Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. If you grew up in the late 1980s or early 1990s, these names probably ring a bell. Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles originated in comic books but they soon expended into films, video games, toys and other merchandise, gaining considerable worldwide reputation and fame. If you are one of the millions of TMNT Fans then you have to check out these 25 Geeky Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Facts That Are Actually Cool.
The concept for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird.
It's known that the TMNT were named after Renaissance artists. However, did you know that the original names had different spelling. Raphael was “Raffaelo” and Donatello was “Donato”. At first, the creators also misspelled the name of Michelangelo – they originally called him “Michaelaneglo”.
In the original comic version, the TMNT were a bit darker than most people realize. Originally, they were trained by Splinter for one purpose only – to kill the Shredder.
Talking about the Shredder, one of the most iconic villains of all time, did you known that his armor design was inspired by a cheese grater? Allegedly, when doing the dishes one night, Eastman accidentally put his arm through a rectangular cheese grate, which gave him the idea for the Shredder.
Inspired by this kitchen utensil, Eastman even wanted to name the character “Grater” or “Grate Man” but Laird suggested “Shredder” instead (thank goodness).
The martial art discipline the TMNT practice is called ninjutsu. It's a strategy and tactics of unconventional and guerrilla warfare originating in Japan almost a thousand years ago.
Apart from the US, TMNT were particularly popular in the UK where, in the run-up to Christmas, the Army & Navy Store in London devoted its entire basement to everything turtle-themed, including games, videos, toys, costumes and other items.
However, when the TNMT arrived to the UK for the first time, the name had to be changed to "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" (or TMHT), since local censorship policies deemed the word “ninja” to have excessively violent connotations for a children's program.
The policies also had other effects, such as editing out the use of Michelangelo's weapon nunchaku (which were banned in 18-rated movies back then). Instead, Michelangelo was given a grappling hook called the "turtle line" that served as his signature weapon for the rest of the show's run.
As the turtles were famous for their pizza weakness, the TMNT mania hit the pizza industry like nothing before, causing a fierce battle between the pizza giants. Pizza Hut was able to secure a $20 million marketing campaign with the movie, but it was Domino’s who got the privilege of feeding the turtles in the movie.
Originally, Krang, the creepy living brain, was not evil. The villain was inspired by an alien race known as Utroms, totally peaceful and non-interfering creatures from another planet.
April O´Neil, the television reporter and admirer of the ninja turtles, was also changed. As some of the episodes of the first comics suggest, she was probably an African-American.
The Ninja turtles have appeared in five movies. The first one, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released in 1990, was a huge success, making over 200 million dollars worldwide. In fact, it's the ninth highest grossing film of 1990.
Even though the first film is supposed to take place in New York City, it was actually only shot there for 4 days. In fact, most of the movie was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The costumes made for the film production were extremely heavy, which, combined with the North Carolinian hot weather and humidity, made all the actors lose about 20 pounds (9 kg) by the end of the production.
The TMNT costumes had to be large enough to accommodate all the animatronics. Consequently, the costumes were too big to fit a standard-sized manhole. Therefore, the producers had to create special manholes for the movie.
Actor Josh Pais (Raphael) had particular issues with the costume. Suffering from severe claustrophobia, he had to remove his turtle mask after every shot.
Pais was also the only actor to physically portray and voice his turtle. All the other actors had their voices swapped out.
Similarly to TMNT, real turtles also have no outer ears. Instead, they have excellent sight and smell.
Robin Williams was a big fan of TMNT and provided Judith Hoag (who played April O'Neil in the first movie) with information regarding her character. The two actors were working together on Cadillac Man when the turtle film first went into production.
In the latest TMNT movie (released in 2014), April O´Neil was played by Megan Fox. Megan later revealed that she had always been a huge fan of the TMNTs and that Michelangelo was her favorite turtle.
When Sam Rockwell’s character (Head Thug) tells the police to “go check out the East Warehouse over at Lairdman Island” in the 1990 movie, it is a nod to TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo) and Robbie Rist (the voice of Michaelangelo) are the only actors who appeared in all three live-action TMNT movies.
In the comic book and the 1990 movie script, the scene where the Foot Clan leader Tatsu beats up one of his soldiers ends with the death of the boy. To avoid the murder in a children´s movie though, the scene was re-cut at the last minute with the boy´s life being spared.
When filming the 2014 movie, it took the crew two hours each day to get the ninja turtle actors into suits.
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