A Blast from the Past: The Unforgettable TMNT Reunion at Flappers Comedy

Author: Joe Di Gaetano

On August 12, 2019, Flappers Comedy Club hosted an extraordinary event that transported us back to childhood. Imagine being a kid in the 80s and 90s, waking up on a Saturday morning with no school ahead, and turning on the TV to one of your favorite animated series. For many, it was The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – four turtles and a rat, altered by ooze into talking, fighting warriors, striving to defeat the evil Foot Clan and their leader, Shredder. Alongside them was everyone’s favorite yellow jumpsuit-clad reporter, April O’Neil.

Fast forward 35 years to that Monday night when we met the voices behind our favorite turtles and reporter. The leader, Leonardo, was brought to life by Cam Clarke; the brainy tech specialist, Donatello, by Barry Gordon; the party-lover, Michelangelo, by Townsend Coleman; the wise-cracking Raphael, by Rob Paulsen; and the voice of April O’Neil was none other than Renae Jacobs.

Additional voice actors joined them. Since James Avery, the original Shredder and beloved Uncle from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is no longer with us, another actor was brought in to voice the villain. The Disney voice actor, Bill Farmer, played the turtles’ teacher and mentor, Master Splinter. In a humorous twist during this Talking Toons-sponsored event, Rob Paulsen asked Farmer to deliver Splinter’s lines in Goofy’s voice, making for entertaining and hilarious reading.

The cast then treated us to an extraordinary performance, reading from the script of the pilot episode of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. It was as if we were kids again, eyes closed, picturing every scene as their familiar voices brought our favorite characters to life.

Following the program, we had the chance to meet all five of the original TMNT cast members. It was a perfect opportunity to take photos and have our turtle merchandise autographed.

This truly was a “tubular” event, offering a shell of an experience. So, I’ll leave you with these two iconic phrases to end this piece. You choose which one to embrace: “COWABUNGA” or “TURTLE POWER!”

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