Photo: MIKE NELSON (Getty Images)
If you were a kid in the ’90s, besides cartoons on the Cartoon Network, one of your favorite shows was probably the Power Rangers. The plot was ridiculous, the acting was horrendous, but there was something about the show that glued all of us to the TV screens day after day. The whole atmosphere of teenagers fighting evil monsters was so appealing that we all wanted to be them. Now, although the cast changed over the years, some of the Rangers remained throughout the seasons. One of the favorites of the fans was certainly the Blue Power Ranger a.k.a. Billy Cranston. You might not know that but during the filming, the actor who portrayed him, David Yost, had some quite uncomfortable experiences.
In case you’re not familiar with the show – here’s a rundown. A group of teenagers is recruited by a powerful being to protect Earth from alien invaders. They are given the ability to transform into powerful warriors who, basically, look like colorful motorcyclists. The teenagers are assisted by a small, anthropomorphic robot called Alpha that functions like Batman’s Alfred in a way. The Rangers fight monsters spawned by evil overlords Zed and Rita, as well as a number of smaller minions in every episode. All of the Rangers have their own special color that they seem to wear even when they’re not “on duty,” so the audience could tell them apart. Of course, there is also some comic relief in the form of two local bullies, Bulk and Skull. Sure, explained like this, it doesn’t sound like much. However, back in the ’90s, especially if you were a kid, there was nothing better.
The Blue Power Ranger
At the very heart of the show were, obviously, the Rangers. The two most popular ones were Tommy Oliver, who joined the cast as the Green Ranger that later transitioned to White, and Billy Cranston, the eponymous Blue Ranger. While Tommy was always a favorite because he was a natural-born leader, Billy’s appeal was that he was the brainiac. He always came up with the gadgets and remained in the show even after he lost his power. In a way, he represented all of the nerds out there, which made him, ironically, quite popular. But the kids at the time didn’t really know what was happening behind the scenes. The actor, David Yost, recently revealed that he was bullied in real life during the making of the show because of his sexual orientation. His costars, as well as other production members, insulted him for being gay and even excluded him from major decisions regarding the show. He stated that at one point, even the producers were asking around about him. This molesting got so intense that Yost eventually had a nervous breakdown and even tried seeking treatment for his homosexualism. In the end, he made peace with his orientation and globally became a symbol of the fight against discrimination.
The Power Rangers Movie
The importance of the Blue Ranger was also noted in the new Hollywood film that came out in 2017. Namely, the character of Billy Cranston is played by a young actor called RJ Cyler. Unlike the original series, the character is an African-American guy who has autism. Whether the symbolism of the Blue Ranger was intentional or not, the character is yet again here to fight prejudice and encourage inclusion into the society, whether we’re talking about sexual orientation, skin color, or a mental condition. This is, apparently, the legacy of the Blue Ranger – the need to fight discrimination in all its forms.
Was the Blue Power Ranger your favorite as well? If not, tell us which one it was and why? For us, it will always be Kimberly.