The 'Is Lord Zedd Jewish?' Debate And Other Things You Might Not Know About 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'

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Mar 7, 2015, 1:15:12 PM3/7/15

By Bennett Hawkins • 03.06.15

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.

9. The Rangers were all about a little after-work club action. As grueling as the shooting schedule was — filming usually spanned an entire week — the Rangers would often unwind by going out to dance clubs. David Yost revealed that, among the group, Walter Jones was by far the best dancer.

“The first season we’d go out to bars after work on Fridays. Or we’d get dinner on Saturday nights and hang out at whatever the popular dance club was. Walter, hands down, is the best dancer, because he was a professional dancer. Karan could dance, too. I’d probably come in third out of everybody as best dancer.”

10. Malaysia was worried that the show might lead to child morphine addiction. Authorities in Malaysia were concerned about the use of the word “morphin” and thought that it might lead to an outbreak of kids getting hooked on morphine. To prevent this epidemic that realistically had zero chance of ever happening, the show had all references of “morphin” removed from its episodes and toy branding.

11. A former Power Ranger stuntman used his skills for robbing homes. Not all of the Power Rangers are honoring the Ranger name, particularly stuntman Yasutomo Ihara, who was busted in 2014 for robbing homes in Japan and used his Ranger skills to shimmy up poles and walls. Authorities dubbed him “Spider-Man” upon his capture.

12. Marilyn Manson used the Power Rangers’ command center in a music video. The Power Rangers had a pretty cool command center, and it caught the eye of director Paul Hunter, who used it in Manson’s 1998 video for “The Dope Show.” When not being used as a command center for the Rangers, the building is part of the Brandeis-Bardin Campus in Simi Valley, Calif. and has been featured in everything from The Twilight Zone to Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
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