Meet the Man Who Wants to Reunite Vanilla Ice with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Ask Ashley Guynes what she thinks of her husband Jared's attempts to throw an "Epic Party" for Dallas and she'll just sigh and smile at the big schlub who may be 29-years-old but is still clearly a giant kid fighting the inevitability of age, maturity and their effect on his constant quest for fun.
Photo by Danny Gallagher Jared Guynes of Rockwall with his home built Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade cabinet.
"His birthday is in February and he wanted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to come to his birthday and he was like, 'What if I can get Vanilla Ice?'" Ashley said. "I'm like whatever. He's always brainstorming and trying to get the biggest, best whatever. Twenty-four hours later, we're at another show that he was doing and he goes, 'Vanilla Ice responded to my email. He's coming.' It doesn't even surprise me anymore."
Jared makes a good chunk of his living organizing parties and car shows and when his favorite fighting foursome made a surprise appearance to the pedestrians of Deep Ellum earlier this month, inspiration struck for a truly epic party idea. He would reunite the Ninja Turtles created by local builder Derick Winsett and Jacob King with rapper Vanilla Ice for the first time since the two appeared together in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze more than 22 years ago. The truly crazy part is thanks to a viral crowdfunding campaign, he just might pull it off Jared's Epic Party after all.
Guynes' love for the rambunctious reptiles started with the very popular, four-player arcade game that came out shortly after the cartoon series of the same name became a certified pop culture dynasty. Naturally, he has one of the few remaining cabinets in his makeshift arcade that he built using the game's original computer with a few extra touches such as light-up buttons and a subwoofer.
He joked that he spent about as much as a PlayStation 3 just so he could play one video game.
"It's probably the best four-player arcade game ever made in terms of sales," he says, standing amidst his impressive collection of arcade games and restored pinball machines which also includes a rare, mint condition model of Data East's TMNT pinball machine ("They're notoriously hard to find. I find one that was an original cabinet in San Marcos but it was just the wood.").
His obsession with the TMNT cartoon series and the movies didn't die with age. It led him to collect every toy Playmates ever made for the series including a couple of rarer pieces such as a cookie jar that would fetch as much as $300 on the collector's circuit.
"There's been times in my life when I've been a little less into it like in high school," Jared said. "I sort of suppressed it but that didn't work because as soon as I was back in college, I was just like I'm going to be who I am and I frickin' love Ninja Turtles."
Naturally, Vanilla Ice's cameo in the second TMNT movie and memorable "Ninja Rap" song further cemented his love for both but when he learned that the rapper also known as Robert Van Winkle was also a fan, it planted a seed in his brain for his "Epic Party."
He first met the rapper at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas at a VIP party. He couldn't resist complementing his performance with the Turtles and he was surprised to learn that he wasn't the only adult fan in the room.
"When it came my turn and I got to talk to him, the first thing I said was, 'You know, forget everything else, you in Ninja Turtles II was the coolest thing I've ever seen and I just want to thank you for one of my best childhood memories," Jared says. "He's like, 'Dude, you like Ninja Turtles? I'm a huge Ninja Turtles fan! I love the Ninja Turtles!' and he pulled up his pant leg and showed me this Ninja Turtles tattoo. He had this pretty famous Ninja Turtles mural from the Secret of the Ooze right there on his left leg and it was just huge. It took up his whole leg."