure why it mattered, I just wanted an answer I suppose!

The third Ninja Turtles game was pretty fun too, yet you never seem to hear much about it. Now that I think about it, I never heard too much about it as a kid. However, I had it, and it saw its fair share of play time. You may be wondering why I included the picture of the random hand held game. Well, as hand held games were popular back in my kid days, I had this particular one. I simply could not beat this game, no matter how hard I tried. Day after day I tried my best to save April from mouser attacks, yet I failed each time. I need to find that thing, pop in a couple of AA batteries, and conquer it once and for all. Better yet, I think I will just admit defeat...it would be much easier.

Now as if it wasn't exciting enough to see the Ninja Turtles in cartoon form, seeing them on a 'live action' movie was almost overwhelming! From the first time I heard Raphael cuss in the street, to the scene where the baby turtles say PIZZA...Ninja Turtles the movie had me hook, line and sinker! However, as if things couldn't get any better, they had to go and make Turtles II. The only movie (other than Space Jam) that my dad professed he hated, Turtles II was my favorite Turtles movie. It had everything I could ask from a turtle movie...Turtles, Super Shredder, and Vanilla Ice...err...scratch the last thing. I first saw Ninja Turtles III during a sleepover at a friends house. I am going to act like I never saw it, it just doesn't need to be discussed (sorry if you liked it, I didn't care for it). I had the first two movies on VHS, which allowed me to perfect my dance routine to Ninja Rap.

Coming to a close, there are only a few items left that I would like to mention, without having to discuss EVERYTHING I ever had. Ninja Turtle bed sheets were slept upon daily, at the Sampieri household. As the years went by, and after many washings, the sheets became so worn in that they had little prickly things on them. Not the bad type of prickly things, the good kind.

During my kindergarten year, I never bought my lunch at school, I took it everyday. Even though this basically unheard of, my mom allowed me to live off Spaghetti-O's and pudding for the whole school year. What better way to show off my lunch to my peers, than to sport a beautiful Ninja Turtles themed lunch box. I used that lunch box so much, that the sticker came off the front, and the picture came off of the thermos. After that, it was rather useless, other than a large crayon box, or action figure carrier (although not needed...I had a turtle action figure carrying case...oh yeah!).

From Ninja Turtle birthday parties, to wearing my heroes on my underwear, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on everything I owned. I wish I could cover everything I had as a child, but like many others, I could basically write a book. I still have most of my Turtles gear, and I don't plan on letting it go any time soon! Thanks for reading, until next time...
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