POWER RANGERS Q&A with JASON DAVID FRANK, WALTER JONES, KARAN ASHLEY, & ROBERT AXELROD (PART 2)
Hey there everyone, and welcome back t o PART 2 of our awesome Q&A with the cool cast members of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! If you want to go back to look at PART 1, or missed it for some reason, be sure to click HERE to check it out! Here we go everyone! Hope you enjoy PART 2 –
Q: I’ve heard from a lot of fans, that watching Power Rangers is what inspired them to study martial arts, seeing people use martial arts to defend themselves and loved ones. What was it that inspired you to study martial arts?
J: I know a lot of people might assume that watching movies and TV, so someone like Bruce Lee, but the truth is I never watched a lot of movies and TV shows, and I still don’t. I dunno, I’d rather spend time on Facebook than be productive I guess. I was actually walking by a Karate school, when I was four, and I saw this older lady doing Karate and I thought that was really impressive. And I was really into that, not the older lady but the skill and ability, the lady was a little too old for me (the crowd chuckles). And that’s what got me into it. And one of my instructors was Chris Cassamassa who played Scorpion in the Mortal Kombat movie. And I just looked up to my instructors and they kept me motivated. They were the celebrities that inspired me essentially.
Q: This Question is for Karan. What did you think of the “monsters-of-the-week” in general? And did you have a favorite?
K: Oh man, I loved the monsters. I loved the Putties! I think my favorite thing about them was the sheer variety and creativity that they could just seemingly make a monster out of anything, any item or any notion, and come up with a story for it to work. I think my favorite was the Hate Master. Because it was the one I was immune to, because of the love imbued into the necklace my grandmother gave me as a present.
Q: Robert, as the voice of Lord Zedd and Finster, which creature or creation would you say is your favorite?
R: Ooh, I would have to say Serpentera! I actually have a model of Serpentera that’s about a foot tall at home on my dresser (the crowd oohs and ahhs) . Also, I really like Grumble the Elf, one of several monsters I also did the voice for.
Q: What about you Walter?
W: I’d say the original big bad. Rita. I also liked the Putties. I think if I had to pick from the monsters, I’d say Soccadillo and Pudgy Pig.
Q: Since Robert mentioned Serpentera, did any of you have a favorite Zord?
W: Well… Mastodon (crowd laughs). But seriously, in the second season when they changed my Zord to the Lion I was like “But I liked the Mastodon!” But I loved Tyrannosaurus too.
K: I love the Bear that I had, because I love the part in the movie where I use it to kick Ivan Ooze in the crown jewels! It’s my favorite part of the movie. BUT, I gotta love Saber-tooth Tiger.
Q: For many children, Power Rangers was THE show. The ONLY show for them. You know what I mean, that one show you just got hooked on. Did any of you have something like that growing up?
W: Well for me, yeah. That would be Gilligan’s Island. That show was on forever, even after it ended, just re-run after re-run. And it’s interesting, because that cast of characters faced the same challenges our cast did.
K: When I was a kid actually, I was big into wrestling. I loved to watch wrestling. And when I played, I played wrestling. So, I guess I was destined to play a fighter. Because when I was a kid, my friends and I, whenever we found out someone was bullying other kids, we’d wrestle with them and beat them.
W: I was really into wrestling too! Growing up, I actually learned Martial Arts and wrestling techniques. And I would also teach the other kids in my neighborhood. So, it got to the point where I’d be walking home from school and kids would just run at me and jump on me and I’d have to take ‘em down. Here comes one, then the next one and the next one (as he makes body slamming motions and noises into the mic) (The audience laughing it up). And I would teach them, and say “next time try this, or next time do this or that” and show them things.
R: I grew up on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone (big round of applause from the audience). They gave me chills, and I liked those kinds of shows. Also, The Beverly Hillbillies was good as was Andy Griffith. So, I guess I liked mainly either comedy or creepy.
Q: What was it like learning about stage-fighting?
W: Well, some of us were martial artists, but didn’t know any gymnastics or tumbling. But David Yost (Billy) and Amy Jo Johnson were gymnasts the didn’t know how to fight. And this show combined a lot of gymnastics with martial arts. So, we had to work together and learn. And we were always pushing ourselves to get better, and you can see it on the show. Like there would be times were Jason (Jason Geiger is Austin St. John’s (Jason the Red Ranger) real name) would do a back flip and land on his head or Amy and David would have to do re-takes of their punches and kicks because they didn’t look right.
K: I grew up learning dance. And the choreography, even though fighting, was the same as learning the steps of a dance routine for me. You know, it was “punch, punch, kick, stop while they move the cameras”. So, for me it was making sure it looked believable; I wanted as a non-martial artist to look like I knew what I was doing. And often they would partner us with the same stuntmen so they would help teach me as I went on. They actually taught me to do a flip. I also liked working on the movie because we had way more prep time to learn the moves. We had weeks as opposed to 15 minutes.
Q: This next question is for Walter, specifically. … Do you ever age? (Huge laughs from the crowd)
W: … Um… No. (More huge laughs) You may not know this, but Zack don’t crack (more laughs). Hey, alright, I’ll put that on some T-shirts.
Q: One of the major controversies covered in the media about the show was the level of violence and the possible effects of children imitating what they saw. How did you react to this and what were your views on the situation?
W: I don’t think it was all violence. I think it was a lot of kids admiring the characters and their actions, the abilities, the athleticism; you know the jumping and flipping, which was also an issue. So, we had to dumb it down. No more hits to the face. And when I would encounter parents who would come up to me and tell me that they don’t let their kids watch because it’s too violent, I would tell them to put their kids into martial arts classes. Because when you study it, you learn self-control, discipline, and it helps you to understand the difference from the show (a big round of applause from the crowd).
K: Well one thing I noticed as the show went on, was we wanted to make it more clear that we were fighting monsters. We were never fighting other teenagers. And it even got to the point where we weren’t even fighting out of costume anymore. Just to make it more clear to viewers, which was disappointing for me and the rest of us, because we loved those fights and learning all those things I didn’t know how to do.
R: Another element of it was the action on the side of the monsters. The violence was toned down to mere mischief. I remember parents calling and writing in, saying that Lord Zedd was giving their kids nightmares. So, that was a byproduct of the violence being taken too seriously too I think. Lord Zedd had to be dumbed down. Making his schemes and actions more comedic than dire.
Q: What was it like to work with Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy respectively)?
W: In the original concept, they were much meaner characters. More like real bullies. And Jason Narvy wasn’t cast as skull. But then we changed all that. And the two of them have such perfect comedic chemistry and timing, and they work so well off of each other. They were so professional and so funny!
K: Modern day Laurel and Hardy. They weren’t just the comic relief. A lot of people don’t know that they two of them are classically trained actors. So, when I was brought on the show with Johnny Yong Bosch (Adam) and Steve Cardenas (Rocky) Paulie and Jason were our acting coaches. Like we call him Dr. Narvy, because he has a Doctorate in Theater and teaches acting in Chicago.
Q: You mentioned having ADD earlier; and having ADHD, my parents enrolled me in Karate when I was five, and it helped me so much. What do you think it is about martial arts that helps?
J: It’s the best thing for it. It’s probably why I’m so hooked on it. I really do think martial arts is the best thing. I’ve worked with so many kids’ parents who say things like I don’t think you’ll be able to work with my kid because he or she has this condition or what have you. I work with tons of kids, over a thousand students, and I’ll work with anybody and everybody, to teach martial arts, even if you’re in a wheelchair. Martial arts helps people and it builds confidence, and I try to make sure that anyone and everyone can do it.
I just want to finish by saying thank you to all you guys, all the fans, without you the show and I would be nothing. Thank you guys!
Well, there you have it folks! That concludes our look at a fun afternoon of questions from fans and stories from beloved cast members! Hope you all enjoyed checking it out!