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December 14

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Meet the Turtles: Donatello is a scientific and technological genius; Leonardo is the most skilled fighter; “Mikey” provides the comic relief; and Raphael is the team’s “bad boy.”

Photo by Karima Evans Photography

1987: Turtle Mania
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres on television
They love pizza, live in New York City’s sewers, and fight crime. And, as any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan will tell you, they are named after four key artists from the Italian Renaissance: Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. “TMNT” are animated characters, which were created by comic book artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, and who made their television debut on this day in 1987.

Identifiable by their different colored masks, these courageous do-gooders battle bad guys with their martial arts skills, all under the watchful eye of their adoptive father, Master Splinter. This successful children’s program only fed the Turtles’ cult following as their likenesses appeared on a mind-boggling array of merchandise from sheets and action figurines to lunchboxes and pajamas. The fearsome foursome remain popular today.
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