Pop Culture Icon TMNT's Turn 25

by Jay Cochran
April 01, 2009
A quarter century after their storied rise to fame as the most popular terrestrial reptilian brothers of a generation, the official “Shell-ebration” marking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) 25th Anniversary kicks off in their New York City home on Thursday, April 23 to start a year-long series of personal interactive experiences for fans across America.

Conceived by Mirage Studios, TMNT rights holder, 4Kids Entertainment, the brand’s master licensing agent, and supported by several licensees and partners, this special event has been designed to say “thanks!” to the millions of fans who’ve demonstrated their appreciation of the quirky quartet since their debut in May 1984. The inaugural event, a Gotham “Galabunga,” begins with a tribute from another American icon, as the Empire State Building’s world famous tower lights will “go green” on April 23 in honor of the four NYC heroes. A special lighting ceremony will take place at 10:00 AM atop the Empire State Building that day where the TMNT will flip a light switch; and once night falls, the city of New York will be cast in a green glow to shell-ebrate Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Later that evening, the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival will host an outdoor screening of the original TMNT movie, open to 10,000 filmgoers, all invited to participate in a world record-breaking event – for most people assembled as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (signature masks to be provided to attendees). Also making its premiere at Tribeca is the TMNT Party Bus, a traveling treasure trove of TMNT memorabilia and interactivity for all to enjoy. The Bus will begin a cross-country 10-city tour following the night’s festivities (https://tmnt25.com/road_trip.html).

The original live action TMNT Movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990), directed by Steve Barron, was selected as the Drive-in movie feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. This star-studded outdoor screening is scheduled for Thursday, April 23 (8:15 PM) at the World Financial Center Plaza (200 Vesey Street). Open to the public, pre-activities starting at 5:00 PM include a pizza party, face-painting, photo opportunities with the Turtles, dancing, and martial arts demonstrations with the TMNT and The American Taekwondo Association. Just as she’s done throughout the years, TMNT friend and confidant – April O’Neil – will join in the fun and be by the Turtles’ side throughout the Galabunga.

“When Kevin (Eastman) and I first came up with the concept for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles twenty-five years ago, I never imagined how popular they would be”, said Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “The evolution of the Turtle brand has been awesome to watch, and it is mind-blowing to see how Leo, Mikey, Don and Raph have become a part of Americana. I am happy the Shell-ebration is paying tribute to all the fans, young and old, that continue to cherish the Turtles a quarter-century later.”

The Turtles will wrap the rest of their NYC visit by visiting Memorial Sloan-Kettering Children’s Hospital on Friday, April 24, as part of a partnership with the Kids Cancer Connection (KCC), a national organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of childhood cancer and providing valuable patient and family support services.

The TMNT will be busy hitting major attractions including ballparks, museums, science centers, retail locations and conventions in the Party Bus in the following cities:

Philadelphia (April 30-May 2)
Detroit (May 4-6)
Chicago (May 21-25)
St. Louis (June 4-6)
Dallas (June 11-13)
Denver (June 18-20)
Phoenix (June 25-27)
Las Vegas (July 9-11)
Los Angeles (July 16-18)
San Diego (July 22-25)

In addition to a shell-kicking museum with artifacts spanning the TMNT’s history, the TMNT Party Bus experience will include gaming stations, photo opportunities with the beloved turtillian brethren, along with martial arts demonstrations. Images from the NYC event as well as those captured throughout the TMNT Party Bus Tour will be available for download on www.tmnt25.com.

The TMNT made their public premiere in May 1984 in a comic book published and distributed by Mirage Studios. A hugely successful TV series quickly followed, along with three successful theatrical films. In 2003, the Turtles were re-introduced to a new generation through a fresh new TV series, a computer-animated theatrical movie and new merchandising program. The 25th Anniversary of TMNT will provide fans with new, stimulating opportunities to experience the Turtles.

Among the latest branded products coming out in this Shell-ebration year is a new TMNT Video Game from Ubisoft (3rd Quarter ’09), a new line of Turtles toys from Playmates Toys (4th Quarter ’09), and the 7th season Turtles DVD series from LionsGate and retro fashions at Hot Topic (both available now).

“With its rich history and great fan base, the Turtles continue to capture the hearts of millions the world over,” said Alfred R. Kahn, chairman and CEO, 4Kids Entertainment. “We’re delighted to be part of this memorable occasion, and salute Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman and Mirage Studios for this tremendous brand success and sensational reason to ‘Shell-ebrate.’”

To keep up to date of the latest Turtle adventures as they travel across the country, please visit: www.tmnt25.com.


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