"Good evening. I'm Barbara Walters and this is the
second in our Setting the Record Straight
series of interviews with the original twelve Power Rangers. Last week our
stage was graced with the wonderful presence of the first Pink Ranger, Mrs.
Kimberly Anne Hart-Oliver. Tonight we are pleased to showcase her
husband." Audience applause begins to build with wild cheers and clapping
from the mostly female crowd tonight. "From day one he captured the undivided
attention of the world. The fearsome menace turned hero who became the winds of
change that would define the Rangers for years to come. First he was the Green
Ranger. Then he became the leader of the team as the White Ranger. Then Red and finally Black before retiring two and a half years
ago. Let's take a look back at the evolution of the man who some
consider to be the greatest Power Ranger who has ever lived."
(The rock band Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' song plays as a video montage of footage is shown amidst gasps and loud applause. The White Ranger is shown battling a battalion of Putties with
The greatly enthusiastic audience roar their encouragement. Barbara continued, "We know of his grand exploits as a Ranger, but not of the man behind the Power. The man who he became when he wasn't helping to protect the world was able to become a world renowned martial artist while at the same time earning his bachelors degree in Paleontology." The audience seemed genuinely surprised by the latter of his accomplishments. "Now working as the principle of Reefside High School as well as co-owner of his own martial arts academy, please give a warm welcome to the one, the only, Tommy Oliver."
Uproarious clapping ensued when Tommy walked across the stage, waving at the energetic studio audience before sharing a warm hug with Barbara. He took the chair across from her, hands in his lap while looking out over the cheering audience. While not particularly comfortable with the spotlight, his smiling expression revealed a bit of his bashful side as audience continued their ovation.
"Thank you, Ms. Walters."
"Barbara, please," she insisted. Her guest gave a polite nod to which she returned. "To say you've lived one heck of a life seems to be the understatement of the century."
"Sometimes I think I've lived a charmed live. My nine lives haven't run out just yet."
Barbara took a quick glance at her notes before continuing. "Itís been said that you never knew your birth parents. Is that correct?"
"Yes," Tommy answered. "I was placed up for adoption soon after I was born. I've never really looked into it much as I was blessed with such great step-parents that I think of them as my real parents."
"Did being adopted affect your life leading up to your move to Angel Grove?"
Thoughtfully considering that for a moment, Tommy reminisced over the solemn days of his youth. "Not really. Like I said, I had great parents. But I've always been a bit of a loner, and my dad's job shuffled him around the country quite a few times when I was growing up. I never stayed anywhere long enough to develop really good friends and I think that's what made it so hard for me to get close to people and truly let them in. I was always afraid I'd have to leave them behind so I didn't try to get close to anyone. I could find a place to train in the martial arts anywhere, so I clung to that more than anything or anyone else."
"Then lo and behold, your very first day in Angel Grove," Barbara gently led him towards the beginning of his legendary career. "Tell us about that?"
Tommy relaxed back in his chair as he began his tale. "I had heard about Angel Grove from my dad long before we moved there, and when he brought home one of the newspapers from a trip there two weeks before we moved I saw an add for the Angel Grove Karate Tournament. I was interested in competing at that time and I figured at the very least I'd meet some people who were into the martial arts as heavily as I was. My dad told me we'd be living in Angel Grove through my high school years so I just sucked it up and decided to try and make some friends."
"How did that go?"
"Well, I made it through the tournament to the finals where I met and fought against my future best friend, Jason. The match ended in a draw, but I had heard where he worked out at. Again, I was the new kid in town and all I was really into was the martial arts so I wanted to be where other people my age were doing that." A wistful smile later, "The next day my life changed forever."
Ever mindful of the audienceís acute interest in her guest, Barbara dove right into the question everyoneís wanted to know. "You became a Ranger?"
"I met Kim," he side-stepped for a moment, smiling as the audience 'awwwed' their approval.
"So it was love at first sight?" Barbara watched a play of emotions fall over his handsome features. He seemed embarrassed on the hot seat, pausing before he spoke again.
"As mature as I was at the time, yeah, I loved her instantly." He lifted his hands before the audiences clapping began in earnest. "I was sixteen, okay. Let's not turn Kim and I into some sort of fairy tale romance. Trust me, we weren't."
"And we will get back to your romance with your wife later on," Barbara gently warned his suddenly blushing guest. "But for now I have to ask the question I'm sure is on everyoneís mind. We all remember the footage of the Green Ranger assaulting the other Rangers and attacking Angel Grove." Tommy seemed to pale slightly at the mention of dark past. "The world to that point had never seen an evil Ranger as it was just getting used to seeing beings with such unimaginable powers and weapons at their disposal. The anxiety over the Green Ranger's appearance was all the networks talked about for days."
"I vaguely remember those days, Barbara. The early Green Ranger days."
"How did you become a Ranger?"
Tommy sighed. "I was attacked after school in an alley by a group of Putties. They were soldiers of sorts working for Rita Repulsa. I fought them off, but was taken against my will to Rita's moon fortress and placed under a magical spell. I became her possession."
"Were you tortured?"
"Mentally, yes," he acknowledged in a somber tone. "I couldn't focus my mind on my own thoughts and feelings. All I could hear were Rita's orders. I wasn't in control of my actions. I was a pawn she used in her bid to destroy the Power Rangers and take over the world. If I died in the process she wouldn't have cared one bit. But the Rangers did."
"What happened next?"
"I was given a weapon called the Sword of Darkness. When Jason was trapped in a place called the Dark Dimension with me and I was about to kill him." Tommy shook his head, his voice trailing off. "He was saved before I could do it."
"Would you have?"
"Yes," he hated to admit. "At that time I had no self-control."
"So how did the Rangers save you?"
"Under Rita's spell I became so arrogant and over confident that I initiated a one-on-one fight with the Red Ranger. While I'm trying to kill him, Jason is trying to find a way to save me. I owe him my life that day. Its as simple as that. He was able to destroy the Sword of Darkness which broke Rita's spell over me. From that day forward I was offered a place on the team and became a full fledged Ranger."
Cheering applause erupted when he finished. Barbara smiled warmly, touching his hand in support after watching how tough it was to relive that bit of his past. "Okay, Tommy. Its time to put you on the spot with some call-in questions."
Taking a deep breath, Tommy prepared himself. "I'm ready."
"Our first caller is Jane from
"Hi Tommy," came a chipper voice over the intercom.
"Hello, Jane. How are you this evening?"
"Well, I'm just okay seeing as how you aren't single." She laughed with the audience as Tommy braced himself. "I have a question for you."
"Spandex. Pro or Con?"
Tommy hated it whenever he lost a bet with Rocky. He had been told to expect this question. Barbara and the audience seemed so amused by it. "Con in every single way possible. It just looks terrible on guys and offers you no modesty at all."
"Like when you get a boner?"
Even Barbara chuckled at that one. Tommy just covered his eyes, smiling. "Yes, and thank you for adding that."
"Bye, Tommy. Thanks for answering."
"Thanks, Jane." Barbara nodded to her assistant to cue the next caller in. "William from
Carrying a burly sort of voice, Tommy hoped a guy wouldn't ask anything about a boner. His students were going to have a field day with this interview as it was. "Nice to meet you, William."
"My questions are how long have you been involved in the martial arts, what belt do you own and what do you teach?"
"I've been training in the martial arts ever since I was nine years old taking junior classes. I'm currently a sixth degree black belt and I teach at my school an American style of martial arts called Toso Kune Do meaning the way of the fighting fist. It's a blend of Shotokan Karate, Wado Ryu Karate, Judo, Thai Boxing, American Boxing, Kobudo, Jeet Kune Do, Aikido, and Savate."
"Wow," came the guys' very impressed response. "Thanks, Tommy."
"We have time for one more caller before we take our first commercial break," Barbara announced. "Who's next?"
"Hi, Tommy. I'm Janet from
"Hello, Janet," Tommy replied to the middle-aged sounding caller. "What can I answer for you?"
"How do you respond to criticism that the Ranger's presence on Earth has killed as many people as you've saved? Its been reported that some enemies attacked the Earth simply because Rangers were there."
Sitting up straight, Tommy took that question head-on. "With all due respect to those who feel that way, especially those who lost loved ones during attacks, its just not true. None of the Ranger's enemies attacked the Earth simply because of Zordon's presence. Our mentor had been on Earth for well over a hundred years watching over the planet because Rita Repulsa's prison capsule was on the moon. When Rita was accidentally released from that prison she had no idea Zordon was on Earth. She wanted to conquer it no matter who was there. So without Zordon and the Ranger's Earth would have been destroyed or conquered a long ago. Our presence has always been to protect and serve the people of Earth. There was no salary for what we did. No one paid our college tuitions or rents or paid any bills for us. What we did we did selflessly and because it was the right thing to do. So to answer your question I feel that only now when we can finally present our case and all of the details the public has never known before can I combat criticism as it stems from a lack of knowledge."
"Thank you for such an eloquent answer, Tommy."
"You're welcome." The audience clapped again as Tommy felt relived that he made it to the first commercial break.
"We'll be back shortly with Tommy Oliver and more of his amazing life. Stay tuned."
"Welcome back to Setting the Record straight. I'm Barbra Walters and my guest this evening is none other than the Power Ranger who changed uniforms more than Paris Hilton, Tommy Oliver." Her cute dig was taken well by her guest. The audience enjoyed a brief montage of the various uniforms Tommy wore over the years. He cringed but took it all in stride. "Getting back to the questions. If you could go back and do it all over again would you, and what would you do differently?"
Rubbing his chin, Tommy pondered that question for a careful moment. "As far as my career as a Ranger was concerned I wouldn't change a thing. Those were some of the most exciting and deeply fulfilling years of my life. You have to understand that there was no road map or guide to lead us through the decisions we made or how we lived with them. All of us made mistakes. All of us lost a great deal of our innocence. But I think what we all learned was that we had to keep moving forward when bad things happened to us and deal with the consequences of our actions. So to that end I wouldn't change a thing. Now that's not to say there aren't things I wished didn't happen. Only that I can live with the choices I made."
"What about your personal life?"
"I think we all have regrets, Barbara. In that regard I do wish I'd handled some things differently."
"Anything you care to share?"
"Not at the moment, no."
"Fair enough," Barbara politely backed off, to which she could tell her guest appreciated. "I think its time to let our studio audience in on things. We have a stand and a mike set up in the aisle. Kayla from
"Thank you, Barbara. Hi Tommy," the petite blond waved a bit nervously.
"Nice to meet you, Kayla. Ask away."
"How do you handle the autograph seekers, fangirls, and Internet websites devoted not only to you, but to you and your wife as a couple? Especially after finishing second in People Magazine's Couple of the Year awards behind Brangelina?"
"Carefully," Tommy replied in a mildly amused tone. "I never turn down people who want autographs as long as I have time to do them. If people come up to me and want to shake my hand or take a picture and say they're proud of me I respect that. I don't mind little kids who think I'm cool for having been a Power Ranger. I'll always make time for stuff like that."
Tommy continued, "Now the fangirls are a bit different." Peering out over the audience, he could tell more than a couple were in fact, fangirls. A few were holding signs. "I'm a really quiet sort of guy, you know. Jason and I are best friends and all, but I'm a lot more like Adam personality wise. I'm not really comfortable being some sort of sex-symbol or poster boy or anything like that. I don't mind the admiration as long as my wife is respected. But some people take it too far with the... the," he stuttered a bit.
"More provocative online fan creations?" Kayla alluded too while grinning at her crush's obvious embarrassment.
"The Tommy and Kim wallpapers are fine. Some of them are really well done. Kim even has one as her desktop wallpaper," he laughed with the audience over that bit of information. "But the... uhm... erotic photo manipulations and the NC-17 fanfiction stories are just..."
"Hot!" Kayla all but shouted as the audience burst out in laughter.
"Different," Tommy answered behind a smirk, slightly blushing. "Having people you don't know writing long sex scenes between you and your wife is a bit strange. And some of it is really good, but what kind of person writes ten to twenty page sex scenes involving the Power Rangers?"
Kayla caught his minor admission. "So you read Tommy/Kim erotic fanfiction?"
Tommy's eyes went as wide as saucers, then ducked his head when the audience 'ohhhhhed'. "I... I might have stumbled over one or twenty," he laughed along with the audience. "You can't help but to be curious when someone is writing about you. And some of that fanfiction has me engaging in sexual activity with just about everyone on the team, including the guys. I never knew what the word 'slash' meant until I discovered fanfiction," he shook his head while Barbara looked on. "I'm not against creative expression. I just ask everyone to respect that we are all real people with feelings and families and a right to our privacy. As long as that's respected I'm cool."
"Thanks, Tommy." Kayla waved again before stepping off the podium.
Barbara motioned for the next person in line to step up to the microphone. "Ben from the
Offering a nod to the esteemed host, Ben addressed Tommy. "Did you ever hate the Space Rangers for not being able to save Zordon?"
Observing a short time to deal with the emotional impact that question leveled him with, Tommy drew his emotions together. "I never hated them and neither did any of the other Rangers I served with. People need to understand that the statement released by the Space Rangers after Zordon died was accurate. Zordon gave his life's energies to destroy the evil that was threatening the galaxy. The Space Ranger's leader Andros found Zordon alive and could have gotten him off the Dark Fortress. Zordon knew they had no time left so he made his sacrifice. The Space Rangers succeeded in upholding the legacy of the Rangers by risking their lives in the defense of the galaxy. Zordon gave his life for that mandate."
"But do you wish you were there? Do the other Rangers ever talk about if they had gone after Zordon themselves the outcome would have been different?"
With respect to the Space Rangers, Tommy wanted to make himself perfectly clear. "We as a group try not to second-guess any of the Ranger teams after ours as we appreciate those before us not criticizing us. As successful as the original twelve Ranger's run was hundreds of people still died under our watch. Zordon taught us that every life is precious and equal. He never placed himself above anyone else. So to that end while we are still absolutely heartbroken over Zordon's death we do not blame the Space Rangers for his sacrifice."
Ben seemed to grasp where Tommy was coming from. "Thanks, Tommy."
"Tommy," Barbara drew his attention. "Letís stay on that theme for a little while longer. Considering that you were all just teenagers at the time, could you tell us how you and the other Ranger's dealt with the loss of life associated with the Ranger battles?"
"I can only speak for myself, but Zordon was the founder and mentor of the Power Ranger's for over two hundred years and he understood the perspective we all had to keep in relation to the job we had do. We were told to enjoy life, plan for our futures and be good people. But we were also made aware of the tragedies that every single Ranger team since its creation have endured. People die in life, sad as that statement sounds. We can't save everyone. Its a fact. We all will die someday and those who are charged to serve and protect can only give their very best. Well I promise you all of us gave our very best to protect and save as many lives as we possibly could."
"But I know it wasn't that easy all of the time?"
"Of course not. We were all affected in one way or another. And of
course there were certain times where people died and we really had a
hard time getting past it. But we didn't have time to dwell over stuff
like that because we all had to get up the next day, paint on our
happy teenager faces for our parents and get through the school day." Something of a wistful expression fell over him. "Itís a wonder we weren't all popping Zoloft anti-depressants like Tic-Tacs."
"Indeed," Barbra smiled as the audience enjoyed the light break in the mood. "I think its time for a couple of callers who have patiently waited for their turn. Janine from
"I'm here, Barbara. Hello."
"Hi to you too."
Janine seemed very excited. "Hi Tommy."
"Hi, Janine. What can I answer for you?"
"Have you ever had sex in a Zord?"
Shaking his head, Tommy expected a couple of questions like that one. "No, I've never had sex in a Zord. Honestly, the only one with enough room was my old Tiger Zord. The Falcon Zord had no room. My Turbo Zord car didn't even have a backseat. And my Dragon Zord," he laughed, "It didn't even have a compartment for me to be inside of." The audience laughed as footage was shown of the Green Rangers controlling the Dragon Zord from various building rooftops.
Barbara's assistant gave her the sign that the next caller was ready. "Sandra from
"Thanks Barbara. Hi Tommy."
Hearing the young woman and what sounded like a couple of her giggling friends in the background, Tommy yet again braced himself for the worst. "Good evening, Sandra."
"Uhm, me and my friends were wondering about the Yahoo News report that Playgirl Magazine has offered you a half a million dollars to pose nude? Can you confirm or deny that? And we are praying that you confirm and do it." Her friends started cracking up in the background, as did the mostly female audience.
Tommy took a slow, deep breath, grinning wildly, and then calmly pulled a folded sheet of paper from his back pocket. "My wife has written a response for me just in case that question was asked." Opening the paper, he began to read it. "To Whom It May Concern, my name is Kimberly Oliver and I am the wife, lover, and owner of Tommy Oliver. Two weeks ago Playgirl magazine contacted the Ranger's publicist concerning a layout proposal for my husband. When I first saw it I thought it was Rocky playing a practical joke on him again using Photoshop. He almost made Jason think he won a million dollars from Publishers Clearing House once. Anyway, we made some phone calls and found out the offer was real. I have the unsigned contract framed above my desk in my office. Let me tell you all right now that my husband will never, ever pose naked in any magazine and if any nude pictures of him exists I took them and have them in a very safe, secure location. Sorry girls. You can admire the face but everything else is mine."
Disappointed moans mixed with chuckles and teases of a whipping sound came from the audience. Even Barbara seemed to stifle her laughter in order to remain professional. Tommy simply refolded the note and stuck it back in his pocket.
"On that most interesting note, pun intended, we'll take our second and last commercial break before getting into Tommy's personal life." He blanched, which only told her there was far more fun to be had. "Stay tuned. We'll be right back."
"Welcome back," Barbara greeted the viewing audience worldwide, being broadcast in HD. "We're going to begin our last segment with some call-in questions. I believe we have Sheila from
"Good evening to you too, Barbara," came a calm, even toned voice.
"Tommy, its a pleasure."
Having survived two thirds of the interview thus far, the former White Ranger finally relaxed. "Itís a pleasure to meet you too, Sheila. What can I answer for you?"
"I can only imagine how tired you are of questions concerning your personal life, but I hope you're patient with those of us that find your relationship with your wife so fascinating. So, my question is this. After your break-up with Kim, describe the years between then and when you reunited?"
Tommy sat up straight and cleared his throat. "Well at that time I was still the leader of the Zeo Rangers and was finishing my senior year in high school. When Zordon gave us the Turbo powers my interest in racing began to grow and my uncle already had a team of drivers he was trying to turn pro. After Zordon retired myself, Tanya, Adam, and Katherine I began training at the race track heavily. I raced professionally for about two years until the end of 1999. I was moderately good compared to the full-timers and the money was great. During that time my relationship with Katherine evolved into a dear friendship as we mutually parted ways. That was when I realized that I just didn't want to race professionally for the rest of my life. My heart wasn't in it and I had to make some real life decisions because I just wasn't educated enough with only a high school diploma."
"I had always been interested in paleontology and when I first became a Ranger we were using the Dino Zords. Zordon had records of the prehistoric era and dinosaur bones and all sorts of ancient artifacts that very few people knew I used to comb through from time to time. Now up to that point in my life all of the challenges I faced had been physical in some nature. Being a Ranger, my martial arts training, and racing were all similar in that while they required me to think they never truly challenged my mind the way going to college would. I was looking for something new in my life so I decided to bite the bullet and go to college. I earned a PH.D in museum studies along with my bachelorís degree to become a professional, practicing paleontologist."
Sheila just had to ask, "What about your personal life? Any steamy skeletons in your closet?"
Ever mindful of the publics greed for gossip, especially with the audience appearing as if they were on the edge of their seats, Tommy answered straightforward. "I dated and went to parties and all that. Not allot mind you, but I lived a single guys life. I didn't have time for any real relationships during college as I had it pretty rough the first year. School and studying never came as easy to me as it did Trini or Billy. I really had to work hard at it."
Sheila asked, "And then came the Dino Thunder Rangers?"
"Well, before that came a tough mission involving all the former Red Rangers up to that point, minus Rocky," Tommy explained. "We fought some bad guys, did some cool poses and saved the world. Typical Ranger stuff," he smiled as the audience gave a few laughs. "All in all up until I saw Kimberly again I did a ton of maturing as a person. I got a lot of real life experience outside of the Ranger lifestyle I had lived for so many years."
Barbara decided to change gears for a moment. "Tommy, share with us if you will the funniest thing that's ever happened to you or that you saw as a Power Ranger?"
"Oh God, let me think," Tommy chuckled while grazing his chin in retrospection. "You have to understand that while Rita and Zedd were evil, they were mildly retarded as well." The audience began cracking up over that one. "They turned turtles into huge monsters. They used statues and pigs and even a flower monster against us. They used a Putty that had the power to impersonate us to make trouble for us at school. What kind of villain cares about his enemies reputations in high school?"
"It seems Rita Repulsa had allot of headaches."
"Drinking will do that to you,", Tommy joked. "I saw a ridiculous thirty-foot tall purse-monster, Barbara. I've seen fish-monsters, bee-monsters, a pumpkin monster that rapped, an oyster-monster, a beetle-monster, and every sort of creature that you could imagine was created from anything just lying around. Rita wasn't picky and Zedd was no better. But the absolute funniest thing to ever happen was this one time the teleportation system malfunctioned. It was me, Kim, Rocky, Aisha, Adam and Billy at the
"Oh my God!" Barbara gasped.
"Exactly. We were shocked and shouting and it was just madness. But after our clothes were teleported back on us we laughed about it for the rest of the day. It was a crazy moment for sure."
"Thank you for sharing your own version of a clothes malfunction," Barbara teased. "If Janet Jackson is watching somewhere I'm sure she's sympathetic."
"Probably so," Tommy laughed.
"I want to play a little word association with you if that's okay?"
"Not a problem."
Tommy spoke without hesitation. "The founding mentor of the Power Rangers who believed in a rag tag group of kids when we didn't always believe in ourselves. He was the most honorable person I have ever met. He left an impact on my life that won't ever fade. He was an amazing leader, teacher, and a very dear friend. I miss him. I always will."
"She's an amazing woman who possesses such a wonderful, loving spirit. She's a truly genuine person and I am so lucky to be able to call her a dear, close friend. She also makes great nachos, which you wouldn't expect from an Australian," he laughed at the end. The audience did as well.
"Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier?"
Tommy scratched his head over that one. "If you would have ever told me he would become a highly acclaimed, award winning romance novelist I would have said you need to be in a straight jacket. But seriously, though he's a bit rough around the edges he's a good guy deep down. I've actually gotten a chance to get to really know him in recent years. We invited him and his best friend
"Police Chief Skullovitch of
"Yes. We knew him too way back in the day."
"You're getting old, Mr. Oliver."
"So my wife tells me."
"Speaking of your wife, she's our final name in the association game." Barbara laid her notes down. "Kim?"
A pleasant hush fell over the studio as all eyes fell on Tommy. He expected as much. No matter the battles, sacrifices made. Colorful outfits, or massive robots people were still and always more interested in your personal life. It wasn't old stock photos of the Power Ranger's that made the cover of People Magazine, Time, or the Washington Post. It was candids of the former Rangers out of uniform that the world truly became captivate with.
And so while taking a deep, calming breath he attempted to convey what his wife meant to him, as if mere words would ever be adequate. "Kim is my Beautiful," he began wearing a shy sort of smile that revealed how open he was trying to be. "She is the joy in my life. We connect in a way that doesn't even make sense to us sometimes. She knows me and she loves me as imperfect as I am. As much as I loved her as a teenager it doesn't compare to how deeply in love with her I am today." His dear smile said it all. "She's feisty and bold. She likes to get her way, but she's so compassionate and sweet. She's strong, courageous and as capable a person as I have ever met. She is as imperfect as I am and I love everything about her. I even love that she's short, which I know she hates."
"I'm whole when I am with her," Tommy explained as his emotions threatened to overwhelm him, He paused a moment to regain himself. "People like to over-romanticize us as some fairy tale couple or some romance novel type of love. We are just two very regular people at the end of the day. She grounds me. She fulfills. She's my heart and soul. She's irreplaceable."
"That was beautiful."
"No, my wife is. That was just me being honest."
Reaching across to him, Barbara squeezed Tommy's hand, having known how nervous he was about the interview in the green room. "We're finished. You made it through just fine."
"Barely," he whispered, grinning.
Barbara addressed the audience once more. "That concludes our interview for the evening. We'd like to thank Mr. Oliver for his time and candor." The audience rose to their feet, clapping and cheering as Tommy waved to them. "Join us next week on Setting the Record Straight as we talk to the first leader of the Power Rangers and a man who's devoted so much of his life to helping the less fortunate all around the world, Mr. Jason Lee Scott. Goodnight everyone."