From The Uncanny Brett White on Tumblr:
In 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to promote their Pizza Hut album, “Coming Out of Their Shells.” My mom recorded it on a VHS tape for me, and labeled it “TURTLES ON OPRAH.” That VHS tape sat in my entertainment center for over a decade, before getting popped into a VCR one evening in high school when me and my friends were bored. […]
As far as I know, no other copy of this exists. I have never found it online, and all I’ve seen on YouTube is a video of the final ten minutes, with a warped aspect ratio. I digitized this around 2003 to put on VCD’s for my friends. I just discovered the file. I just uploaded it to YouTube.
I cannot stress this enough: This video is incredible. It’s everything you think it could be and more. I mean, our jumping off point is “humans in Ninja Turtle costumes appeared on Oprah 25 years ago to promote an album sponsored by Pizza Hut.” There is no way it could be anything less than spectacular.
But don’t take my word for it. Here, look.
That is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles performing the song “Coming Out of Our Shells,” from the album Coming Out of Their Shells, which, yes, I owned, and will discuss no further except to note that “Tubin” was my favorite song and I had terrific taste in music. If you would like to know more about this album, and the nationwide tour that accompanied it to help extract every dollar from every parent in America, I recommend visiting its Wikipedia page:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out Of Their Shells is a live musical tour that occurred in 1990 starting August 17. It was endorsed and sponsred by Pizza Hut. The very first showing of the tour was broadcast live on Pay-Per-View. A VHS recording of the broadcast was made available, as was a soundtrack. The tour is generally lambasted for its terrible costumes and wafer-thin plot. The band featured Donatello on keys, Leonardo on bass guitar, Michaelangelo on guitar/lead vocals & Raphael on drums/percussion/tenor saxophone/vocals. Guest vocalist include Master Splinter, April O’Neil, and The Shredder.
The Wiki page is also loaded with errors from the show and commentary like “Shredder sings a song called ‘I Hate Music.’ Wrap your head around that one,” so yeah, spend a few minutes there at some point today.
Ladies and gentleman, the 1990s.
The first part of the show is mostly just Oprah interviewing the Turtles and lobbing them softballs so they can trot out stock answers about why they’re performing now, and why they don’t have their weapons, and blah blah blah. The important thing here is that at one point Michaelangelo — who, again, just so we’re clear, is actually a grown man who was hired to speak like an old person’s image of a 16-year-old from California — says to Oprah, “YO, BABY. WHAT HAPPENIN?” He said “YO BABY” to Oprah. People have been killed for less. By Oprah. Probably!
Please do not sue or kill me, Oprah.
So Oprah and the Turtles are talking about music and pizza or whatever, and then she goes to this kid, who (a) has a rat tail/mullet combo hairstyle and is wearing what appears to be a faded denim dress shirt because he is THE MOST 90S PERSON TO EVER LIVE, and (b) promptly states that he just wants to see them fight. This will become a theme. Also, he is my best friend now.
Next Shredder comes out and starts promoting the tour dates under the guise of making threats. “I’ll be following you, Turtles. You can’t get away. I’ll be there in Detroit, and Cincinnati, and Miami, and…” Whatever. Fine.
The real story here is the lady on the left who does
about Shredder and his whole deal. Just delightful. I think she might have yawned at one point.
April O’Neill joins them on stage and things proceed to get awkward. How awkward, you ask. Well, try this on for size: Oprah, in front of an audience filled with children, essentially asks her if she’s f*cking one of the Turtles. That’s not a joke, either. Oprah literally asks if she’s romantically involved with one of them, then follows it up with a question about interspecies dating as Michaelangelo and Raphael (who sounds disturbingly like Bob Odenkirk, btw) paw at her. It’s … it’s very disturbing.
SPEAKING OF DISTURBING, here’s a fully-grown woman who showed up to the taping in a Ninja Turtle costume and happily told Oprah Winfrey — ON TELEVISION — that she likes to wear Ninja Turtle underwear on her head. It takes a lot to be the weirdest part of a video about people in turtle costumes promoting an album sponsored by a pizza chain, but congrats, milady, you have succeeded.
Now we go to the Q&A, where Oprah lets the children ask the Turtles whatever innocent, childlike query that pops into their heads. A sampling:
- “Where are your weapons?”
- “If you don’ t have your weapons today, how can you fight somebody?”
- “Who built their weapons?”
- “I like when they fight.”
Perfect. Also, at one point a chubby kid gets on the microphone and says “I have your soundtrack” and when the Turtles and Oprah ask him if he “digs it,” he shakes his head no. Lesson: Always give children live microphones. ALWAYS.
Anyway, then Oprah dances with Donatello. THE END.
Watch this video.