ISSUE 14: EAT UP, DUDE (PART 2)
Summer. It's an unstoppable force. Upon arrival, it dives straight into your soul and there is no escape. You can only kick back and have fun. And that's what has happened to me...summer. Packed to the brim with majestic memories and plenty of relaxation, it has been a great one. My only regret, The Sewer Den. Progress has slowed and writings of my collection have come to a halt. My apologies to The Sewer Den. But have no fear! Summer will soon come to a close.
Welcome to Part 2. Time to chow down and enjoy Ninja Turtles food products from the yesteryear once again. Hope you're hungry for a second helping of Ninja goodness.
FRUIT FLAVORED SNACKS
Although this doesn't carry the age of a few decades, it's an instant classic. This from the 2003 cartoon series and showcases exactly why the Turtles returned to true form. Forget they managed to create a new show that carried the fun vibes from the 80's cartoon - they did something iconic with this box of fruit snacks. The Ninja Turtles showed the world that they were ready to sell themselves to all types of merchandise once again.
And what product could possibly be better than fruit flavored snacks?! The boys are back in five fun colors - giving each Ninja their own distinct snack. There's also a generic green turtle that speaks for the four brother team. With five unique shapes and colors, this is classy in the land of fruit snacks.
Although there are five colors, there are not five flavors. Only four make the list (both natural and artificial). With only these flavors available, it makes you wonder what the heck do the green and blue fruit snacks taste like?
The individual packaging for each snack pack is stellar. They took a bold stance in branding the Ninja Turtles with some actual style. Gone are the silly 80's poses, the goofy smiles, and the lack of fighting abilities. These are actually Ninjas. Weapons drawn and in action, these Turtles are the fierce-some fighting machines we heard about all those years. The Japanese rising sun background even pays homage to their (and Splinter's) origin story.
Although the 80's Ninja Turtles were truly amazing, it was comforting in 2003 to know the green machines had the potential to be completely bad ass once again. Good job, boys. You instilled so much excitement and confidence in me by means of fruit flavored snacks.
TRADING CARDS GUM
Yes, we've all seen these packs at garage sales, flea markets, and maybe still lying around in the basement. BUT, they were iconic. Trading cards were king back in the 80's. The Ninja Turtles weren't the only ones guilty of putting their mug on these things. Indiana Jones, Michael Jackson, Saved by the Bell - the list is endless! And yes, I did own all of those at one point. Not to mention the ever-amazing Garbage Pale Kid cards...
They were addictive...and cheap. Throwing down a quarter for some awesome cards and a stick of gum wasn't something to feel guilty about. That's also why they were probably so popular. Parents could shut their kids up with only spending a single coin. And it came with candy!
That single stick of bubble gum was icing on this already sweet cake. The gum was terrible, stale, and chalky but we all loved it. The sugary taste would last for seconds, the cardboard taste would last for days. After almost 30 years of age, could this gum actually get any worse? Throwing caution in the wind, I opened a pack of trading cards, and launched a piece in my mouth. Every memory of this gum came rushing back. Except this time, there was one exception.
I couldn't chew the gum. The powdery substance slowly just dissolved in my mouth like cotton candy. But that's where the comparison to cotton candy ends. No sweetness. No fun. Just a tummy ache.
This adorable lil Michaelangelo hails from the 80's courtesy of Topps. He is posed like a second grader sitting on what appears to be a tree trunk (?) He looks so proud and eager while he holds his nunchucks tight.
From the back, we are treated to an even better look of this tree trunk.
Low and behold, the location of the gum! Unfortunately after all these years, it has been all chewed and spit out. But, I'm glad I'll always have the fond memories of chewing gum from my Tree Trunk-Sitting, Class Picture Day Michaelangelo.
What can I really say about this? We've all owned one of these at some point. It's part of the circle of life. You're born, you grow up, you get a PEZ, you grow old, and then you die. It's up there with First Communions and Bar Mitzvahs. And everyone gets one that is unique to their personality. Would you really expect me to have anything different?
Who came up with PEZ? It's kind of baffling that they still exist now-a-days. They're so strange, yet hilarious. And is the candy even tasty at all?
A triple threat. Candy...gum...tattoo. How could any sane person turn this down? If I wrote a version of that book Eat, Pray, Love it would be titled Candy, Gum, Tattoo because I just think that is so much cooler.
Like an old Band Aid metal box, these tins open and close with the help of a little hinge. Although cool and collectible, I never quite understood why the style of a Band Aid box would be suitable for candy (and gum & tattoo)? You opened these type tins when you were cut and bleeding, not when you needed a sugar fix. Even though the logic is odd, they have still made their way into The Sewer Den.
The candy! Individual wrapped goodies representing each Turtle with their respective bandanna color...except Michaelangelo. His packaging is green instead of orange. This seems like an 80's merchandising mistake! How could this happen with the 2007 (especially when you're promoting a new TMNT flick)?
The gum! Four flavors in Band Aid-shaped packaging. At least this time they got Michaelangelo's color correct. The Candy Department really should've consulted with the Gum Department before releasing these tins. Mistakes could have been avoided.
The tattoos??? I'll need a sponge, some water, and another post before I tell ya about those...what up cliffhanger!
Some people have trophies, others have diplomas. Ribbons and certificates are even impressive. People like to be proud. Well, I am proud to own these cookies. This is trophy. Cookies from 1989 - how could one not boast pride?
The brand name was simple, but not accurate. These cookies were not delicious. Sharing similar qualities to the gum found in the trading cards, these hit your taste buds like cardboard and sawdust. Bland, dry, not delicious.
But, I am not proud of these cookies for their taste. I'm proud of them for their age. This box is a time capsule of all things TMNT in the 80's. Here, Raphael captures everything that the 1989 version of me loved about the Ninja Turtles. They were simple. Just being goofy and eager to have fun was good enough for them (and me).
Of course the Turtles had their fair share of problems. Splinter captured, April captured, their Sewer Den destroyed, mousers, etc. But, at the end of the day they always enjoyed the little things. Pizza, drives in the Party Wagon, and just laughing with your friends. Somehow this silly box of cookies encompasses all of that.
Not to mention this box has got some extra magic at every twist and turn!
On the back, there are cut outs of each Turtle. I'm not sure exactly what you do with them once you've cut them out, but they seem darn cool either way.
The fun doesn't stop with cookies and the cut outs. There's also a special offer for a TMNT movie poster. Pretty sweet...except for people in Illinois who have to add 7% Sales Tax. Luckily, I grew up in New Jersey.
The image selected for the poster is an interesting choice too. Instead of the Turtles in battle or Michaelangelo making some silly face, they went for a peaceful shot of Leonardo meditating. Maybe cookie manufacturers have a strong stance against violence.
The goodies keep coming! An opportunity to purchase even more Ninja Turtles merch! This one caught my eye even back in '89. I had to be a member of The Force. Bandanna, comic, stickers, Chaos Chronicle newsletter?!
Another reason why this box of cookies is a symbol of 80's magic - a true trophy. All these items for a meager five bucks?! How could any kid go wrong? Fun, cheap deals on silly merchandise. 1989 had that right.
Delicious Cookie Company, I'd love to write you a letter stating how much fun your box of cookies gave me as a kid. I'd also tell you how that fun has continued into my years as an adult. I'd definitely mention that I am proud of this box like a gleaming, gold trophy. However, I would not tell you that your cookies were tasty. Ever.
This shouldn't happen when you're writing about food approaching 30 years of age, but now I'm hungry. I'm not sure if that's a testament to these quality products or if I am legitimately starving. Maybe my taste buds have matured after all these years...could some of these snacks be a bit more scrumptious in their old age? Anyone down for a vintage food tasting at The Sewer Den?