The Power Rangers first graced American television screens in August of 1993 and it has been a mainstay ever since. While the franchise is continually releasing new seasons of the show with new characters, new weapons, and new Zords, the original series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has retained its popularity. With the popularity of nostalgia properties at an all-time high, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that a Power Rangers reboot film is set for release next year.
Sure, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series was cheesy, but that was the best part of it. The colored spandex, the awesome Zords, and every ’90s kid’s favorite talking, floating head, Zordon. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had it all, including a few things you may not have realized or even thought about before.
With the Power Rangers reboot drawing heavily from the MMPR series, now is the perfect time for a short trip down memory lane. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
15. Mighty Morphin’ Spider-Man
It may sound crazy, but the Power Rangers series owes a lot of its identity to the Japanese Spider-Man series created by the Toei Company. Most fans are aware of the connections between the American Power Rangers show and the Japanese Super Sentai show, but the majority aren’t aware of its connections to Marvel’s resident web slinger.
Super Sentai actually predates the Spider-Man series by three years, but those first few seasons aren’t quite what fans may be familiar with. Megazords, Putty Patrollers, and all those amazingly awful post-fight poses – all of these concepts found their origins on Toei’s Spider-Man and were eventually brought over to Super Sentai.
These may not sound like things you commonly associate with your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but the Japanese series was a pretty unique interpretation of the Wall Crawler. Still, without this crazy Japanese Marvel superhero show, Power Rangers as we know it would never have existed.
14. Haim Saban Spent 7 Years Trying to Sell Power Rangers
As popular as the Power Rangers series has been for over 20 years, it’s hard to believe that the show almost never made it to network. After stumbling upon the show during a trip to Japan, executive producer and Power Rangers creator, Haim Saban shopped the concept around for seven years before finding a network interested enough to buy it.
The idea of teenagers in spandex suits fighting monsters in robotic dinosaurs did sound ridiculous, and to producers in the late ’80s and early ’90s it was too crazy to put on TV. All seemed lost for Saban’s idea of an American Super Sentai adaptation, until Margaret Loesch, president of Fox Children’s Network met with the eager producer.
Loesch was extremely interested in Saban’s ideas about the show and felt that it’s popularity in Japan wasn’t a fluke. Understanding the possibility of a cultural phenomenon was at her hands, Loesch moved quickly to get the show onto the Fox Kid’s afternoon lineup.
13. Dino Rangers, Droids, and Zoltar
Like any other television series, there were a lot of changes to Power Rangers before it finally debuted on the network. An unaired pilot of the series featured a number of differences from the one that finally debuted. A few of the most notable changes were in regards to the names of a few aspects of the show, and even the show’s name itself.
In the original unaired pilot, the series was named Dino Rangers, not surprising given the nature of the giant robots that our favorite teenagers with attitude relied on. These giant robots were also going to be called Droids, but ended up being changed to Zords to be better connected with the Rangers’ mentor, Zordon. Speaking of Zordon, that wise floating head may have always had all the right things to say to Jason and the gang, but he almost went by the name of Zoltar instead.
12. The Original Pilot Episode Had a Different Yellow Ranger
The above changes between the original pilot and the finished product were mostly minor name changes that didn’t have a massive effect on the story or the show itself. Arguably the biggest change between the unaired “Dino Rangers” pilot and the Power Rangers versions of “Day of the Dumpster,” was in regards to the actress that played Trini.
Fans of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are definitely familiar with actress Thuy Trang as the show’s first Yellow Ranger. What they may not be aware of is that this casting almost didn’t happen. In fact, it was actress Audri Dubois who sported the yellow spandex for that one, unaired episode.
Dubois was an experienced martial artist, much like co-stars Austin St. John and Walter Emanuel Jones who played Jason and Zack respectively. All seemed good to go after the pilot was filmed, but according to an interview Jones did with Fusion, Dubois was asking for too much money and was eventually replaced by the producers. She’s later said that she regrets the decision to pass on the show and we don’t blame her.
11. The Super Sentai Equivalent Yellow Ranger Was Male
It’s common knowledge these days that the majority of the morphed action sequences featured on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were created by editing and recycling old footage from the Japanese show, Super Sentai. What isn’t more commonly known is that by using this footage, they effectively turned the Yellow Ranger from male to female.
The first season of Power Rangers relied heavily on footage from the 16th season of Super Sentai, commonly referred to as Zyuranger. This series only featured a single female member of the super powered team, the Pink Ranger, signaled by the her costume featuring a pink skirt worn over the pants. This skirt was noticeably absent from the Yellow Ranger’s design.
While traditionally female in Power Rangers, the Yellow Ranger in Super Sentai has often been found to be male or female. Later seasons of Power Rangers would feature a wider variety in terms of colors worn by different genders, but the fact that fans were watching a male actor in costume whenever they saw the Yellow Mighty Morphin Ranger may still shock some.
10. David Fielding Was Only Recorded Once For Zordon
When actor David Fielding won the role of Zordon, he probably didn’t realize how much voice work was involved and how little he would physically be filmed. While Fielding continued to provide the wise, sage voice of the Power Ranger’s mentor for many years, he was only filmed a single time.
Fielding’s appearance is used as the character model for Zordon, but the producers of Power Rangers only filmed him a single time at the beginning of the show. The reason cited for this decision came down to budgetary reasons, but it seemed to work for a show that already utilized footage from another show for the majority of its action sequences.
They put Fielding in makeup, threw him in front of a green screen, and filmed him performing a few different expressions before calling it a day. Keen eyed viewers may already be aware of this, as much of Zordon’s dialogue appears to be out-of-sync with his facial expressions and the rest of his actions.
9. Richard Steven Horvitz Is the Only Actor In All 155 Episodes
The Power Rangers series is known for its constant rotation of cast members in the lead roles. With so much turnover, actor Richard Steven Horvitz was the only character to appear in all 145 episodes of the Mighty Morphin series and the 10 episode mini-series, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
Horvitz is well known for his voice work across various properties that include shows like Ben 10 and Invader Zim, but his role as Alpha 5 is perhaps his best known. Alpha 5 was Zordon’s clumsy, but loyal assistant who acted as the physical being the Rangers could connect with. His signature catchphrase of, “Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!” was well known in popular culture and remains one of the best known lines of the entire series.
Horvitz only provided the voice work for Alpha 5 as a variety of different actors would eventually wear the suit for the loveable robot. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series without Horvitz’s distinct voice.
8. Hip Hop Kido
Many of the actors on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were tasked with choreographing their own fight scenes. This wasn’t too difficult for most, as David Yost and Amy Jo Johnson, who played Billy and Kimberly on the show, had backgrounds in gymnastics and the majority of the other actors were cast for their experience and background in martial arts. Actor Walter Emanuel Jones, however, was given a particularly unique task for his character’s fight choreography.
Jones played Zack Taylor, the original Black Ranger on the show but was told by executive producer, Haim Saban, to create a unique fighting style for the character that involved dancing. The result was a unique combination of rhythmic martial arts, similar to Brazilian Capoeira, that they affectionately called, “Hip Hop Kido.” Zack is often seen utilizing this patented fighting style whenever unmorphed and is even seen teaching a youth class in a park in the show’s 23rd episode, “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
7. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Karate Club
At the height of its popularity, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers license could be found on nearly everything. Aside from the trading cards, lunch boxes, and Pogs (look it up, kids), the Rangers also found their way into living rooms as home video karate instructors.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Karate Club consisted of a pair of direct-to-VHS tapes (again, look it up, kids) that featured actor, Jason David Frank out-of-character, teaching youth karate lessons. Frank was already an accomplished martial artist before his Ranger days and makes for a legitimate sensei. The MMPR Karate Club only consisted of two videos, Karate Club Level 1 and Karate Club: The White Ranger Kata, but can still be found by the most eager fans.
The video is all kinds of ’90s cheesy, but isn’t that the best part of anything Mighty Morphin Power Rangers related? In all seriousness, the MMPR Karate Club videos aren’t a bad introduction to the philosophies behind martial arts for young children and even teaches you a special Power Ranger Kata at the end of the videos.
6. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers World Tour Live On Stage
Continuing the theme of oddities of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers properties, we have perhaps the one thing that highlights how popular the show truly was at its peak, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers World Tour Live on Stage. That’s right, our favorite team of spandex-clad superheroes took to the road to perform live, on stage.
The live show was considered to be a non-canon story of how the Power Rangers defeated the evil Lord Zedd once again. The show consisted of video footage of the television actors played on a large screen as well as pre-recorded audio, while a group of stage actors performed in front of a live audience. A performance of the live show was recorded and later released on VHS.
The show itself is an odd combination of music, comedy, stunts, and all the cheesiness from the show, there’s even an odd transitional sequence that features a group of Zedd’s Putty Patrol dancing and entertaining the audience. Odd as it may have been, it stands as a true testament to the show’s popularity that it was able to support such a large-scale tour.
5. Each Dinozord Had Rarely Seen Individual Weapons & Abilities
Everyone remembers the Megazord, the giant mech that consisted of each of the Ranger’s own personal Zords put together to form a powerful, humanoid robot. Most people even remember the original five Dinozords that made up the Megazord, but what most people don’t remember is how each Dinozord had its own individual quirks and nuances.
- The Mastodon Dinozord, piloted by the Black Ranger, could disorient foes with a field of mist and even freeze them with icy air emitted from its trunk.
- The Pink Ranger’s Pterodactyl Dinozord could obviously fly, but also sported a pair of twin lasers that resembled beams of lightning.
- The Blue Triceratops Dinozord would roll out of the desert and featured a twin laser cannon mounted on its tail and and a pair of chain cables that could be fired from the horns.
- The Yellow Ranger’s Saber-Toothed Tiger Dinozord moved quickly on land, had a laser cannon on its tail similar to the Triceratops, and could bite and crush foes with its fangs.
- The menacing Tyrannosaurus was the one Dinozord of the original five seen to fight individually most often, doing so with its claws, powerful tail, and echoing roars that were capable of creating seismic blasts.
4. Titanus & Tor Were The Only Zords Never Directly Piloted
Titanus and Tor the Shuttlezord were powerful Carrier Zords that were called upon by the Power Rangers in times of great peril. These powerful Zords were some of the strongest and most durable in the Ranger’s arsenal, with Tor even strong enough to withstand being crushed by Serpentera.
Since these Zords were more rarely used than the Rangers’ personal ones, fans of the show didn’t see as much of them. In fact, these two are the only Zords in the show’s three season run that didn’t display an internal cockpit. Each of the Dinozords was shown to be manually piloted by their respective Rangers regularly and even Tommy’s Dragonzord, which was most often controlled by his Dragon Dagger Flute, had a rarely-shown cockpit.
Titanus and Tor would be called in by the Rangers at the end of a dire battle and, as Carrier Zord, act simply as additional fire-power for the Megazord or Thunder Megazord. Was Zordon driving those things or did they have a mind of their own?
3. Dragonzord Should Never Have Been In Season 2
The Dragonzord was the Green Ranger’s personal Zord and one of the most popular seen in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This MechaGodzilla clone would rise from the sea, shoot rockets from its fingers and proved to be so popular in fact that the producers of the show kept it around much longer than they originally anticipated.
With Tommy proving to be a breakout character for the show, the producers opted to keep him around for the show’s second season which was based on the Super Sentai Dairanger series. The problem with this decision was the Green Zyuranger and his Dragonzord did not appear at all in the Dairanger series, which made up the majority of the second season’s action sequences.
To compensate for this problem, the producers of the show would splice together footage of the Dragonzord with the Thunder Megazord and Lord Zedd’s monsters. With careful editing, the producers were able to create the illusion that the Dragonzord was fighting alongside and against beings that it never appeared on-screen with originally.
2. The Lion Thunderzord Was Originally A Green Ranger Zord
Speaking of the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Dragonzord wasn’t the only Zord that was different from it’s Dairanger counterpart. The Ranger’s second set of Zords, the Thunderzords, were created from their previous Dinozords, and thus, retained the color association of their predecessors. This was true of all but one Zord, the Mastodon Lion Thunderzord.
Another issue the producers encountered when they made the switch to utilizing Dairanger footage instead of Zyuranger footage was the change of Ranger colors. The main team consisted of all the same colors as the previous generation save for one, the Black Ranger. In the Black Ranger’s place stood the Green Dairanger, and his Green Mythical Chi Beast, Star-Jishi.
Fans may have noticed that the “Black” Mastodon Lion Thunderzord wore a lot of green and it was hardly an accident. Somehow, the producers lucked out in the sense that there was at least some black on this Zord model, enough at least that they could pass it off as the Black Ranger’s Zord for a year.
1. Power Rangers In Space Was Supposed To Be The Last
“All good things must come to an end” is a sentiment shared by many, but not Power Rangers. Since its premiere in the summer of 1993, the show has remained a successful series and an institution of American children’s television. Knowing all this, it may shock some to learn that the show almost ended after just six seasons.
Power Rangers in Space isn’t exactly Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so this may seem out of place to some, but in many ways, Space was the end of an era. In a season considered by many to be the single best of the entire series, fans saw the ending to a six year story that involved many long-time fan favorites such as Zordon, Rita, and Lord Zedd.
PRIS represented the end to the Power Rangers formula of carrying over characters from one season to the next and was actually planned to be the series end. With ratings still soaring, however, the production team decided to go ahead and green light another season, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do you know something cool about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!