With so many episodes to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down your favorites. For the original Red Ranger though, there is one that sticks out above the rest.
Mighty Morphin Red Ranger Austin St. John spoke to fans at Dallas Fan Days, where he was asked what his favorite episode of the series was. It turns out the answer is an episode that some fans have never seen.
“The unaired pilot," St. John said. "Yep, the unaired pilot. That’s where it all started for me, so that’s always been my favorite. Although Pudgy Pig was pretty good too."
That episode stands out for a few reasons. The first is that it wasn't actually released to the public until six years after the aired pilot, Day of the Dumpster. The unaired pilot features most of the same Rangers with one glaring exception, as Audri DuBois played the role of Trini. This version of the character was eager to get into battles and had no issues with becoming a Power Ranger. DuBois' version also leaned toward tomboy a bit more, as Thuy Trang would wear outfits along the same lines as Kimberly in the regular series.
Bulk and Skull were also much different. Bulk actor Paul Schrier was in the pilot, but not as Bulk. He was just an unnamed bully. Skull, on the other hand, was not even included but was created from the remnants of the lead gangster character seen in the unaired pilot. He was originally played by Bob F. Vavla, but the character needed more comedy, so Jason Narvy was brought in afterward.
As for the villains, Rita's whole gang is in attendance, but you'll notice a change in Rita's voice. Rita actress Barbara Goodson would adopt a different tone in the full series.
It's interesting that Austin St. John calls that his favorite, but he is right about it being the first official episode. Hit the next slide to see what almost brought him back to the franchise!
St. John would return to the show two more times, but there could have been a third.
He revealed that a scheduling conflict caused him to turn down a return appearance later on, though that scheduling conflict involved fighting in a war.
"They reached out to me for Mega, uh, I can't remember what it was, Megaforce Smackdown or I don't know, I think I'm mixing wrestling in there somewhere, but they reached out to me for that via email, but at the time I was in the middle east for the war, so I was over there for four years, I couldn't exactly leave what I was doing. "Hey guys, listen man I gotta step away to go film something in New Zealand. I'll be back in a week. Good luck, the band aids are over there, bullets are over there, wish you the best", so obviously I had to turn down that role," St. John told ComicBook.com
It seems like he is referring to Power Rangers Super Megaforce: Legendary Battle, which saw the return of multiple Rangers from the past showing up to help the Megaforce Rangers repel an invasion. The Mighty Morphin Rangers did show up in that episode, but Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) was the only one who was seen without his helmet on.
St. John would reprise his role of Jason Scott in Power Rangers Zeo (the Gold Ranger) and in the special anniversary episode Forever Red. That episode would appear in Power Rangers Wild Force, where he joined 9 other Red Rangers in an effort to destroy the remnants of the Machine Empire.
Hit the next slide to find out what caused him to fall back in love with Power Rangers!
While he did return a few more times, it wasn't until recently that St. John would become heavily active in the Power Rangers fan community. He started taking part in more conventions, and as he revealed at San Francisco Comic Con, it seems the fans are responsible for helping him fall back in love with the franchise.
"At that time we had, I mean we knew the show was popular, but I thought it was popular for the same reason I like Superman ya know what I mean?," St. John said. "He's Superman, Superman is super cool, awesome. I like Batman, he's a
The fans really opened his eyes to what the series meant. "Whether it was me or my castmates or all of them, it's really kind of irrelevant because it's not lost on any of us how much it means to you guys, and that, you know when I tell you guys that you helped me fall back in love with the show I'm not kidding. I don't think I enjoyed it this much when I was filming it, and it's pretty incredible to be a part of that.
Hit the next slide to hear a touching story from one of those many encounters!
St. John shared a sweet story from one of those many fan interactions, and fair warning, you're going to be a puddle.
"A grown man came to my table not too long ago, tears, I mean he's just streaming tears," St. John said. "He comes up to me and I'll give you the short version. He says 'you know when I was a little kid my dad and I use to watch the Power Rangers and you were our favorite Ranger'. I was like 'aww, thank you'. What else can I say to that, aww thank you, it humbles me every time, but I feel thank you doesn't really measure up for me."
"'He says I had a Red Ranger doll that my dad got for me and this was my thing and we loved you and I loved you because you were brave. You represented what being brave was.' And you know, I'm being affected by this grown man with tears and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop in this story, because this can't be it," St. John said.
"And he pauses and says 'so I was 4 when my dad died, and I put your Red Ranger in his casket in that church on a pillow next to him so that he could be brave like you.'"
...No, not crying over here, it's just dust. Lots and lots and lots of dust...
"I mean what do you say to that," St. John asked. "How can you not be affected by something like that, that's pretty intense."
"And I've had the great stories, I mean that's a great story but I've had the funny stories on the other side of it so, you guys have brought me back and put me in touch with something that I love and I appreciate it every day," St. John said. "It's not hard to travel the world and hear how much everybody loves your work. My job doesn't suck."