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TV Theme Songs: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale" of a time when television shows began with awesome TV Theme Songs. "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name" and sometimes you want to go back to when TV Theme songs were special. "Here's a story... of a lovely" time when TV Theme Songs served to identify, distinguish and set the stage for the television program that followed. "You take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have" what unfortunately has become a lost artform. "Believe it or not", sadly it seems no effort or pride is taken in the TV Theme Song ever since Seinfeld proved a short synth-bass riff could be used instead. “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” This regular feature may not "make all our dreams come true", but it will remember some of the best TV Theme Songs from years past (with a focus on the '80s decade). "Come aboard, we're expecting you."

This time we will cover the theme song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Heroes in a half-shell. Turtle power!!" The TMNT animated series debuted in December of 1987 and ran for ten seasons and 193 episodes in syndication until 1990 and then on CBS after Viacom acquired the rights for the rest of its run. The show was based on the comic books by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird which were published by Mirage and had developed an underground/cult following. The animated series really introduced the Turtles into the mainstream and created what would turn out to be an iconic franchise. The first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures was not launched until the summer of 1988 after the show had been well-received.

The soundtrack for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was composed by Dennis Challen Brown (credited as D.C. Brown) along with Chuck Lorre. Lorre has gone on to great success as a television producer, but his first real television credit was penning the lyrics for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. Lorre also voiced the turtles' speaking parts of the song. Lorre has been a creator, writer or producer for some very popular television series including My Two Dads, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly, The Big Bang Theory, Mom, The Kominsky Method, B Positive, Bob Hearts Abishola and Young Sheldon among many others. After working together early, Lorre has brought Brown along to be composer on many of those same shows.

The theme song was sung by James Mandell (now also goes by alter ego Miles Doppler). Mandell was a studio session singer when, according to him, "he got the call to record a demo for a nutty pilot about four young mutant turtles who knew how to fight." He also explained, "We got it in two takes and I wanted to to do another one but they said let's just add some harmony and it'll be fine for the demo. Five years later, it was on pinball machines." I am sure they never expected the show and song to become as iconic as they surely did.

Be careful, this is one that can definitely get stuck in your head on repeat after listening to it. Here is the opening for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles featuring the theme song...

In the video below, you can hear Lorre himself recalling his involvement creating the TMNT theme song and how it was thrown together in a couple days on a tiny budget...

Certainly one of the most memorable cartoon theme songs of the decade (or any decade for that matter). "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Heroes in a half-shell. Turtle power!!"

Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!

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1 комментарий

Candy Corn Apocalypse
Candy Corn Apocalypse
06 янв. 2023 г.

I have a vivid memory of singing this song in the elementary school courtyard before classes with a few friends. Just standing there, singing, displaying our mutual love for the television show. It was really something. 😝

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