have had a long, sordid history with Pizza Hut.
the first movie, Mikey cheats on them by ordering out from Domino's
in the scene where he slips the nervous pizza delivery guy the
money through a sewer vent.
was forgiven, however, in 1990 when Pizza Hut put up $20 million
of their money to sponsor the horror known as The Coming Out of
Our Shells Tour, an actual 40-city touring concert launched at
Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Sweaty performers lip
synched and pretended to play real instruments (like Donny
on keyboard) through exaggerated movements in their rubber
suits to screaming Turtle fans. We were incurable, us Turtle fans.
a kid went to Pizza Hut that year to order a personal pan pizza,
he or she could also carry on until their parents bought them
an official tour guide, poster, and an audio cassette tape (remember
those?) for $3.99 extra (a $12.99 retail value!).
sell music soundtracks at Pizza Hut? As Raph put it so elegantly
in a 1990 Pizza Hut commercial as he's walking off stage to a
sold-out crowd with jazz saxophone in hand, "'CUZ THEY DON'T
SELL PIZZA IN RECORD STORES, DUUUDE." A valid point, Raphael,
but you really didn't have to shout.
of 1990, more than 2 million copies of the Coming Out of Their
Shells soundtracks passed into little hands of unsuspecting children
at the pizza chain restaurants.
the Music VHS tape, the official Turtles Tour video, was released
around this time and is literally littered with Pizza Hut pizza
boxes. They made no attempt to hide that Pizza Hut was the real
captain behind the wheel. Even Senior Vice President of Marketing
for Pizza Hut, David Novack, appeared to deliver a press statement
midway into the video on Pizza Hut's behalf.
just absolutely thrilled to get the world's most famous pizza
eaters to hook up with the number one pizza company in the world.
Pizza Hut will launch the most aggressive promotion ever done
in the record industry to support the Turtles' new music, which
I'm sure all of America will love."
Cut to Michaelangelo:
"What are all these suits doing here? Talking BUSINESS?"
Like you don't
know, Michaelangelo! Sell out!
Speak of the
devil, this unassuming plastic rhinestone-encrusted piece of fabric
actually used to make up part of Michaelangelo's flashy outfit
as seen in The Making of The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour
direct-to-video mockumentary. It would have been glued onto Mikey's
bandana (some glue residue still remains). Mikey's a total turtle
eye star can be seen when the Turtles perform outdoors on top
of the marquee at Radio City Music Hall.
Henson's Creature Shop decided not to make the Coming Out of Their
Shells Tour costumes, the outfits were quickly put together by
another studio in 5 weeks' time.
my passion, dude!"
I have something in my eye?"
can't see where I'm going!"
fishing for a compliment from Richard Simmons.
costumes ditched the eye star and used running shoes and spandex
pads to help the actors move around during the two-hour-long live
show. (The original costumes also had bulky shells, but were later
replaced with light jean vests after rehearsals.)
The eye star
was acquired from the HMS Creative Productions Prop House Garage
Sale held in North Hollywood, California. HMS has created props
for theme park attractions, television, and movies. They designed
the time travel staff from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
I somehow managed to escape the pull of seeing the Turtles live
on stage, Pizza Hut had me right where they wanted me when they
made one more Turtle deal in the winter of 1990to
appear all over the sequel of the best-selling Nintendo game,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game.
Hut smeared its tomato sauce fingers over half of the ten levels
(Scene 1; Scene 2, Part 1; Scene 3, Part 1;
Scene 3, Part 2; and Scene 5) in the game.
even an advertisement for Pizza Hut in the apartment level, you
know, the one that's completely on fire. Because, of course, an
apartment building engulfed in flames and burning to the ground
subliminally makes you want to call for the delivery of a piping
hot Meat Lover's Stuffed Crust Pizza.
in-game ads weren't enough to get you into a Pizza Hut, the tease
on the front of the game's box surely would:
COWABUNGA! Coupon for FREE PERSONAL PAN PIZZA from PIZZA HUT
Void in Quebec and Mexico
Not Sponsored by Nintendo
was a big deal for a kid. A really big deal. A free pizza with
a new Turtles Nintendo game? This was too much temptation for
anyone, let alone a small, impressionable boy like myself.
pizza promotion was well advertised, appearing even
at the end of the commercial for the video game.
You could find the coupon for a free
personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut on
the back of the game's instruction manual. You had about a year
to butcher the back flap of the manual to remove the coupon and
redeem it because the thing expired on
December 31st, 1991. After the cut-off date, all traces of the
free pizza offer were removed
from the box and manual.
Hut made sure to put a dine-in or carryout restriction on the
promotion so that smart ass kids couldn't call up the local Pizza
Hut and ask for their free Turtles game pizza without ordering
anything else. Goddamn smart ass kids ruining everything.
stance against in-game advertisement, this time it worked, it
sure worked on me. I ate at Pizza Hut more than anywhere else
as a kid. And I don't doubt for a second that the Turtles didn't
have something to do with my pizza preferences. I even ate Pizza
Hut pizza while playing this very game back in the day. Whenever
I went over to a friend's house for some two-player Turtle action,
he'd always ask his mother to call out for Pizza Hut. We weren't
satisfied until the controllers were slick with grease.
the genius behind this promotion, Novack, went on to become Chairman
and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., the Fortune 500 corporation that
owns Pizza Hut as well as KFC, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver's.
1990, I would go on to order my pizza exclusively from Aldo's
Pizzarama in Northeast Philly. I suppose the posted health inspection
report that identified roaches in the local Pizza Hut's kitchen
area soured whatever remained of my yearning for sugar-filled