The animatronic Turtle suits created by Jim Henson's crew for the first TMNT movie were, quite simply, wonderful. I remember being blown away by how beautiful they were and how much the performers and puppeteers were able to get out of these clever and carefully-crafted agglomerations of latex, paint, leather and various fabrics.
There were a number of suits made for each Turtle, and they were separated into the "hero" or "acting" suits, which were worn by the principal performers and used in all of the scenes in which a Turtle had to act, and the "stunt" suits. The hero suits had the complex and very expensive and delicate animatronic mechanisms which allowed the puppeteers to give the Turtles a wide variety of expressions.
The stunt suits, on the other hand, did not have these mechanisms and were thus much lighter and allowed the very talented martial artists who wore them to do all kinds of very cool and exciting moves.
After the first movie was finished and released, the Henson folks generously gave Kevin and me each one of the stunt suits. I believe Kevin got Raphael, and I got Donatello. My Donatello suit was, I'm pretty sure, worn by Ernie Reyes Jr., who did most of Donatello's stunts in the first movie (and later appeared without a Turtle costume as "Keno" in the second movie).
When I got my suit, I put together a jointed wooden "skeleton" to insert into the suit and allow me to pose it in various positions for display.
Well... that was the plan, anyway. It never really worked that well -- the suit is actually pretty heavy, and the joints I made couldn't hold it up. So the suit ended up kind of sprawled in a chair in my studio. And that's where it has sat, more or less, for the last fifteen years or so.
A few years ago, when we were working on the preproduction of the new "TMNT" movie, Kevin Munroe (director) and Galen Walker (producer) made one of their several visits out to Northampton. After one of our meetings, I invited them both to my house and showed them around my studio. They got a kick out of seeing the old suit and agreed to pose with it for my camera. That's Kevin on the left and Galen on the right. -- PL