Take a collection of robots, add some strange monsters to the mix and throw in a healthy helping of Kung Fu, and you have the attention of just about every red-blooded kid in existence. Just such a recipe of entertainment was offered up in the mega hit series of the 90s, a surreal offering known as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And like any respectable robot show, the onslaught of toys would follow close behind, making the Power Rangers an overwhelming success of the decade.
The television show followed the adventures of a group of five teens chosen to protect earth from an evil sorceress named Rita Repulsa. To aid them in their mission, an ancient wise man equipped the teens with a high tech wardrobe of suits and face masks which imparted upon them a whole plethora of special powers and abilities. These Mighty Morphin Power Rangers also had the help of Zords, a series of battle vehicles that when combined, constructed a Megazord, a feat that hinted of the Voltron success of the previous decade.
Rather than fight robots, this time there were a collection of sinister humanoid creatures, bearing a resemblance to pigs, spiders – basically a whole freak show of adversaries. But, the Zords and even the daunting Megazord weren’t enough to battle these space aliens. No, this was a job for kung-fu acrobatics (not to mention a bunch of impressive visual effects to enhance their fighting skills.) It was these hand-to-hand battles that kept kids eyes glued to the TV set – and test their own kung fu powers out on unsuspecting siblings.
And as to be expected, toy manufacturer, Bandai, was waiting in the wings with a full line of toys to accompany the successful show. First were the 8” figures, representing each of the Rangers and four of the Aliens. Each fully-pose-able, these were well constructed plastic representations. But something was missing – kung fu action, of course! And so, a line of Karate Action Rangers were introduced that had the abilty to bust a few kung fu moves of their own. Then there was the line of 5.5” inch figures, each with their own weapons and, of course, a supply of head-flipping morphing action. These heroic plastic forces could face off against twelve unique villains, ensuring a brawl to end all brawls.
Of course, why rely solely on these little plastic guys when you can have a whole arsenal of life-sized weapons at your disposal (much to the dismay of that sibling who was already growing tired of being endlessly pummeled by your kung fu prowess). Now, with the help of the electronically enhanced Dragon Dagger and Power Sword Gun, all those glorious battles could be re-enacted on the home front, a move that parents must have particularly loved.
And with the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers came a whole new line of toys, including all-new Zords such as the Thunderzord Assault team, consisting of four zords that, when combined created a chariot and the Red Dragon Thunderzoid which transformed, you guessed it, into a dragon. New 4” Power Ranger figures came atop Thunder bikes, and a new collection of high tech weapons were introduced including the plastic ball firing, Power Blaster and Saba, an electronic sword. New 8” figures for the White Ranger and and a few aliens were also introduced.
Think the list of toys is coming to an end? Not even close. Coinciding with the beginning of the third season, came the first big-screen Power Rangers movie and a whole new onslaught of toys. Micro-playsets, miniature PVC figures and a whole line of both 5.5 and 8” toys hit store shelves. Some of the 8” figures even had the ability to talk. And let’s not forget the Zords. New sets of miniature Zords combined to create either an impressive Deluxe Ninja or Shogun Megazord.
After the third season, the adventures of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers finally came to a close, but that certainly wasn’t the end of the Power Ranger Dynasty. Now it was time for the offshoots. Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Turbo followed closely behind, each with their own army of toys.
All in all, enough toys were produced as a result of this enormously popular series to fill a decent sized toy store to the brim. Of course, the originals are most highly sought and remain at the top of the list for the dedicated collector. And, if somewhere down the road, another Power Ranger series hits the airwaves, more toys are sure to follow close behind. If ever there were a question of the power of television shows to sell toys, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers proved that the possibilities were virtually endless.
If you grew up watching this popular show, or had your own plethora of Power Ranger toys to play with, we welcome all of your memories in our comments section.