I think I had a lot of fun today. After that, I went and got an autographed picture and after waiting in line dodging bees and adults (not kids) swinging things into me without knowing it, I first meet Sasha Williams (a hot name by itself). I underestimated her because of her lack of presence on the camera; in person she is energetic and perky. She is very friendly and has beautiful eyes. I had a whole schpiel[sp?] ready for them like, "Woah, they waxed the stage a little heavy this morning, eh?" and a joke question for Keith Robinson, "So, how'd you get up the nerve to ask out Miss Fairweather?" But I saw Sasha and it was like a bulk eraser against some magnetic tape: zap! No more brain cells.
I did manage to stutter out something to Sean
Johnson about, "Koichi does a great job, you guys look cool on the show." (which is a dorky sounding thing for me to say if you knew me personally) but they were really cool about everything and the whole experience kept me smiling from ear to ear. And it didn't stop there. Above: A powerful stance after a tornado kick.
While waiting for things, I spent time going to different Universal Studios park attractions like the Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show (rather campy but that's to make it somewhat family friendly) The Tram Tour of the Backlot (been on it before, but I always love it) and even sang at "Mode Extreme" - a karaoke store. I sucked because the lyrics were flying all over the screen like a video game.
Left: GoRed charges through the audience
Back to the event--the way they had this setup was that they were going to have four occasions of each thing: the show, autograph signings and photo op. Photo Op. was done in the "Aqua Zone" to the right of the Terminator 2 ride where they parked the repainted Tankenstien (the rescue truck) and the motorcycles. Photos were shot with the stunt rangers; Yellow Ranger is noticeably too short for her suit because her helmet is rolling around on her head (not normal). The autograph signings were being done just outside of the Terminator 2 3D ride and the show was next door to the Animal-something or other show.
Left: Red Ranger after an amazing hurricane kick.
The Photo Op. thing wasn't that great by itself but I enjoyed it and got a photograph; the cool part was encountering a Japanese couple, their kids and the parent's friend Izumi. She and Yumi (Sam's wife) started out asking me where I got the photograph from and I tried to explain they give out the picture and then write on it when you show up at the autograph signing session and then I told them where and when that was happening. After that point, I tried speaking with them in broken Japanese and even though they enjoyed me trying, I was feeling a little foolish but we were both glad to not be thinking about the fact that we were sweating so hard, we were dripping. I told them, "0p Rê ª ¨ ã }è Å · " (eigo ga o jouzu desu) which means Your English is pretty good. Shy, Izumi just shook her head with a big smile going, "No, no. I can't listen." But she understood every word I said even though I was staying away from the longer ones. Regardless, after I got through talking about sentai and Power Rangers, Yumi and Izumi had a lot of fun talking about me and how much I know about the production of Power Rangers, how I even know about the Japanese shows and then we started talking about even our favorite shows. Like most Japanese I encounter, they start off making light of it but when I keep on the subject, they get nostalgic and start getting excited thinking about THEIR favorite tokusatsu like Goranger, Kamen Rider and Gavan, etc. Yumi just pointed at me all of a sudden with this big smile and asked, "Have you seen Kuuga!" I answered, "I've heard of it but I haven't seen it." She was like, "Oh, it's cool! The action is very good." Their kids were also adorable too; they rent the original sentai on tape to show it to them just 'cause it's easier for them to listen to it in Japanese. They were surprised I even knew about Genki Video in Gardena off Artesia Blvd. near the 91 FWY off-ramp. We must've spent practically the entire time in line talking and it just injected a massive dosage of joy into my already pretty cool day.
Above left: the cast go on stage one at a time; above left: the Lightspeed Rescue rangers await questions from their fans. Below: Titanium Ranger Rises Up from Below
Above: Power Moves from the Titanium Ranger
Above: Ryan, the Titanium Ranger greets the crowd.
Above: The cast await the fan crowd for autographs.
Later in the day, I came back and hung around the last autograph signing session of the day and that was worth it--I just kinda stood there looking at Sasha Williams thinking, "Man, I didn't even like her in the show at first." Michael Chaturantabut was with her and they were very, very cooperative to take pictures even though there were only there to sign papers. They also didn't want to sit in the chairs but on the tables (probably because the chairs were somewhat uncomfortable. Anyway, between blocks of people passing through, I asked Mike what styles he uses and he mentioned it was Japanese karate (not shotokan or kendo but another I can't remember the name of), tae-kwon-do and Wu-Shu (Chinese kung fu) and then asked me if I'm taking anything so I mentioned I am learning Shotokan. Later he asked me where I'm taking that and I mentioned Seaside Shotokan in Playa del Rey. That was cool; in fact, so was he--people would come through and he joked about certain little things like kids asking who he was and all obvious-like he goes, "I'm the blue ranger," pointing to himself and goes, "See? Blue." and smiles. Hehehe. Someone just walked by them at high speed and briefly said hi and his head followed them trying to say hi back. Sasha was like, "What was that?" And Mike just shrugged and went, "It was just sort ``hi! bye!''" while re-enacting what he looked like when the lady went by.
Below: Mike & Sasha discover the webmaster's lense.
After that, the cast went inside and all of a sudden--they started doing handstands and back flips and kicks and I was like, "What the heck? Jeez, they look better than the stunt guys did." But the guyfrom the crew was right, they wanted to save money so: no fights, no cool stuff...just a "OK" Q & A session.
But on a positive note, I later watched the show before the fourth and last show and the stunt rangers did pick up the pace. Stunt Red actually did a real hurricane kick, I was impressed. The announcer mentioned that "Dana was called by Capt. Mitchell at the Aqua Base to do something in Mariner Bay and that she wouldn't be there." It was really weird not having her there during the show, like the first time (almost as weird as when Ryan, lead VR Trooper, wasn't at the VR Troopers show). However, during the first show, Alison didn't even want to talk; in the first show, some kid asked Sean a question after 3 others did so everyone tried to give some to the others and they went ahead and answered. When they tried to give Alison a question, she just kinda said, "Well, I just like working with these people but I think that the other rangers would do better to answer your question." I dunno what deal was with that.
I'm not sure I want to know.
If anybody else saw the shows Memorial Day Weekend, 2000, I'd love to hear from you and know what you thought of it. I'm guessing that the first show was gonna be rough since rehearsal and responding to audience cues are slightly different. The sunday show might;ve be a lot better for all I knew. I can tell you that I did have a tremendous amount of fun and was smiling the whole time. It was very well put together and I enjoyed it because I could appreciate the effort put into it from a production-oriented point of view. Kudos to the Universal Studios Team for doing a good job in managing the lines too.
Saban should do live shows (obviously not with the cast all the time) often like Toei does in Tokyo but in 1995, they had stunt shows for 2 weeks at Universal Studios; I guess it didn't sell as well as it does in Japan.
Left: Dylan's idea of heaven.
Comments? Questons? Write the Webmaster!
Above: The Webmaster with Red Ranger and Blue Ranger.
Power Rangers and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue are copyright © Saban Entertainment, Inc., Saban International N.V. Fox Kids, the "Fox Kids" logo and Fox are copyright © Fox Broadcasting Corporation, Inc. Universal Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood and the "Universal Studios Hollywood" are copyright © Universal Studios, Inc. The images of photographs taken at the Castle Rock Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood at Universal City, California are of material that is the exclusive property of Saban Entertainment, Inc., Toei Group, Limited., The Bandai Corporation of America and The Bandai Corporation of Japan as well as Universal Studios, Inc. The images themselves are copyright © 2000 Dairenn Lombard for the exclusive use of this website for non-commercial sharing among fans. These photographs may not be modified and re-distributed on other websites without the express, written permission of this website. Should the trademark and copyright holders to any material on this site request any and all indica of material trademarked to them or with their copyright be removed, the author will comply fully and immediately without litigious activity required.Original Content Copyright © 2000 Dairenn Lombard