We currently live in a time where there are literally hundreds of different television shows at our disposal, spread across multiple channels and platforms, and many of these programs are fortunate enough to have great writing, directing and actors associated with them. It was not always like this though, as the 1990s were filled with shows all aimed towards more older demographics that were mostly carbon copies of each other. But where that era truly did shine was with the shows aimed at kids. The 90s brought with it memorable and iconic shows like Digimon, Pokemon, Gargoyles, Beast Wars and the Spider-Man animated series, but there were also live-action shows like Ninja Turtles, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Saved By The Bell, and the best live-action series of all, the Power Rangers.
As a whole, Power Rangers is a superhero franchise which focuses around a group of youths who must save the world after obtaining the ability to morph into rangers, and these rangers always come equipped with color-coded suits, specialized weapons, and giant mechs known as Zords. The first incarnation of the show was called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and debuted in the summer of 1993, and has been airing ever since, to the point that the series is now entering its 24th season, and now has a third feature length film releasing this March. There are those who may say otherwise, but the Power Rangers franchise is indeed a global phenomenon, and this list will showcase 15 things you may not have known about the series.
15. There Was A Female Red Ranger
The Power Rangers franchise is filled with certain constants, like martial arts, the megazord fights, and the fact that humanity’s survival always depends on the capabilities of a group of teenagers; but another constant is the existence of a Red Ranger in virtually every season. In every case, the Red Ranger serves as the team’s leader, and most of the time, they are also the team’s strongest member, and throughout most of the show’s existence, it is a role that is synonymous with a male character, but there has been a female Red Ranger in the past. In 2005, the thirteenth season of the show aired, and it was called Power Rangers S.P.D., and in it, the Earth was threatened by an evil alien empire, who could only be thwarted by the Power Rangers, but unlike other seasons, this one had more than one group. The show starts off with A-Squad going missing, a squad which was led by Charlie Haywood, the series’ first female Red Ranger, and aside from becoming a traitor, she was known for being a very capable fighter who also had arrogance issues.
14. The Original Was Japanese
The television landscape is now a very crowded space, as there are literally hundreds of different shows to choose from, and although these shows all have their own unique stories, the concept behind them usually comes from an existing property. In this regard, Power Rangers is no different, as the series was adapted from a Japanese series known as Super Sentai, which is also a superhero team franchise that has now been airing in Japan for more than forty years. Like Power Rangers, this show is known for its martial arts fight scenes, colorful special effects, color-coded costumes, signature weapons, monster of the week encounters, and giant mechs which they use to fight the forces of evil. In truth, these shows are carbon copies of each other, and it was actually the 1992 season of Super Sentai called ‘Zyuranger’ which involved dinosaur-themed mechs that led to the direct creation of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which aired in 1993; and just like its inspiration, Power Rangers is enjoying a lengthy and successful run on the air.
13. A Ranger Was Named After Bryan Cranston
A few years ago, a lot of baby girls were given the name Khaleesi, because it was the title associated with a very popular character in the HBO series Game of Thrones, and fans of the show wanted to give their new daughters the name as an homage to the character. Individuals, whether they happen to be real people or characters in a story, are often named in order to pay some kind of tribute, like how most of us are actually named after one of our grandparents, and in the case of Power Rangers, the original Blue Ranger was named after well known actor Bryan Cranston. For those who for some reason do not know who Bryan Cranston is, he is best known for appearing on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, and the acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad, which earned him several Emmy awards. Before getting these roles, Cranston worked for Saban Entertainment as a voice actor, and to thank him for his work, the creator of Power Rangers, Haim Saban named the Blue Ranger Billy Cranston. To return the favor Cranston will play Zordon in the 2017 Rangers film.
12. The Yellow Ranger Was Originally Male
The Power Rangers franchise has been around since 1993, and in that time, the show has had nineteen different stories, and in virtually every single one of them, there has been a designated Yellow Ranger. What makes this Ranger unique is the fact that the character in the yellow suit has always been associated with one of the team’s female characters, but at the very beginning of the series, the show-runners had a different idea in mind that they changed before the show aired in the US. For the first series of the show, basically all of the in-costume fight scenes were shot ahead of time over in Japan, and at that point in time, the show-runners had decided to make the Yellow Ranger a male character, which is evidenced by the fact that the Pink Ranger, who was also female, was the only one of the two who had a skirt. By the time they decided to change the Yellow Ranger’s gender, they could not go back to reshoot all the fight scenes, so they simply aired the scenes as is.
11. Lord Zedd May Be Jewish
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers may have been the franchise’s first series, but it will forever be the most iconic of all the series, as the overall story took three seasons to complete, and the villains of that series continue to be the most iconic of the entire franchise. One of these villains was Lord Zedd, who was one of the main villains in the Mighty Morphin series, and who went on to also appear in both Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers in Space. Zedd was inspired by Darth Vader, and it is believed that he was once a human from another planet who was corrupted by evil forces thousands of years ago, and he became even more of a threat to the Rangers when he joined forces with the series’ original villain Rita Repulsa. As it turns out, Zedd went on to marry Repulsa, and during their ceremony, an Israeli folk song known as “Hava Nagila” (which is usually played at Jewish weddings), can be heard in the background; and it is because of this that many fans believe that Zedd may have in fact been of Jewish descent.
10. The Green Ranger Was Not Supposed To Last
In a show that has lasted as long as Power Rangers has, it is only natural that there are certain Rangers who stand out above all the rest in terms of popularity, and if you were to get a group of fans who have been watching the show since the beginning, and ask them who their favorite Ranger is, most of them will give the same answer: the original Green Ranger. This Ranger’s character was called Tommy Oliver and the reason why he stands out is because when he appeared in the Mighty Morphin series, he did so with a distinct looking suit, a specialized dagger flute, and a special dragon zord which looked a bit like Godzilla. The Green Ranger ended up staying on the show far longer than originally planned, as he was only supposed to appear on the show for a few episodes, but because fans of the show really liked the character, they wrote letters to Saban asking him to bring the character back. The amount of passion expressed by the fans left the show-runners with little choice, which is why the Green Ranger would return as a series regular.
9. Jason David Frank Holds All Records
In the previous entry, we talked about the original Green Ranger and how he is still one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise, and this entry will focus specifically on the man who brought the character to life. Jason David Frank is his name, and he is literally a legend when it comes to the Power Rangers franchise, as his Tommy Oliver character is indeed considered to be the greatest Ranger of all time, and it is because he did such a good job with the character, that he holds more than one show related record.
Aside from being the original Green Ranger, Jason and his character also played the original White Ranger, the White Ninja Ranger, the Red Zeo and Red Turbo Ranger, as well as the Black Dino Ranger, meaning that he has appeared as a record setting 6 different Rangers. Jason has also appeared in more than 230 episodes throughout the entire franchise, which is more than any other actor who has participated in the show.
8. There Was Almost A Bully Spin-off
Whenever a show becomes a standout success, it is common for the network executives and show-runners to want to make more money on the existing material by taking some characters and making a spin-off, and as it turns out, there was almost a Power Rangers spin-off that would have had nothing to do with the Rangers. In the original series, the Rangers were still attending high school, a building which had its own set of bullies in the form of Bulk and Skull, who primarily served as the show’s comic relief, and if you believe one of their actors, there were actual discussions of giving the pair their own show. Skull was portrayed by actor Jason Narvy, who said that the proposed spin-off would have focused on Bulk and Skull running a hotel which would have included a recurring character in the form of a Hispanic Elvis impersonator. In the end, this spin-off never happened, which is quite fortunate as it sounded like a terrible idea.
7. Zordon’s Lair Is Real
Most popular television shows have filmed on memorable sets and in recognizable locations, and Power Rangers is no different, as each team of Rangers has always needed their own headquarters to operate out of. In terms of the franchise itself, the most memorable location has to be the command building used in the original Mighty Morphin series, which is also known as Zordon’s Lair. Whenever an outdoor image of this base appeared on screen, it looked as if viewers were seeing a building that was built by some alien being, but as it turns out, what audiences were seeing was a real-life compound located on the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of the American Jewish University. This building, which first opened in 1973, is located in Simi Valley, California, and is used as a meeting and event hall by students, and it comes equipped with a fairly large art collection, and stained glass windows. The unique building has also been featured in Star Trek VI, The Lawnmower Man, and several music videos including Marilyn Manson‘s The Dope Show.
6. The Original Cast Did Their Own Stunts
Earlier it was mentioned that in the original Mighty Morphin series, the in-costume fight scenes were filmed in and imported from Japan, but as anyone who has watched the show knows, not all of the fight scenes take place when the characters are wearing their suits, as they often times fight enemies in their regular clothes. Now, the studio pays stunt performers to do many of these scenes, but in the original series, most of the stunts were performed by the actors themselves because Saban wanted American actors with martial arts backgrounds to limit the amount of direction needed, and of course to save money. In all, the original cast was made up of three accomplished martial artists and two gymnasts, who all participated in some stunts that by today’s standards would be considered too dangerous for actors to take part in; and it was because of these stunts and the relatively low pay they received for doing them, that some members of the original cast decided to leave the show.
5. David Yost Was Harassed On Set For Being Gay
In 2017, our society is far more understanding and accepting of gay people than it was just ten years ago, and in the mid 1990s, things were even worse as gay people could still be ridiculed at work for their orientation and receive very little justice. Such unfortunate treatment even occurred on the set of Power Rangers, and is the reason why David Yost, who played the franchise’s original Blue Ranger in Mighty Morphin, ended up leaving the show for good during the filming of the Power Rangers Zeo series in which his character now served as a technical advisor to the new Ranger team. While on the Zeo set, Yost had to deal with harassment at the hands of crew members who would call him derogatory names, and producers would often converse with other cast members about his sexual orientation, and these same people, including some writers, believed that he was not worthy of being a superhero because of his homosexuality. This all led to Yost leaving with six months of filming left, which was a good and healthy move on his part, because no one deserves to be treated that way.
4. Some Rangers Bared It All
As we all know, television shows, are filled with actresses who tend to be both fairly young and very attractive women, and the Power Rangers franchise is no different as all of the female Rangers have been played by beautiful ladies, some of whom have gone on to later appear nude in other roles. One actress to bare it all after being a Power Ranger was Cerina Vincent, who played the Yellow Ranger in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, and she did Ranger fans a great service when she played the naked exchange student in Not Another Teen Movie.
Amy Jo Johnson (above) got intimate in Without Limits. Next up is Anna Hutchison, who served as the Yellow Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, who not only had a nude scene in the horror movie Cabin in the Woods, but in the final season of the show Spartacus as well. Lastly, we have Rose McIver who currently stars in the show IZombie, but before that she had a role on the show Masters of Sex, in which she appeared nude, and before that, she served as the Yellow Ranger in Power Rangers R.P.M.
3. The Series Was Banned In Multiple Countries
There is no doubt that the Power Rangers franchise is a global hit, otherwise it would have likely been taken off the air years ago, and it is primarily thanks to the original Mighty Morphin series that the show took off, but when the original series did start airing, it did not find international success right away. The show may have been an immediate success in the United States, but in countries like New Zealand, the show was banned because it was deemed to be too violent. And in Canada, the show had to be heavily edited because of the same reason, which looking back was kind of absurd considering the graphic violence on television today. In the country of Malaysia, the show was originally banned and then broadcasted with heavy edits, because government officials feared the show would cause an increase in drug use as the word Morphin was far too close to the word morphine.
2. Odd Choices For The New Movie
As many people already know, this March will see the release of the new Power Rangers movie, which will actually serve as a small reboot and re-imagining of the franchise as the story revolves around the characters of the original Mighty Morphin series. Like many movies which are based on existing source material, there have been changes made in order to make it appeal to a wider audience, which is a bit odd considering that the show is already so well known around the world. One of these changes involves the villain, Rita Repulsa, (played by Elizabeth Banks, left) who in the movie is 65 million years old and a former Green Ranger that turns traitor while trying to obtain an all-powerful crystal. Whereas in the show, she is an evil humanoid alien witch who simply wants to dominate planets. The biggest change though, is with the rangers themselves, as based on what was shown in the trailers, the rangers possess superpowers, which would be fine if they had their suits on, but for some reason, they have enhanced strength, speed, the ability to breathe underwater and to jump long distances while in their everyday clothes.
1. The Original Movie Was Nearly A Disaster
There may be a Power Rangers movie coming out in a few months, but it will actually be the third time that the franchise ventures out onto the big screen, as the first movie titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie came out in 1995. Based on the title, you can ascertain that the movie revolved around the show’s original series, which it did, as it included most of the same actors from the show, and it went on to be fairly successful at the box office as it made over 66 million with a 15 million dollar budget. The movie itself featured new weapons, new suits and an alternate timeline, and it actually turned out to be good, but it could have turned out to be a complete and utter disaster because of production issues. As it turns out, the movie, unlike the show, was filled with completely original footage, which was a real change for the producers and directors involved; but what could have really screwed everything up was the fact that producer Suzanne Todd performed heavy rewrites to the script on set while filming was taking place, which is considered to be a big red flag in the movie making business.