Growing up, I was a huge fan of “Power Rangers,” But of course, so were most millenials. And I am not talking about latter seasons either but the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” that came on Saturday mornings on Fox. Back then, there were five Power Rangers ( later six including the Green Ranger) with impeccable yet arcane martial arts skills plus poorly costumed monsters like Lord Zed, Rita Repulsa and Goldar who often launched predictable attacks against the fab 5.
I would watch that show any chance I could get, and I am not even ashamed to say that I watched the first two movies, collected figurines and even memorized classic lines from the show. My VHS tapes are collecting dust as we speak.
What most people may not know is that show is still on TV, after all these years. Every season brings in a new batch of fresh faced rangers with different story lines, costumes and even villains. But for those who love the first season, you’re in luck!
Not only can you stream episodes on Netflix but you can also check out this interview I had with Walter Emanuel Jones, the Original Black Power Ranger from the first season.
Our 45 minute conversation uncovers a tall tale about his middle finger, unleashes secrets from the set of “Power Rangers” and lets readers know about his relationship with cast members from the first series.
What’s also important to highlight is that Jones recently snagged a voice acting role for a Disney film featuring Steve Carrell film. Just last year alone he did voice overs in 30 plus films including Planet of the Apes, Step up 2, and GI Joe 2. Aside from Jones being a highly coveted voice actor in Hollywood, he is a multifaceted man of many talents. Voice acting, World class salsa dancer and a martial arts guru, Hollywood is fortunate to have this triple threat grace their silver screens.
1.) How did you get the role as Zack Taylor, the original Black Power Ranger?
I auditioned like other people. I almost missed it because I was doing “Star Search” at the time. After 2-3 call backs, with Saban, I learned that they wanted an actor who can dance, do martial arts, and gymnastics. It just happened that I had all the right characteristics for the role.
You learn early on that in this industry the more you can do, the better.
2.) Have you always wanted to be an actor? How did you prepare for this career?
When I was a kid, I acted in kid shows. It seemed like a fantasy back then but when I received a scholarship for college, I also realize how much of a pain it was to pay for college to. I studied professional acting and realized that I liked it very much. I knew it was something that I wanted to do and it was something I should take seriously. As soon as I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, I put my all into being a serious actor.
3.) What was your favorite episode of “Power Rangers”?
It’s funny but I get this question a lot and since there’s 85 episodes, my answer changes a lot. I enjoyed several episodes but I really liked the “Food Fight” episode. When it came to the food fight, we were able to throw food at everyone. It was all captured on camera and all of the producers, actors, directors, camera crew and staff was covered head to toe in food. It all went out the window that day.
4.) Do you still keep in touch with any of your former co stars from “Power Rangers”?
We all keep in touch but everyone has their own lives. Recently I spoke to Amy Jo Johnson ( Pink Power Ranger), saw David Yost ( Blue Power Ranger) a couple of times, talk to Austin St. John ( Red Power Ranger), and text Jason Frank ( THE INFAMOUS GREEN RANGER!) once in awhile. We’re all busy but always manage to stay in touch since everyone is doing their own thing.
5.) How was this year’s Power Morphicon Convention like? Do you have any funny fan stories that you would like to share?
It was awesome! It’s a convention made specifically for Power Rangers. I always get extra love since I was part of the original cast. These are the people that really appreciate the show. I’ve been to other conventions and people don’t always expect to see me, for example, like a Star Wars Convention. I don’t know if this story is funny but it’s very touching what happened. This one guy, he was probably 24 or 25 years old, and he wasn’t standing too far from me, broke down in tears once he knew he was standing right next to me. He was in complete shock that the original Black Power Ranger was right there, right next to him. It like brought him back to his old childhood and it’s funny that I didn’t even see it happen. This one lady near my booth told me what happened.
The guy came up to me and apologized for crying since it all overwhelmed him. We took a picture and I was so happy that I was able to make a difference in his life and be a kind person.
6.) Apparently, there was a “lost” Power Rangers episode? Would you mind sharing the synopsis of that episode and why exactly was it lost?
Basically, it was the pilot. The show that sold the show to make the show. It never came out because we saw a different episode with a different Trini. Saban recruited teenagers and we had a different Trini. If you check the DVD Box set, under special features, you will find it there.The first Yellow Power Ranger was Audry Dubois.
7.) Are there any set secrets ( about stunts, episodes, production, etc) that you would like to share?
If it was a secrete then it wouldn’t be a secret if it’s shared (laughs). Well, our 20th anniversary is approaching and all sat on enough interviews and panels and gave away many secrets. Half of the footage that is seen on the show is Japanese and it comes from ” ZyuRangers”. Did you know that from the very beginning the show was going to be called ” Dino Rangers”? Not a lot of people know this but I got this nugget from an interview Amy Jo Johnson did.
8.) I heard a rumor that you lost your middle finger in an accident? Is that true or a tall tale?
That’s funny ( laughs). I am missing a middle finger on my left hand. I lost it at 4 years old because of an accident and this all happened before “Power Rangers”. As a kid, growing up without a middle finger, people were fascinated by it. Girls wanted to touch it and they would oft-times scream. I lost it at a young age and I doubt it will ever come back. Yes the rumors are true but I want to reiterate that I lost my finger before “Power Rangers” and not during or after the show.
9.) What inspired you to be a salsa instructor for some time?
Well I steal teach Salsa lessons. I’m also a world champion in Salsa dancing, and won that accolade in 2004. Go on Youtube and look up Walter Jones Salsa, you will be able to find my championship video. What got me into Salsa dancing was working on a cruise and being impressed with the dance in Puerto Rico. I met a guy in LA and we started teaming up and doing Salsa. I’ve always loved it! Actually, I am doing salsa dancing tonight and still teach classes though they are private sessions. I usually teach at Mama Juanes but it closed down so I guess I will find a new place to teach.
Tune in next time for part 2 of my interview with Walter Emanual Jones, the ORIGINAL Black Power Ranger.