The 1994 Power Rangers Fan Club Kit Is A Treasure Trove Of ’90s Delights
One of the nice things about having my job is that occasionally, someone I don't know will be cleaning out a garage or whatever, find something weird, and immediately decide that they should mail it to me because they think it's something I'd want to see. It doesn't happen a lot, but it's often enough that at this point, it's stopped being weird. Mostly.
Point being, that's exactly what happened when reader Jeff found his wife's membership kit for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Official Fan Club from 1994 and offered to send it over. This is not an offer I turn down, especially with the 20th anniversary of MMPR coming up next week, so join me as we explore the garden of delights that is the Power Rangers Fan Club Kit.
Jeff was kind enough to pack the box with plenty of padding (and a set of trading cards complete with trivia questions about the Rangers and stuff like who invented radio), but even so, I was surprised at how well this thing held up after almost 20 years. It makes sense, though, since Jeff claims that it's only been opened around twice in that entire time, but still, it's pretty crisp, as you can see in this photograph with 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand for XBox 360 included for scale:
When I popped the box open, I was greeted with a letter welcoming me to my new role as a Junior Power Ranger and advising me that this was a role that required self-esteem and confidence:
Fortunately, these are both things that I have in abundance, despite the fact that I just opened up a MIghty Morphin Power Rangers fan club kit at the age of 31.
The letter, signed by "The Power Rangers," also devotes half of its space to plugging VR Troopers, Saban's first (and bat-s**t craziest) attempt to capitalize on the success of Power Rangers. Like Power Rangers, it used footage from Japanese sentai shows for the action, but it used the footage of two different series at the same time, meaning that members of the team could never actually appear together or interact with each other. It's also worth noting that it was attempting to capitalize on the hip, new craze for virtual reality by using footage from a show that had been shot in 1985. It ran for ninety-two episodes. I don't think I've ever seen it (my preferred MMPR knockoff was USA's Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills) , but since it's on Netflix, I pretty much have to at this point.
Underneath the letter, there's all the actual fan club stuff. Obviously, the biggest draw here is the Official Fan Club Video, a half-hour VHS tape. Surprisingly, the whole thing hasn't been uploaded to YouTube, but here's a quick highlight reel:
Fortunately, my all-consuming nostalgia means that I'm one of six people in America who still owns a working VCR, so I was able to watch the whole thing. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but the end result is this bizarre little Q&A with the Power Rangers, who are in 100% character the entire time. It doesn't seem scripted, but they're answering questions as the Rangers rather than as the actors who play the rangers, talking about how scary it was to fight a particular monster or how confused they were when Zordon summoned them to the Command Center on the grounds that they had "attitude." It's even weirder because they use behind-the-scenes footage a few times for filler, but they hand down the basic requirements for Junior Rangers. It's pretty much "be nice to people and stay off drugs." I can only do one or the other, guys. You're asking a little too much here.
After the video, there's an insulated lunch bag, the height of '90s sandwich storage technology:
When I saw the lunch bag, I had the distinct feeling that I actually had this when I was a kid. Not this one, I mean -- I was never really bullied when I was in school, but I imagine rolling up into sixth grade with a hot pink Power Rangers lunch bag would've changed that toute de suite -- but one of them. I may not have had it since I don't remember anything else, but to be fair, I was a child who dearly loved lunch.
Next up, a pair of Official Junior Power Ranger shoelaces:
Sadly (and, you know, completely understandably), these are sized for kids' shoes, so I don't think they'll fit in my shoes. Believe me, I'd use them if they would, but alas. Hopefully CA editor Caleb Goellner has tiny, childlike feet that can make use of them.
[Editor's Note: ...I'm a size 12 :( ]
I dropped out of college because back then, there was no real way to get class credit for "knowing a lot about Batman," so imagine my delight when I moved that stuff aside to find a stack of glossy photos of the cast and my Official Certification as a Junior Power Ranger! Finally, something to fill that frame my mom got twelve years ago and show up those snobs at the next family Christmas dinner:
See that, suckers? Those are high-quality reproductions of the signatures of all six original Rangers. And it's embossed. Foil embossed.
The thing is, you can't really carry a framed membership certificate around with you wherever you go, but the good people at the PRFC thought of that, too. In addition to the certificate, you also get a wallet-sized Official Identification Card:
I am definitely planning to carry this around to impress people. Not in an arrogant way or anything, just, you know, I open up my wallet to pay for a cup of coffee and maybe it falls out and catches that cute barista's eye. "Oh, ha ha, sorry. Yeah, I don't like to brag about it or anything, but yes, I am an official Junior Power Ranger. Why yes, I am free this evening... for love."
It's not just a flashy piece of paper, though. It's also a useful reminder of how to stay off drugs, which was apparently the biggest problem for a bunch of teenagers who spent all their time trying to keep a moon witch from literally destroying a city with giant monsters. The reverse has some handy ways that you can D.A.R.E. to resist drugs and alcohol, pictured here with Mr. Cent:
There are a few other things in here that you'd get for your $17.95 like a poster, temporary tattoos, stickers, iron-on transfers that are definitely going onto the next hoodie I buy, but like most fan clubs, the main idea here is to get you to spend more money. As such, the kit includes five Power Rangers Dollars that you can put towards ordering more stuff, and a catalog. I'll admit that I was a little disappointed in the catalog at first -- it's mostly just replacement stuff for what's in the kit, for the extremely unlikely event that a ten year-old loses a pair of shoelaces -- but then I flipped it over and saw something amazing.
For only $9.95, children of 1994 could employ the downright magical new technology of image manipulation to get their own Morphin Portrait. This, of course, was just pasting your face on the body of your favorite Power Ranger, and this is the image they chose to sell the idea:
Please, please tell me that this is still an option. It's not that I want one for myself, but that I want to take the ad's advice and surprise friends and relatives with their own Morphin Portrait. Specifically, that Morphin Portrait. I want to give it to everyone I know.
If there is nothing else that we have learned from the Power Rangers Fan Club Membership Kit, it should be that there are very few things in this world as fantastic as a baby with a hi-top fade.