Just when you hoped the heroes in a half-shell had gone underground, Playmates Toys has announced the emergence of 95 new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles items.
Move over Muckman and Rocksteady. At least 32 new awesome dudes - including some in Desert Storm fatigues - could be in Salt Lake toy shops by spring to help rid the valley of evil.Kids - and retail toy stores - are celebrating the birth of the newest and most outrageous Cowabunga Kings.
But many Salt Lake mothers wish Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Co. would ooze out of existence.
"If we could sell the ones we have, we could pay off our mortgage," lamented Sue Vicchrilli, who's hoping to evict a few mutants from her Murray home.
During the past couple of years, Vicchrilli's son, Sam, 9, has methodically collected all the Ninjas - except one. Sam said his dad, David Vicchrilli, refuses to let him buy Ray Fillet - perhaps because he resembles the fish David didn't catch.
The sewer buddies and their arch enemies have literally taken over the Vicchrilli home.
"He sleeps with them; he eats with them. They all have their own personalities," Sue Vicchrilli said. "If they are good they get to go on trips with us. The best behaved got to go to Yellowstone."
So how does Mom feel to having even more turtles infest her home?
"Oh, no," she said, echoing sentiments of mothers countywide who are campaigning for the turtles to climb back in their shells. "I hope he will grow up very quickly and outgrow them - or he better get a job."
Kylene Alder's reaction to Playmate's announcement was a bit more severe.
"I have had it with them. They are driving me crazy," said the mother offour boys, who braved He-Man, GI Joe, the Ghost Busters and Dick Tracy - only to be hit with plastic pizzas and nunchakus flung by Christopher Alder's grotesquely lovable turtles.
But action figures are only part of the totally turtle experience. Some parents have also had to shell out cash to buy other turtle paraphernalia - turtle sheets, towels, fanny packs, hats, posters, books, tapes, shirts, pants and p.j.'s.
And that's just for starters. When not feasting on pizza, turtle fans can pig out on turtle cereal, fruit snacks and pies filled with vanilla puddin' power.
"They want everything that's hyped on TV, and it's expensive," said Alder, who'll likely be first in line when the new walking, talking, furry turtles land in Salt Lake toy stores.
"After all, the only adult conversation I have all day is with Bebop and Leatherhead," she said. "At least that was before Leatherhead lost his lower jaw."
Unlike moms, retailers are ecstatic. The turtles have outlived other toy fads, experiencing about four years of popularity. It's not waning now.
"Turtles - there's no way you can go wrong. I haven't had any problem selling them yet," said Steve Baker, manager of Sandy's K mart. "They'll be a good item for at least another year."
Or longer. Daily cartoon, punctuated by plugs for turtle wares, keep the foursome and their adventures at the forefront of children's lives. Meanwhile "Ninja Turtles II" - the movie - opens March 22, and the Turtles' tour, which sold out in Salt Lake City this month, continues through spring.
No one's saying when the new turtle toys will make their grand appearance in Salt Lake City. But most kids agree the figures and games will be worth waiting for.
"I am going to start saving my allowance now," a grinning Sam Vicchrilli said. No doubt, computer print-outs listing the figures Sam is missing will also be sent to grandparents, aunts and uncles - eager to buy birthday and Christmas gifts in advance.