At the Pre-party for Wizard World Austin Comic Con this weekend, I was able to sit down with Jason David Frank at Spider House Cafe to have a little chat. For those of you who don’t know who JDF is, he was one of the original Power Rangers when the show first debuted back in the early 90’s and was pretty one one of my go-to shows as a kid.
How are you doing?
JDF: Good, man. How are you?
Great. I grew up watching your show. I’m sure you hearing that all the time. When the show first debuted in 1993, I was about 5 years old. All the boys my age wanted to be the Green or the White Ranger and the girls wanted to be the pink.
JDF: Hashtag so old.
Haha. I have a two year old and it’s pretty awesome now seeing a lot of the original characters resurface with merchandise and the popularity for the original series is growing still to this day. I enjoy the fact that this is one more thing I can show my son that I grew up watching as a kid. Just the other day, I took him to the store and saw a toy of the original Megazord in the toys isle at Target.
JDF: There’s a lot of collectible toys now, they are made a lot better than the original ones.
How do you feel about the Green Ranger and the White Ranger still being pretty relevant. When folks hear Power Rangers usually their initial thought is the Green or White Ranger.
JDF: It’s been good. It’s a good feeling. I’m out in the public all the time interacting with fans.
For some reason they always market the Green Ranger or the White Ranger towards exclusive products. I always call the Green Ranger the Rolex of toys because only two of them came in a box compared to the other toys. Kind of like I remember looking for Storm Shadow, I remember going through all the boxes, all the toys trying to find that one. That’s how they have been branding it and fans seem to love it so it’s good.
There are good amount of conventions I’ve attend throughout the years. There are times when we get to meet some of our heroes or childhood heroes. Sometimes when you meet them, the experience can exceed your expectations and they can be really awesome guys. Or there are also those few that, just want to say hi and bye, and you can kind of tell they don’t care at all to be there at all. I won’t name any names. Now I am speaking on personal experiences, but I’ve seen you at a handful of these conventions and one thing I wanted to point out was that it’s the same few people who are always 100% about the fans, taking the time to chat, or take a photo and so on. Two that come to mind are you and and Michael Rooker.
JDF: I was just about to say Michael Rooker. Yeah, you know what, another I have to mention is Charles Martinet, he does the voice of Mario. He is usually at these things with me and will have an entire conversation with you in the Mario voice if you want. He walks around shouting “Wahoo” in Mario’s voice and still wears his character on his shirt everywhere. That is a guy who loves what he does.
I think the biggest thing for me is I don’t do this for the job, I couldn’t care less. I want to be able to give free stuff out when I want or do whatever I want to do. I don’t want to be controlled and sitting at the booth. That’s why some of these guys sit at the booth all day long, it’s because they are on a certain fee and they got to make their money but I don’t want any part of that. I want to come out and have fun with the fans and don’t want to feel like it’s my job. It’s important to be be invested in your fans.
Michael Rooker is the same. He is probably the only one I can go to every time and not feel like I’m cashing in favors. He will go up to my little girls or friends and even though he has taken like 5 or 6 photos, he will say lets take another and I didn’t ask him. He always goes out of his way and the word gets out on who cares and who is invested. For me, I’ve been doing this before a lot of people. Johnny Bosch was the only one doing these anime conventions. I’ve done these for one reason, for fun. Now you can see everyone coming out of the wood works and seeing that now it’s a cash thing. The point is, when Lionsgate releases the big movie and all this stuff then everyone starts stepping up and I don’t have respect for that. I was digging the trenches for other people to come on board. “Oh, let’s just book this ranger or that ranger.” I shouldn’t say anything bad about it and I understand some folks may need a job, but this is not my job. I won’t charge you $50 for a shout out. I feel like If I can change people’s lives through Power Rangers, I feel like I’ve done what I’m here to do.
One of the things I wanted to talk to you about was your thoughts on the Rated-R Power Rangers fan film that came out earlier in the year. I heard your thoughts on it, how the brand still ties in with the kids. Personally, I thought the film was awesome.
JDF: Yeah, I know.
At the same time, I totally get where you were coming from in regards to catering to the kids.
JDF: We want to be greedy like that, we want to see stuff like that and grow up with the stuff we had as kids. I try to keep it clean though. Rated-PG. We have kids coming up all the time through martial arts and stuff like that. I want to make sure, even with the new movie that it’s still about the kids.
Speaking of the new movie…
JDF: If I fit in the movie great, If I don’t, whatever. It’s top secret. For some reason, I saw the new Red Rangers last name is Oliver, so look at that.
That’s right. I just saw the recent rumor which had the full names of the Rangers. What did you think about that.
JDF: It’s cool man, It opens opportunities for me. They know how involved I want to be. I’ll do it, count me in. I’m in talks with them all the time and they know my fan base. Even if I’m not in the movie or it has some sort of Oliver blood then cool. I’ve been there from day one, and a lot of people ask if you have been stereotyped or regret any of it. How can I regret that man? I’m a superhero. In this room alone, I look over and I see Lou [Ferrigno] and Charles [Martinet] that’s Hulk and Mario.
How did you get with Bat In The Sun?
JDF: Simple man. Like I mentioned helping people out, man. Guy called me and he said he was doing the White Ranger vs Scorpion battle. I had no clue who he was but I told the guy “I’ll help you out.” I had a link to his videos, but I didn’t need to go through it before saying yeah I’ll do it. I didn’t need to. I said you have my word. I eventually breezed through it, I turned on Wolverine Vs. Predator, even my wife looked at it and was like “whoa”. This guy does some really good work. Then on top of that, he came to my house to talk about doing a Green Rangers series with Saban but Lionsgate blocked that. I have also a ton of stuff I wanted to do with My Morphin’ Life. Now we are on season three with ConTV now, and when I sold my reality show I said “Look man, no matter what Aaron, you are my partner. 50/50.”
Are you still going to continue the Versus series? Also, anyone in mind that you would like to fight next?
JDF: I wanted to fight Darth Maul but they are doing Darth Maul vs Spider-Man. I wanted to do that one because Ray is a friend of mine. We’ll keep it going though.