For kids in the late 1980s, few animated shows were as galvanizing as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Launched in 1987, the cartoon dominated afternoons, whether kids were watching indoors or playing outside and pretending to be their favorite member of the quartet. The heroes in a half-shell got so huge, so fast, it was only a matter of a few years before they were given their first shot at the big screen.
That leap came with major improvements allotted by a Hollywood budget. Instead of being drawn by a collection of animators, the big screen counterparts were developed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. That gave the massive mutants a more realistic look and feel, which went well with the more serious tone of the feature film.
Now, 18 years later, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of that era are still fan-favorites. Whether that has to do with the quality of the movie (which still holds up fairly well), green-tinted nostalgia glasses, or the fact that it was one of Jim Henson’s last projects before his death, we can’t say. All we know is NECA has been servicing our fandom needs for the past year with some incredible quarter-scale figures of the fab four, and this week that trend continues with the release of the Baby Turtle set.
Crafted to scale with the existing ninja brothers, these baby versions of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael come in at four inches tall each. Based on the original puppets, these early-mutation turtles look like they just stepped off the screen and into our hearts. Each one is crafted to look exactly like its teenage counterpart, with all the right shell spotting and emotion you’d expect. Baby Raphael even has that bandage on his face so you know he’s the tough one.
Additionally, the set comes with a faux-Domino’s box of pizza (including four slices) and a bag of potato chips. Those little guys could eat. If you happen to have the previously released Michelangelo figure, this set also comes with a special nunchuck-spinning alternate hand for added pose-ability.
For $49.99, that’s not a bad amount of quality TMNT content. The good thing is you don’t need the existing (and now hard-to-find) NECA figures — but if you do have them these little guys will take your display up a few notches.
If you’re not quite ready to jump off the Star Wars hype train after Solo: A Star Wars Story’s release and looking to celebrate Star Wars: Return of the Jedi's anniversary, mayhaps this rare stuffed Ewok might be something that interests you. Originally released in 1984, this Kenner "Latara the Ewok" is something we’ve never seen before.
Stuffed animals from 35-plus years ago staying in recognizable condition are rare enough, but to have one that is still (relatively) mint-in-box is absurd. Those 3.75-inch figures? Sure, we believe some savvy kids and adults stopped themselves from opening them to preserve their worth. But a stuffed character that’s basically already free from plastic bubble protection? That’s a level of restraint that’s hard to match.
Currently up for auction at $200, this Ewok doesn't have any fancy features or battery-operated abilities like the classic '80s bear Teddy Ruxpin. It’s just a basic bear with a faux leather headpiece and shoulder wrap. Curiously, Latara the Ewok never appeared in Return of the Jedi, despite having a doll and a box indicating she was one of the creatures on Endor.
That's not to say Latara didn’t exist. The character was introduced in 1985 on the animated series Star Wars: Ewoks, in which she had a fancier hat, a long blonde braid, and was Teebo’s girlfriend. I don’t really know what else to say, but that’s some advanced character introduction, even by Lucasfilm standards. Not many other companies have the depth of knowledge, or faith in their library, to name a toy and then name a character in a cartoon after that toy.