As we've mentioned before, back in 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles launched the Coming Out of Their Shells tour, a live musical event in which the titular brothers sang, danced, and prevented Shredder from stealing the world's music ... You know, like a Ninja.
Even to kids at the time, the show seemed pretty weird. For starters, The Turtles had, for some reason, traded in their weapons for tacky musical instruments, and wore bejeweled denim vests that looked like a unicorn vomited in a Levi's store. Instead of embodying the four distinct personalities, we were used to, all four of them were as wildly exuberant as theater kids on Jolt Cola.
It sure seemed like just another callous attempt to cash in on the Turtles' popularity, a way to get young fans to spend even more money for a concert conveniently "brought to you by Pizza Hut." But it turns out that wasn't actually the case.
In a new interview with GameSpot, the show's creators, Bob Bejan and Godfrey Nelson, revealed that the show was actually an artistically-driven passion project. They were just twenty-something fans of the original comic who thought it would make a good musical theater piece. The pair wrote four of the songs without ever thinking they'd ever obtain the rights to produce a show, and only managed to get the rights after hooking up with a rich producer and convincing Pizza Hut to sponsor the tour.
As for the vests? They weren't originally part of the tour. At first, the Turtles looked more like themselves and less like Ziggy Stardust by way of The Gap. But after two performers "passed out halfway through" the first show, they (fittingly) ditched the shells and covered themselves up in denim so no one would notice. Of course, the best thing to come out of this production is still probably the innuendo-filled Oprah interview.