This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Video: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ride The Blue Line In This Vintage Promo
Metro's predecessor used a bit of Turtle Power back in the 1990s to help get the word out to Angelenos about the newly opened Blue Line.
While there's been plenty of recent talk about Metro's ambitious new $120 billion transportation plan, the recent expansion of the Gold Line, and the Expo Line's impending arrival in Santa Monica, back in 1990 L.A.'s transit system took a more creative approach to letting the public know about the region's rail expansion. Southern California Rapid Transit District—which later merged into Metro—recruited the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a promotional video about the new line.
In the video, recently uncovered by Reddit user Schikelgrubber, we find intrepid reporter April O'Neil out on the field covering the new line, which would connect downtown L.A. to Long Beach. But when she discovers that the sinister villain "Gridlock" is trying to keep people from finding out about it, she calls upon our heroes in a half shell for for help. Our fearless foursome—Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael—take a radical ride on the new line, visit the RTD central control facility, and organize a rally to educate the public and fight "Gridlock." There's even an appearance from the USC marching band.
Grab a pizza, and get ready for some excellent vintage Turtle Power:
According to NinjaPizza.net—the excellent source for all-things TMNT that uploaded the clip to YouTube—the video comes from a VHS promo, known as "Operation Blue Line." Edward Langer, who worked in marketing at RTD at the time and helped make the video, explains that they "wanted to create a video to be distributed free through a local supermarket chain to all residents along the route." Copies were also given to large companies throughout the area to show to their employees. The team behind the video borrowed the costumes and managed to even get the voice actors from the original TMNT cartoon—Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon, Rob Paulsen, and Cam Clarke—to voice their respective characters.
The video is totally goofy and perfectly '90s, and according to Langer, "ridership did take off." To which we say, "Cowabunga, dude!"