Friends, when Turtle Mania swept the country back in the late 80’s I was already in High School but I was most definitely still a kid at heart, tuning into various syndicated animated series after getting home from school or waking up to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. Love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was shared by not just my friends but my Family as well, at least my Grandmother, in the form of the various NES games that were produced back in the day – so much so that she created handcrafted TMNT Christmas ornaments one year. My devotion to the franchise included the myriad toy as well as food offerings – surely you recall the likes of the Chef Boyardee canned pasta, or the TMNT breakfast cereal or even the Pizza Hut tie-in. But how many of you recall the tasty pizza-flavored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crunchabungas?
I believe the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crunchabungas snacks showed up in stores in the early ’90s – a couple of spot online say it was actually 1991 – which seems to jive with me as that was the year Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze hit theaters and Turtle Mania was at a fevered pitch. How else can you explain the inclusion of such a celebrity in the film? No, I’m not talking about Vanilla Ice’s cameo at the end of the movie – I’m talking about casting David Warner as Professor Jordon Perry!
Anyway, here is the real reason that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crunchabungas has stuck in my memory these past 29 years. The commercial itself featured a bit of beautiful claymation work done by none other than the Will Vinton Studios. The same animation studio responsible for the likes of the California Raisins, the Noid from the Domino’s Pizza commercials, and even some of the effects used in Walt Disney’s Return to Oz. Sadly I do not believe that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crunchabungas snack lasted very long, although I do recall long weekends with my friends from High School staying up and playing video games until the early morning – all the while consuming these pizza-flavored treats in mass quantities. At the very least we still have that awesome commercial to remember those heady days, right?