Anyone remember? TMNT Ellio’s Pizza Collectible Cards

James / August 16th, 2011

I blame a lot of the popularity of pizza in the late 80’s/early 90’s to the Ninja Turtles. At least in the USA. When TMNT was at the height of its popularity, pizza was THE thing to eat! I didn’t matter what kind, even if it was microwavable. They knew what they had going, so they cross-promoted with food companies all the time, from grocery store products like Ellio’s to restaurant chains like Pizza Hut. That only made kids eat pizza even more!

I remember in 1990 when the TMNT live action movie came out, there was a promotion with Ellio’s. On the back of each pizza box was a card that showed a screen shot from the movie. The card was actually part of the box, so you’d have to cut it out with scissors. There was about 10 different cards, maybe more. If you collected them all, you could send in for a poster. I remember every week, standing in the grocery store, looking at the backs of all the pizza boxes to find a new card. Eventually, I got them all, and sent them in. You also had to send 3 dollars, which I remember enclosing in cash. I got a poster of Michelangelo as my reward. It was the live action Mikey holding a pizza. The poster remained on my wall for years to come.

I don’t have the poster or the cards any more, so I don’t have any visual evidence of this. This is the only image I could find that remotely hints to what I’m talking about. But the kind I remember wasn’t the round pizza, it was the rectangle square shaped kind.

My memory is a bit fuzzy after 20 years. It’s been fun doing Turtle Tuesdays and bringing back some old memories, but now maybe someone else can help me out. Anyone remember the cards/poster offer? If anyone has images, that would be awesome.

UPDATE: This site here has pictures of the cards. Those definitely look like the ones I remember. There were 17 of them!



  • August 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Ha ha ha That reminds me of the Burger King’s pokemon cards …wierd

  • Stuessy

    August 16, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Microwave pizza? You Americans are real gourmets. 😉

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:46 am

      The English have even worse versions of the stuff. I just finished watching an Englishman reviewing microwave pizza snacks they have over there.

      • Jordan1776

        March 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

        was it ashens

  • cloob1

    August 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

    2 days ago I went to Holiday World and I saw a guy with a TMNT shirt on, I wanted to bust out the theme.

  • August 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I don’t remember the promotion, but I definitely remember the Turtles-branded Ellios pizzas. What I ate more of than the frozen pizzas was the Ninja Turtles cereal made by Purina. Why a dog food brand was making breakfast cereal, I’ll never know. I think they did the Batman cereal too. Anyway, the cereal at one point came with a bowl as a promotion, shrink wrapped to the box, like so:

    The bowl is a little disturbing, since it’s like they eviscerated and hollowed out a turtle. I got the Michelangelo bowl, and used it just about every day in 2nd/3rd grade. That bowl is still kicking around my dad’s house, where my 3 year old nephew uses it. Not sure if he knows what Ninja Turtles are though.

  • Mellowtrauma

    August 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

    @Alberto Paino
    I remember when Burger King Kids Club had a promotion with TMNT video cassettes.

  • August 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

    @Trium – I totally had one of those bowls! No idea where it is now =\

  • mwhitener

    August 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Yeah I collected a couple of those Burger King tapes, those were the days. I went threw some of my old stuff that I found in my parents house and found my TMNT trading cards. They must have been from the early days of the show because they were still images from the first couple of seasons. I also recall one of my action figures or books coming with a turtles pizza recipe and I got my mom to make the pizza. I think it even gave you the option to mail order the ingrediants for the recipe. I got my mom to make it and it was ok.

  • mdemaat

    August 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

    @Stuessy I remember microwaving pizzas that really shouldn’t have been microwaved at all, like the cheapo Totino’s pizzas. They’d come out all slimy and chewy, like a wet scab. Without the crisp crust and cheese and uneven heating throughout, there was nothing to enhance the sole flavor the pizza contained; salted grease.

    And I loved it.

    Fucking industrial diet, man. Mock it if you want, but when Western civilization goes up in pillars of atomic flame, we Americans who grew up in the 80s are gonna have a lot less trouble keeping down the radioactive waste we’re all forced to derive sustenance from.

  • dropofahat

    August 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

  • Joker83

    August 16, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Growing up in the 80’s / early 90’s, I literally thought that the popularity of Pizza was directly because of the Ninja Turtles. I actually assumed that it was only something people started eating because of them. And I thought the opening scene in TMNT 2, with everyone in NYC eating Pizza was a comment on the popularity of the Turtles. Also, I was 7.

  • maspow2

    August 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    The peak of TMNT’s popularity was a year or two before my time, but I do remember a similar promotion with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This was back when “The Mask” with Jim Carrey was huge and the TV show had just come out. Each box of CTC had a token in it and if you collected like 4 or 5 tokens (therefore eating 4 or 5 boxes of cereal) you could mail them in for a Mask T-shirt. I think I still have that shirt packed away in my basement somewhere and I surprisingly didn’t become sick of CTC afterwards.

  • PorkFrydRice

    August 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

    That promotion does sound vaguely familiar. I think I remember collecting some of the cards, but I don’t think I ever got a full set. I’m pretty sure I had a lot of doubles. Wasn’t there also a promotion where they put a turtle mask on the back of the Ellio’s box too. I always hated those things. I could never cut them out properly.

  • TheProfessor

    August 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    This is the poster James is talking about. I had the same one. It’s a screenshot from the movie just before Mikey throws the pizza in the air for Leonardo to slice….×32-POSTER-/190562219234?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5e64b4e2

  • August 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I think I kind of remember those but I was really little. However I was able to find the Ninja Turtle cartoon cards in a few vending machines over the past three years. They are all around 21 years old and a few of them came with gum that was moldy or shade as a blade. I have about three of four packs of them and it still blows my mind that they were selling them in a vending machine 21 years later. If you want I could take pictures of them.

  • SBoyShadow

    August 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Actually, I never understood why they didn’t make a TMNT Soup… with real turtles of course!
    It would sell…

  • August 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I remember those cards, though I think they came with a different brand of pizza down here in Texas. But here we’re getting to about the age where I thought I was too old for the Ninja Turtles.

    Actually, that’s kind of a funny story. I remember the exact moment I grew out of the Ninja Turtles: Fall of 1990, entering 6th grade, I moved to a new town. Within the first few weeks I made friends with this pretty girl – much prettier than any girl that would pay attention to me at my old school – and I remember she asked me how I liked the new place. I told her it was alright, except they showed my favorite show while were were still at school. “What show is that?,” she asked and I told her the Ninja Turtles, naturally. And I still remember the skeptical look she gave me. It’s burned in my cranium. The look said, “Aren’t you a little old for that?” Instant death. No more cartoons for me. It was all Saved By The Bell and Cheers reruns from then on.

    Even back then I knew: Pretty Girls > Ninja Turtles. 😀

  • grimnebulin

    August 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’m pretty sure the Turtles ate pizza because it was hugely popular, not the other way around.

  • August 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    @grimnebulin – I agree. We were scarfing pizzas a couple of times a week years before we heard about the Ninja Turtles.

  • August 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    The first time that I ate pizza was because of the turtles, I’ve never had it before but I was a fan so I make my dad to take me for my birthday to an italian restaurant that was big in my city in those days (it’s called Josephinno’s Pizza) and… I DIDN’T like it, but the Turtles eat it so I had to eat it too. Eventually I did get into pizza so now I really like it, but my first experience with that food was because of the Turtles and was bad.

  • August 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Most of those junk foods are taste terible and its not healthy at all!

  • TheProfessor

    August 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    @grimnebulin & Kristopher Wright

    The Turtles eat pizza because that is what Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were eating when they came up with the idea for the turtles. And while pizza has always been hugely popular, there was a sudden boost in popularity around the late 80s. Many attribute this to the popularity of the turtles just as sales of Reese’s Peices skyrocketed after E.T. Just think, millions of little kids suddenly begging thier parents to order pizza for dinner whereas before tmnt they didn’t. It’s gotta affect sales. I know this was my case…

  • PoLaR

    August 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Lol did anyone notice that It looks like Raph had a little too much pizza? Judging by that McCain’s pizza cover 😛

    There Is no doubt In my mind that The Turtles had a huge influence on me, and pizza. Hah. I still eat It way too often but god damn, CHEESE <3

    In the first TMNT live action movie , when they are cutting the Domino's pizza and It lands on Splinter's head.. that always made me crave It hardcore. Mmm…

  • August 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm


    Purina People Chow? Check please…

  • Kenshiroh

    August 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I remember you could get a VHS of the movie through Pizza Hut, which was weird since there was product placement for Domino’s in the movie.

  • Kenshiroh

    August 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Purina also makes Chex cereals.

  • Fred Fuchs

    August 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I also had the Mikey holding a pizza poster !

  • nintendophile

    August 17, 2011 at 1:32 am

    I had that exact same poster, too! I love that even though people are from different parts of the world, we can all bond over the same memories like this. ^_^

  • August 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hey James, I’m from a tiny island in the Indian Ocean and TMNT was huge there in the early 1990s and when Pizza Hut first opened, I think maybe 1993, alot of the buzz for kids was “this is what the Ninja turtles ate” and yeah! I must totally agree that Pizza owes alot to TMNT in many parts of the world…

  • August 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I had the poster sheet of all of the movie cards that was a mail offer from Ellio’s. I might even still have it in the back of my closet somewhere.

  • sanguintine

    August 19, 2011 at 1:00 am

    i remember sending in a ton of proof of purchase things (and probably some cash as well…) from some gross pot-pies when i was a kid to get a Michelangelo stuffed animal. i think i still have that thing too.

  • Freaknut

    August 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I know I still have my stuffed Mikey from back then. He’s kinda messed up, but everything is still intact (or at least it was the last time I saw him). And about those cards, I don’t remember Raph dancing in the street with a black guy. Is that part of the extended edition or something? 😉

  • RhyanChapman

    February 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    the pic of the pizza by Mcain are the best pizzas in the world they tasted so amazing and stopped bieng sold in the UK in 2005 :((( i miss those pizzas man we would have one every saturday…

  • January 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    The Game Gallery in Easton, Pennsylvania has tons of TMNT trading cards with bubble gum in them (like the baseball cards that came with gum). We advise people buying them to not eat the 20 year old gum.

  • January 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Ah those Turtles and there Pizza.

  • Night-X

    January 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Another item that I miss out of again. Only thing I remember was that I had one of those big ass movie photo pin botton from the movie.

  • January 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm


  • prequarius

    January 31, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Does anyone remember these?

    Pizza crunchabungas? Yeah, I was into anything that had a masked turtle on it.

  • prequarius

    January 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Or what about the ninja turtles bowl that came wrapped on the box of a cookie crisp cereal box? I remember buying that cereal, then buying the ninja turtle cereal to complete the turtle breakfast theme!

  • lotusclown

    March 4, 2013 at 3:54 am

    luv how they have raphael blasted right in your face while the other turtles take a back seat.. always hated how raph was always the most focused on turtle, it should’ve been leonardo damnit, he was the fuckin leader!

  • Stanofspace

    March 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve still got a few of these cards, they are Australian ones, so they are Mcain branded. But the same cards otherwise. Does anyone know what they are worth?

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