We’ve pretty well covered James Van Der Beek’s gritty Power Rangers short film, so let’s look at the 1993 kids’ TV phenomenon that inspired it. Here’s everything you might not know about the show…
1. Bryan Cranston voiced a couple of the monsters. Long before becoming the Southwest’s meth kingpin on Breaking Bad, and even before jumping into the role of the goofy dad on Malcolm in the Middle, Bryan Cranston lent his talents to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Cranston voiced Snizzard in Season 1’s “Foul Play in the Sky” and Twinman in “A Bad Reflection on You.” Alex Borstein of Family Guy fame also provided the voice of several monsters.
2. Fans saved Jason David Frank from losing his job. Frank portrayed the Green Ranger, the White Ranger, and the White Ninja Ranger, but he was only supposed to be on the series for a brief time. The Season 1 episode “The Green Candle: Part 2” was supposed to be Frank’s final appearance, but at the time, he was more popular than any of the other Rangers. After the episode aired, Saban received dozens of letters from fans requesting that his character, Tommy, be brought back. Frank, of course, was eventually brought back into the series and ended up staying all the way through 2004’s Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
3. Austin St. John had some unpleasant fan interactions. St. John said that while he loved working on the show, and the fans were great, for the most part, their fandom got a little scary at times. Because of the Red Ranger’s popularity, St. John said that he had to move homes twice because of fan harassment and once had his shirt ripped off by a mob of fans while entering a shopping mall.
4. There’s been some debate that Lord Zedd is Jewish. Yes, the all-powerful “Emperor of Evil” might in fact be one of God’s chosen people. This became a topic of debate during Season 2’s “The Wedding: Part 3,” when some argued that Zedd is seen wearing a yamaka and stepping on the glass following the vows. Something very similar to “Hava Nagila” is played at the reception, so maybe he’s part Jewish?
5. Austin St. John and Walter Jones lived in a Power Rangers party pad together. St. John and Jones told the Huffington Post that while on the show, they lived in the equivalent of a Power Rangers Animal House, and they often had impromptu parties that St. John said sometimes resulted in a police helicopter asking them to keep it down.
“We had some parties that were so big. Multiple kegs. Inevitably somebody would call the police and a helicopter would show up and put a spotlight on the backyard where we had a volleyball net. A big trampoline. A cop would come knock on the door, “Excuse me, could you guys keep it down.” That was just business as usual.”
6. The pyrotechnic work sent two Rangers aflame. Both Amy Jo Johnson and David Yost were accidentally set on fire during a pyro stunt involving Billy’s brain-switching machine. Neither were seriously injured, but the Rangers were a lot more cautious about how they approached such stunts moving forward.
7. Celebrities regularly dropped by the set with their kids. One of the highlights of working on the show for some of the Rangers was that it gave them an opportunity to meet some of their favorite celebrities. Steve Cardenas revealed in a 2007 interview that celebs would often arrange visits to the set with their kids, and while working on the show, Cardenas was able to meet Mike Myers, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Gene Simmons.
8. Producers filmed an alternate ending in case the show was canceled. Producers were unsure if the series would keep going after the episode “Doomsday” and filmed an alternate ending just in case the show didn’t get picked back up. The alternate ending had the Rangers sealing Rita and her minions in the Space Dumpster, and it mirrored the last episode of Kyôryû sentai Jûrenjâ that Power Rangers was based on.