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turtle power never dies

Watch a Video About the Bizarre History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

If you were capable of conscious thought in the 1980s and '90s, you likely have some recollection of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But if you only remember them as green-skinned, pizza-devouring, happy-go-lucky animated characters, you only know one teeny-tiny part of the turtles' insane history. As it turns out, this weekend's movie reboot, produced by Michael Bay (ugh), is only the latest chapter in a strange, 31-year saga — a saga you can experience with us in the following video. Financial struggle! Lawsuits! Gritty violence! Surprise appearances by Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne, and Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! It's all here! Turtle Power!

Special thanks to Mental Floss for their in-depth research about the Turtles and to Michael Danty for his invaluable 1991 featurette, Behind the Shells. You are all heroes in a half-shell.