Movie Article

Mutant Merchandise

With action figures, food and other retail commodities, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise persists in pervading the markets

Turtle licensees are going way beyond the multiplexes in spending their dollars to help you spend yours. Shopping malls and grocery stores, their shelves dripping with Turtlephernalia, have become consumerist theaters of the absurd.

Turtle Food
Ralston Purina's sellout Turtles cereal — glazed rice squares (or ''ninja nets'') — is studded with marshmallow bits in the shapes of barely identifiable ninja weapons and green blips that only a breakfaster with a Ph.D. in Rorschach analysis would describe as turtles. The box carries an offer for a hologram T-shirt as well one for free movie posters.
Because pizza is to the Turtles as spinach is to Popeye, cartons of Ellio's frozen pies (their sweet-tasting crust appeals especially to children) have similar giveaways.
Burger King is handing out Turtle badges to its Kids Club members and issuing a 20-minute videocassette of the cartoon — with a trailer for the movie attached.
Rolets pork rinds, which have a cameo in the movie, plug the film on their bags.

Bound Turtles
Delicious Cookies is promoting the movie on its boxes and giving away free Turtle posters.
Random House has published five TMNT story books — one based on the movie, the others based on the strip — along with four coloring books.
Archie Comics has put out two comic-book editions of the movie adaptation — one for newsstands and a deluxe version for comic-book shops.
Eastman and Laird's Mirage Studios will feature a black-and-white edition of the movie story with extra pages of art, along with a special limited hardcover edition.

Turtle Toys
At New York's Toy Fair this winter the showrooms of Playmates Toys celebrated the finer points of 17 new Turtle action figures (added to the menagerie of friends, foes, and vehicles). ''This is Muckman, a mutated sewer worker,'' a clerk gushed to a serious bunch of buyers in their mid-40s. ''Put ooze in his head and it comes out of his mouth. Put it in his backpack and it comes out of his sucking chest wound.'' Grown men in suits marveled. There are also three new windup figures and 16 new accessories including the ''Sewer Exploration Belt'' — a green, plastic cinch apparently fashioned of synthetic vomit and studded with accessories: sewer gas, retromutogen ooze, and a Sniff-o-meter.

Turtle Wax
SBK Records is releasing the movie's soundtrack. A video of its first single, ''Spin That Wheel,'' will air on TV.

Turtlexcess You'll see mutantized kites, go-carts, ice pops, skateboards, sunglasses, balloons, stationery, yo-yos, shampoos, backpacks, sleeping bags, pizza-scented Frisbees, T-shirts, talking electric toothbrushes, tents, candy, raincoats, clocks, key chains, calendars, suspenders, Nintendo games, socks, beach towels, and plates. But no Turtle soup.

Originally posted Mar 30, 1990 Published in issue #7 Mar 30, 1990 Order article reprints
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