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Might Morphin' Power Rangers

Go, Go Power Rangers!
23 years ago (1993), a children's TV series premiered on the American tele. Such series integrated footage from a well-known Japanese "super sentai" (Japanese superhero team) series called "Dinosaur Team Beast Ranger" ("Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger") with newly shot scenes featuring an English-speaking American cast of actors (later seasons would integrate even more stock footage from other super sentai TV shows), that drastically worked its way into American pop culture in such a fashion that it rivaled yet another superhero craze at the time, that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The violently called white washing trick used thoroughly the 60's, 70's & early 80's was nothing but the reworking of the original material to make it western friendly. Asian products like movies, serials & anime were all affected by this practice. Anyways, this post is not about that, which I for one, think is a pointless dated trick in our current globalized world. 


Five Teens with attitudes.
Karate, weapons and shit.
Like every other kid growing up in the early to mid-1990s, I was  twelve going thirteen when "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" debuted in August of 1993. I collected the toys, (mostly bootlegs, there were some pretty decent Power Rangers bootlegs back in the day for half the price of the licensed toys) too, and thoroughly enjoyed "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie" (1995)when it came out. I shared this fandom with one of my best friends, so whenever I had to go to school, he would watch it and meet after school to tell me the details of the episodes I missed. I also remember, being a fan of MMPR wasn't much of a cool thing in my school. You see, the early 90's were all about becoming an adolescent full of teenage angst and either Grunge (which was huge) or Hip Hop (which was blooming) were almost the only possible thing a 13 year older would dig. So, I kinda kept my MMPR interest a secret, and only a few of my best friends who were into it, totally backed me up for.

The series initially centered around "five teenagers with attitudes" - later to be supplemented by a sixth member - in the fictional city of Angel Grove, California, who became a team of color-coded superheroes to fight against the forces of the evil witch Rita Repulsa (initially played by the late Japanese actress Machiko Soga, who only appeared in stock footage from the original Japanese version and whose voice was dubbed; Carla Perez played the character onward while voiced in both instances by Barbara Goodson). (She would later be joined by the even more-powerful Lord Zedd, her brother Rito Revolto, and finally her father Master Vile in later seasons).


The original team, my personal favorite.
Remember Ultraman?
The five heroic teenagers chosen by the demi-god Zordon and his twitchy robot servant Alpha 5 were Jason Lee Scott/The Red Ranger (Austin St. John), Kimberly Hart/The Pink Ranger (Amy Jo Johnson), Zack Taylor/The Black Ranger (Walter Jones), Billy Cranston/The Blue Ranger (David Yost, the series' longest-serving member), and Trini Kwan/The Yellow Ranger (the late Thuy Trang). In later seasons, their numbers were supplemented by the likes of my personal favorite, Tommy Oliver/The Green Ranger/The White Ranger (Jason David Frank), who eventually became the sixth member and de-facto leader of the group, and was finally the most powerful Ranger of them all; Adam Park/The Second Black Ranger (Johnny Yong Bosch); Rocky DeSantos/The Second Red Ranger (Steve Cardenas); and Aisha Campbell/The Second Yellow Ranger (Karan Ashley). This second line-up was heavily criticized as "the new rangers, lack personality, they don't even have a clear onscreen character development like their predecessors" I'd say they were kinda right specially with Adam & Rocky but, Aisha, the new yellow ranger was an excellent cast choice.

In all of their battles with Rita Repulsa's minions (which included, among other things, chaotically-edited Karate-based martial arts fighting sequences), they were aided with the power of the Zords, ancient giant robots based on prehistoric creatures (and later, ninja-like and gong-fu-animal-themed warrior figures), like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Pteradactyl, etc., which could form together to create a Mega-/Thunder-/Ninja-zord and would be used to fight Rita's monsters when she used her powers to turn them into towering monstrosities (giving rise to many daikaiju-styled monster battles that utilized stock footage from the original Japanese version of the show, which were produced by the Toei Company and Bandai).


Rita and her minions.
Lord Zedd, all Jewish, all evil.
And on the their down time, the kids had to find time to deal with being common, everyday American teenagers, and having to deal with numb-skull local bullies - and the show's comic relief - Bulk (Paul Schrier) and Skull (Jason Narvy). (P.S.: For those that cared - and if you were a worrisome enough parent during those days - you could find a meaningful message about the power of teamwork, individual uniqueness, courage, friendship, and working together for a common good.)

It's Might Morphin' Power Rangers trivia time! Morphinomenal!

Check all these awesome behind the scenes secrets that you probably didn't know. I must admit these were all found browsing several MMPR websites, so credits go to them.

Where's Your skirt?
In the original Japanese footage, the Yellow Ranger was male. This is why the Pink Ranger has a skirt, but Yellow doesn't.

Forever Blue


Billy Cranston, the Blue Power Ranger (David Yost), is, to date, the only Power Ranger to hold the same position for the longest time (3 years, 1993-1996) without ever switching colors. Kimberly Ann Hart (Amy Jo Johnson) is currently the longest-serving female Power Ranger and Pink Ranger of all time. She appeared in 137 episodes of the TV series until her departure from the series.


Tommy is here to stay


Jason David Frank (Tommy) was never meant to stay on the series for as long as he did. He was only supposed to be a regular until "The Green Candle Part 2" minus a cameo in "Doomsday Part 2". but during his temporary time on the show his popularity was higher than any other Ranger. Saban received large amounts of letters daily after "The Green Candle" requesting Tommy to be brought back into the series, Eventually the company gave in and brought Frank back in the episode "Return of an Old Friend." and ended up staying on the show lasting till Power Rangers Turbo (1997) and recently in returning for Power Rangers DinoThunder (2004). He has appeared in a total of 217 episodes in the entire Power Rangers series.

Enter the Green Ranger.
Tommy Oliver, Green & White, all ranger!
Lord Zedd, the Jewish


Lord Zedd is Jewish. During his wedding to Rita in Season 2's "The Wedding: Part 3," he wore a yarmulke, he did the traditional breaking of a glass to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, and the song "Hava Nagila" was played.Jewish and evil? just saying...

Creepy Fandom


Actor Austin St. John has admitted in interviews that, while he enjoyed working on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", he had mixed feelings about the fame that the show had given him. Mr. St. John admitted that, because he was recognized as the Red Ranger by fans, he had to move into different homes twice due to fans that would follow him to his home, he had to get sensor lights on his home, and he once literally had the clothes ripped off his back by Power Ranger fans when he tried to enter a local mall to go shopping. As a result, Mr. St. John has said that he will take photographs with his fans, sign autographs and talk with them, but he remains very protective of his private life.

My name is


In 2007, Austin St. John, who played Jason Lee Scott/the original Red Ranger, said at the Power Morphicon that Austin is his stage name and his real first name is Jason. This means that he is the only actor of the original Rangers to have the same first name as his Power Rangers character.

Superstars in the set


During a video interview at the 2007 Power Morphicon, actor Steve Cardenas, who played Rocky the second Red Ranger, said one of the best things about working on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" were the celebrities who would visit their sets. Gene Simmons from the rock band KISS, Mike Myers, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who had brought his children with him to the set, were among the many celebrities who dropped by at one point to see the Rangers on the set.

Haters against the Blue Ranger.


David Yost would often get teased and mocked because of his homosexuality by the crew members and he ended up leaving after Power Rangers Zeo (1996)

The definitive MMPR team.
MMPR The Movie super suits!

How old are the Rangers?


Although they were portraying high school students, Austin St. John (Jason) was the only one still of high school age, 18, when the show debuted. Thuy Trang (Trini) and Jason Narvy (Skull) were 19. Jason David Frank (Tommy) was 20. Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly), Walter Jones (Zack), and Paul Schrier (Bulk) were all 23. David Yost (Billy) was the oldest at 24.

Gymnasts, not Martial artists.


Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly) and David Yost (Billy) didn't do martial arts before the show, though Johnson and Yost were gymnasts. So they took self defense classes and incorporated their talents into the choreography for the fight scenes. Austin St. John (Jason), Walter Jones (Zack), Thuy Trang (Trini) and Jason David Frank (Tommy) were all martial artists long before the show.

Who leads? Red or White?


Although Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) was made the leader of the team once he became the White Ranger in season two, Jason Lee Scott (Austin St. John) was actually supposed to remain the leader even after Tommy's return. Some of this original idea is shown in the season 2 episode "Opposites Attract" when Jason orders the team to return to the Command Center during a disturbance, and he signals and leads the team, including Tommy as the White Ranger, in the Power Rangers' morphing sequence. However, those plans were scrapped due to the rumored pay dispute involving Austin St. John that would lead to Jason being written off the series and the line that Zordon (Robert L. Manahan) says in the second part of the "White Light" storyline was changed and re-recorded to make Tommy the leader instantly upon his return.

Power Rangers VS Batman


The series began airing weekday mornings at 7:30 AM. Despite being in the early time slot it managed to beat out Batman: The Animated Series (1992) in ratings which bumped Power Rangers to the afternoon time slot held by Batman. 


Megazord!
Legendary pose.
Parting Ways


Part way through filming Season 2 Austin St. John (Jason) Thuy Trang (Trini) and Walter Jones (Zack) left the show, it is rumored, over pay issues. Hence from "The Ninja Encounter", Saban used recycled footage for their unmorphed scenes (with any new dialog required for them, coming from other actors), until "The Power Transfer" when their Rangers positions were replaced by Steve Cardenas, Karan Ashley and Johnny Yong Bosch respectively. Although, Austin later returned to Power Rangers in a temporary spell as the Gold Ranger in Power Rangers Zeo (1996).

Pink's favorite
 

In an online interview, Amy Jo Johnson said that season two's "Bloom of Doom" was her favorite episode of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers".

Lord Zedd, an American original.


Lord Zedd is the very first Power Rangers villain to be American made instead of appearing originally in any Super Sentai production.

Forever Tommy


Along with having the most episode appearances, Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) also holds the record for having the longest continuous stint as leader of the team, being named leader in the early half of Season 2 when he received the White Ranger powers, and not leaving until half-way through Power Rangers Turbo, in the episode Passing the Torch. He also has the record for most color-changes as he has been green, white, red and black. 

what time is it?
it's Morphin' time!
Racist Coincidence


The unfortunate implications and minor backlash that arose due to an African-American actor (Walter Jones) cast as Zack/The Black Ranger and a Vietnamese actress (Thuy Trang) cast as Trini/The Yellow Ranger were noticed too late in production to change and entirely unintentional. Audri Dubois, who is not Asian, was originally cast as Trini and Jones had originally been cast as Billy/The Blue Ranger. Incidentally, David Yost, who played Billy, was originally cast as Jason/The Red Ranger.

Seven days a week!


Filming for "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" usually lasted seven days a week for sixteen weeks straight.

Kimberly, the coolest female Power Ranger.


The character Kimberly Ann Hart was originally meant to serve as a stereotypical "dumb blonde"-type character. When Amy Jo Johnson was cast, the character was changed to a Valley girl-type and she actually made several contributions of her own to her character as the series progressed, including Amy Jo's real-life gymnastic skills and being able to play the guitar.

The Elder Power Rangers
The original series has the distinction of being the longest-running incarnation lasting for three years (1993-1996).

Here's season 1 opening:




Here's the second opening for season 1:


Here's the first opening for the second season:


Here's the second opening for the second season:


And last but not least, the three opening clips for the infamous season 3:

  
 


This post first appeared on Stuff, Pubes & Movies Alternative, please read the originial post: here

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Might Morphin' Power Rangers

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