When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book, they had no way of knowing how popular it would become. Even so, their hit comic wasn’t quite enough to propel this franchise forward. It wasn’t until the first animated series was released in 1987 that our heroes in a half shell became incredibly popular. Thanks to this original animated series, the TMNT quickly became a staple in American households.
According to Wikipedia, the first episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the air during the week of December 28th, 1987. IMDb has a slightly different date of December 14th, but it’s entirely possible that they have it wrong. Whatever the case may be, it’s pretty clear that the original animated series first aired in December of 1987. Although some of you might be preparing for the holidays, we recommend setting aside a little time to celebrate this special anniversary as well.
As many of you may know, the original animated series started off as a 5-part miniseries. In 1988, the cartoon got picked up for a second season, and the rest is pretty much history. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ran for a total of ten seasons from 1987-1996. During its run, the classic TMNT series became so popular that it would go on to inspire other iterations of the turtles. One of the most significant inspirations came in the form of the turtle’s masks, which had all previously been the same color in Eastman & Laird’s comic books. After the original animated series became popular, everyone’s favorite multi-colored masks were soon found in both the TMNT movies and video games.
If you were a kid at the time, chances are that you absolutely adored this cartoon. Unfortunately, most adults who go back to watch it now find that the original animated series simply does not hold up. Even if you’re one of the fans who no longer enjoys this version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s fair to say that the classic television show was both significant and important to TMNT history. With that in mind, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original animated series!