Since making their debut in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have built up a huge following. Through comics and cartoons, to figures and films, the Turtles have amassed a loyal, ever-expanding fan base, who will follow them through the good times and the bad – and I include myself in this fan base.

I have been a fan for decades and I have watched the heroes in a half-shell experience some monumental highs, with arguably their biggest surge in popularity coming in the late 80s/early ’90s, during a period dubbed ‘Turtlemania’. At this point in time the Turtles were everywhere, and could do everything… including performing a rock show on the stage.

Yep, you might not remember this one – especially if you were fortunate enough to avoid it – but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fronted a live musical stage show. The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour (sponsored by Pizza Hut no less) saw Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael put down their weapons and pick up some instruments for a rock out!

Was it bad?

Incredibly so.

But as I haven’t watched it in a very long time, I thought it might be a good idea to watch and discuss this erm… ‘musical extravaganza’ on It’s A Stampede!.

I am willing to admit, this might be a huge mistake on my part, as I can’t imagine this has aged well.

Will I find some nostalgic fun in this ’90s rock-a-rama?

Will I sing and dance with Leo and the gang?

Will I repeatedly bang my head against the wall, as I question my life choices?

Let’s find out.



Watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells

*Presses play*

2mins 40secs – The Turtles have taken to the stage. Mikey and Leo are on guitars, Raph is on drums, and Donnie has a keyboard.

4mins – Mikey has just asked the audience to “come on, sing it with me!” The audience are not responding, presumably because they are stunned by what they are watching.


10mins – Ten minutes in and the Turtles are singing about pizzas in the appropriately titled song, ‘Pizza Power’. With Pizza Hut funding this crap, I am actually quite surprised it has taken this long to plug the pizzas. Well, I’m not buying into this cross-promotional brainwashing. No way.

11mins – Man, I could go for some deep dish action right about now.

12mins – You know, despite the fact the Turtles look a little bit freaky (and that’s me being kind), I am digging their rhinestone outfits.

12mins 30secs – Bloody hell, what’s happened to Splinter?

If this isn’t a strong advocate for remaining clean and sober, I don’t know what is?!

I guess living in a sewer with four teenagers takes its toll. And by the looks of things Splinter is now a recovering crack addict too.

14mins – Jeez, I totally forgot that Splinter was given a solo number in this show. Is he up to it?

15mins – And what a truly awful number this is. I’m guessing the audience is using this opportunity to go to the bathroom/go home. Yes, that’s it, flee while you can, before the smacked-out rat sends you to sleep with his warbling.

16mins – This song has to be the single worst thing to ever happen to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This song trumps TMNT III, The Next Mutation, and Michael Bay.


17mins – Boo. Hiss. Shredder has arrived, this will be good because Shredder is a bad ass.

Shredder’s a ninja master.

He’s a vile villain.



…a cosplayer on a fixed income?

Those eyebrows are an interesting choice.

Yes… ‘interesting’.

Look, I want to be positive and say Shredder looks fierce, but we all know I would be talking out of my arse. He looks a tit. A tit who should not be allowed near his own eyebrows.

28mins 30secs – Ten minutes have passed and I’ve been thinking about Shredder’s eyebrows (and Splinter’s drug addiction) so much that I’m not even sure what’s going on anymore. So, just take it that someone has done some singing.


30mins – Dear respected reader of It’s A Stampede!, I really wish you could see what I’m watching. Not because I believe you would enjoy it, but because If I have to suffer this crap, then I think it is only fair you suffer it too.

32mins 30secs – Erm, Donatello appears to be auditioning for the Chippendales…

36mins – While Donnie is gyrating himself into a coma (and Raph and Leo look on, embarrassed by what is unfolding) Mikey is doing an Elvis impression.

Now I know Elvis is a rock and roll icon, but the average age of this audience is 8-years old. This show was filmed in 1990. Elvis died in 1977. You do the maths.

40mins – The more I watch this concert, the more I want to own one of the Turtles‘ fabulous rhinestone-incrusted denim jackets.

41mins – Shredder is back and the audience is booing! It think they’ve just caught sight of his eyebrows.

43mins – Oooh, plot twist, Shredder has kidnapped April O’Neil and has locked the entire audience in the building. The rat bastard.

43mins 30secs – The audience ain’t happy. Me neither – and I can switch this rubbish off. They’re stuck here for at least another 45 minutes.

51mins – This show has now descended into full-on pantomime. The audience HATE Shredder, the kids are getting out of their seats and booing him, and with all this shouting going on various coiffed-haired mums are wondering why they gave birth and/or agreed to come to this show.


56mins – Shredder is now singing a song about how much he hates music. After 56 minutes of the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour I have to agree – I hate music too.

I’m considering ramming cotton buds into both ears to block out the singing.*

*Don’t try this at home, kids.**

**And when I say “Don’t try this at home”, I’m merely telling you not to watch the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour. You can ram as many cotton buds into your ears as you like – I ain’t your mum.

1hr 3mins – Oh dear, April’s singing.

She thinks she’s Belinda Carlisle singing ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’. It’s more like Hell on Earth.

1hr 7mins – Shredder’s back (again) and he’s making jokes about Barry Manilow.

I’m finding the Manilow gags pretty funny, but they are flying over the heads of the kids in the audience. The coiffed-haired mums are getting the gags though. Coiffed-haired mums and Barry Manilow go together like Pizza Hut and freshly baked slices of delicious pizza.

Has anyone ordered me a pizza yet?


1hr 12mins – There’s about 20 minutes left in this show and I have just realised I have not explained the plot. It is paper thin, and was clearly written on the back of a napkin, but there is a plot.

Here goes:

The Turtles are musicians, Shredder wants to remove all of the music from the world, and singing is the key to stopping him.

And that is it.

I told you it was paper thin.

1hr 24mins – Hurrah! Through the power of song, as well as some half-arsed choreography, the Turtles have defeated Shredder and have saved the world. With nothing else to do for the rest of the day, Shredder is now off to fix his eyebrows and work on his cosplay. Probably.

1hr 30mins – And that’s the end of the show. Now, will somebody please open the auditorium doors and let those poor kids out?

Oh, and order me a gosh darn pizza!

*Presses stop*



So… Coming Out of Their Shells then. Yep, it’s just as bad as I remember.

The songs are awful, the budget is none existent, and Splinter looks like he’s escaped from a crack den. Let’s just say it’s not the best piece of Turtles media.

And yet, Coming Out of Their Shells is not as bad as the short-lived Next Mutation TV series from the late ’90s. Don’t get me wrong, parts of it are worse than The Next Mutation (arguably the lowest point in TMNT history), but the rest of it is just a product of what it is – a cheap concert cash-in.

Coming Out of Their Shells was designed to take advantage of Turtlemania – nothing more. It got bums on seats, kept the kids mildly entertained, and therefore did its job.

Does Coming out of Their Shells hold up today? I can confirm, it does not.


Coming Out of Their Shells exists now as simply a curio of the past. I can’t see many new fans ever seeking it out.

But if you want to understand how popular the Turtles were when they were at the peak of their fame, then this show tells you everything you need to know. They could do anything, even if they did it badly, and kids (myself included) would buy into it.

The best thing to take from this show today is that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do something. And this also applies to crack.

Yes, Splinter, I’m talking to you.



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