In 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made a career-defining decision: they would take a break from their lives of fighting crime and eating pizza in New York City and instead commit themselves to performing rock and roll music and eating pizza all across the United States. Few musicians in history have gotten such an immediate break, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were just that good. And so the “Coming Out of Their Shells Tour” was born, a name that either suggests that the Turtles were coming out of the closet, or masturbating, or maybe perhaps both.
To promote such an important pop culture event, a “making of” documentary was released on VHS, simply titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Making of the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour. This told the incredible story about how the turtles decided to make music instead of violence, how it all began when one of them was “banging on some pipes,” and how every music producer they ever met knew they had come across the biggest thing since The Beatles. Again, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were just that good.
“Michelangelo writes lyric and Raphael writes music,” we are informed without a hint of irony as the Turtles belt out a song openly threatening the Shredder’s personal safety, which probably isn’t legal. “Totally blew me away. Madonna is going to go into therapy when she sees this video,” Billy Brill, senior VP of marketing at MCA Records tells us with a completely straight face as he hypes up the band. “I think this group and this album is going to be around for a long time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win a Grammy Award or an American Music Award. It’s not going to surprise me at all.”
The documentary has other things that kids really care about, including a press briefing about how Pizza Hut is going to sponsor the tour, and how unique instruments had to be created for the Turtles to be able to play them since they only had three fingers. Also, Leonardo is a producer of the band, I guess. I’m not sure if teenagers are allowed such jobs, but maybe exceptions are made for turtles. Speaking of Leonardo, is that the Star Trek logo plastered onto his mask? I’m pretty sure that is in fact the Star Trek logo plastered to his mask. Huh.
Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20, and the cracks that would ultimately doom the music careers of the Ninja Turtles are kind of on full display here. For one thing…how do I put this politely? Oh, screw it, I’ll be blunt: Mikey and Raph are very clearly high off of their asses when giving interviews during this thing. At one point, their dialogue just devolves into them exclaiming random words. “Bodacious!” “Radical!” “Happening!” This is, of course, awkward to watch now, with the knowledge of the drug bust in which an unimaginable amount of illegal drugs was found inside of Leo’s dressing room (and he was supposed to be their leader!).
This lead to all four Turtles being arrested, but the NYPD dropped all charges a couple of days later once they realized how stupid it sounded to charge mutant ninja creatures with such a crime. Still, the damage had been done, and the only place that would let them perform after that was Six Flags, because Six Flags has no standards. Fucking Six Flags.
Anyway, you can watch the documentary for yourself below. And make sure you stay for the credits (all five minutes of them), as you’ll be rewarded with perhaps the most confusing stinger ever.
Have a happening day, y’all!