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13 things you never knew about Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

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Whether you remember Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for its catchy theme tune, sold-out toys or the many playground bans that accompanied its popularity, it’s safe to say you do remember it. By mashing-up high-school drama, martial arts superheroes and giant transforming robots the show created a template that continues to entertain kids even today.

But let’s face it: the original will always be the best. And to celebrate the launch of a new channel dedicated solely to the colourful kicksters, we’ve compiled this list of 13 things you might not know about Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

 

Zordon was only filmed once


Zordon, the Power Rangers’ alien mentor was played by actor David J. Fielding, but despite Zordon appearing in almost every episode of the show, he was only ever filmed once, for a few hours. The footage was then recycled for each appearance with Fielding’s new lines dubbed over it. Fielding didn’t even get to reprise the role when Zordon appeared outside of his tube in the Power Rangers movie – instead he was played by Nicholas Bell. The Green Ranger was only supposed to be temporary.

The Green Ranger was only supposed to be temporary

 

The 5-episode “Green With Evil” saga saw new cast member Tommy Oliver transformed into the fan-favourite Green Ranger – but the character was originally supposed to disappear following the conclusion of the “Green Candle” storyline, as his Japanese counterpart did.

But franchise owners Saban Entertainment received so many letters about him that Tommy Oliver stuck around, eventually becoming the longest-running character in the franchise with over 200 appearances across multiple series.

Bryan Cranston voiced two monsters in the show…

Power Ranger 3

The man known to millions as both the meth-cooking Walter White on Breaking Bad and the long-suffering dad Hal on Malcolm In The Middle had a secret past as a voice actor. As a freelancer for Saban, he voiced both the Snizzard in “Foul Play In The Sky” (episode 1x14) and the Twin Man in “A Bad Reflection on You” (episode 1x38).

…And ended up naming one of the rangers

Cranston’s association with Saban meant that when the time came to give a surname to Billy, the original Blue Ranger, the show’s creators borrowed Cranston’s surname (though it never actually appeared in the show). Although Cranston wasn’t aware of this at the time, fans asked him if it was true so often that he checked with someone inside Saban and has since confirmed that it is. Bryan Cranston is now due to return to the franchise playing Zordon in 2017’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie reboot.

Season One had an alternate ending

Had further episodes not been ordered, the first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers would have ended with villain Rita Repulsa crashing the Rangers’ senior prom before being defeated by Tommy Oliver and sealed back into the space dumpster she originally emerged from in the first episode, “Day of the Dumpster”.

As it turned out, the show’s popularity was so great that ending was never used, and Rita eventually became human in the conclusion of Power Rangers In Space (effectively the sixth season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers).

The show was censored in Malaysia

At the time it originally aired, parents in the UK fretted over the possible consequences of children imitating the way the Power Rangers fought. In Malaysia, however, the concern was over something far more surprising: authorities worried that the word “Morphin’” was too close to the word “morphine”, and that it might incite children to experiment with drugs. To prevent this, they edited the word out of the show completely, bleeping the word out when the characters yelled their famous slogan, “It’s morphin’ time!”

The Yellow Ranger was originally male

The original team had two girls in it: Trini the Yellow Ranger, played by Thuy Trang, and Kimberly the Pink Ranger, played by Amy Jo Johnson. But that wasn’t always the case. In the Japanese show that Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was adapted from (Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger) the Yellow Ranger was male.

This explains why the Pink Ranger had a skirt on her Power Ranger outfit, but the Yellow Ranger didn’t – though a skirt was added when the Mighty Morphin’ Yellow Ranger appeared in Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

There was almost a Bulk & Skull spin-Off

First appearing in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Angel Grove’s hapless bullies Bulk & Skull recurred throughout the show’s run as far down the line as 2011’s Power Rangers Samurai. In fact, they almost had a spin-off show of their own.

Jason Narvy (Skull) once revealed that the characters were almost given their own series, where they would have been managing their grandmother’s hotel. Wackiness, of course, would have ensued. This is part of the reason why they were transformed into chimpanzees during Power Rangers Turbo – so that they could take time off to develop the pilot.

 

The theme song was truly inspired

20 years later anyone who watched Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers can almost certainly still hum the theme tune, so clearly it was an inspired composition. But more than that, it was literally inspired - by Inspector Gadget.

Composer Ron Wasserman explained that when pitching for the job he was asked to use the word “go” in the theme tune specifically because of the success of Inspector Gadget’s theme tune 15 years previously. He wrote it in 2 hours, and it impressed those who heard it so much that he was given the gig.

 

The “command center” is real

The exterior of the Rangers’ command center fits perfectly with the show’s alien aesthetic – so it’s strange to think that it’s an actual building rather than a model. Opened in 1973, The “House of the Book” is located on the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University, and was designed by Sidney Eisenshtat.

As well as Power Rangers, its iconic exterior has been seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, The Lawnmower Man, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Chuck, Diagnosis Murder, Star Trek: The Next Generation (as a different location to the one seen in Star Trek VI!) and much more besides.

The show’s history stretches back to 1975

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, the show that Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers took its action sequences from, was actually the sixteenth instalment in the “Super Sentai” franchise produced by Toei and Bandai. It began in 1975 with Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, a show about five secret agents who could summon ranger battlesuits by shouting “Go!” and drove a selection of colour-coded battle machines.

There was more to Ernie than it seemed

As part of the show’s original pitch, it was conceived that Ernie - the owner of the juice bar where the Rangers hung out while off-duty – would be Zordon, who had adopted a civilian identity to watch over the titular teens with attitude. Eventually this idea was dropped, but it’s still hinted that he knows the Rangers’ secret – that’s why he always gives them their orders “on the house”.

The show was almost TOO popular

While Power Rangers originally adapted material from its Japanese counterpart, Fox (who aired the show) requested so many episodes that Saban actually ran out of footage to use. To fix this, they asked Toei to produce another 25 episodes’ worth of monsters and battle sequences solely to use in Power Rangers.

These later sequences deliberately incorporated story elements from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by featuring a relationship between the Pink and Green rangers, and showing the Blue Ranger to be the “brains” of the operation.

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