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Alpha's Magical Christmas

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This article is about a/an Christmas special in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Alpha's Magical Christmas
A special for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Season 2)
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Air date October 19, 1994
Written by Cheryl Saban
Directed by John Stewart
Episode Guide

Alpha's Magical Christmas was an out-of-universe direct-to-video Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Christmas special released on October 19th, 1994 as a Power Rangers Fan Club exclusive. The special features Alpha 5 (the special's main star) singing Christmas carols with numerous children from around the world, because his friends are busy helping Santa Claus and he feels neglected, ignored and alone (again apparently) as a result.

This special was made in an attempt to increase Alpha 5's popularity with the fans and give him a starring role in a Power Rangers project, as he had a supporting role through most of the episodes that he was on at the time and after. But it didn't work as intended, as most people do not enjoy the special very much (see "Criticism and Praise" section below). It has been claimed by Richard Horvitz that the special, despite its infamy, is a smart marketing idea, however Alpha did not get any official merchandise for 16 years after the special was produced (see "Notes" section below).

Despite its infamy among the PR community, Alpha's Magical Christmas is notable for being the first and only Christmas special to center around a supporting character in the early PR franchise; in this case it is Alpha 5. It is also notable for being the only special in the franchise to mention God and Jesus Christ, at least in song. Like the similar Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Christmas video We Wish You a Turtle Christmas, which was also released around the same time, Alpha's Magical Christmas is notoriously known for being of poor production quality and having a barren, nonsensical (albeit Alpha 5-centric) story.

Summary

On Christmas Eve in Angel Grove, little Alpha 5 is sad because he is all alone in the Command Center. Why? The Rangers are busy helping Santa Claus in preparation for his big trip around the world. To cheer Alpha up over being left alone, again, Zordon presents Alpha with a Christmas tree and then teleports in various children to spend time with him. After many hours, the kids leave via a mysterious portal, and Tommy, Kim and Billy teleport in to wish their young robot friend a Merry Christmas, and as a special surprise for his best friends, he uses his powers to make it magically snow inside the Command Center.

Synopsis

AlphasMagicalChristmas-Title

Alpha preparing for the Christmas season.

The Christmas special begins in the Command Center decorated for Christmas with Alpha 5 walking in as the special's title is shown on screen. As the opening credits appear on screen, the frame story starts: Alpha 5 breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience that he's just putting the final touches on his Christmas tree before the big day arrives. He then goes on to tell the audience that he feels quite happy about Christmas that year (the actual year isn't stated, but it is implied to be 1994 based on Rocky, Adam and Aisha appearing on the Viewing Globe) even though he didn't feel that way at the beginning of the day. The rest of the special then goes into a flashback (comprised of both stock and original footage) where Alpha 5 is telling Zordon that he just can't get into the Christmas Spirit. Zordon tells Alpha 5 to cheer up as it's Christmas Eve although it does seem too quiet without the Rangers. When Alpha asks where the Rangers are, Zordon responds that they are at the North Pole helping Santa Claus get ready for his annual trip. To cheer Alpha up from his sadness over being ignored by the Rangers, Zordon presents a Christmas tree and then teleports in several children from around the world to do activities and sing carols with Alpha. Soon the Rangers teleport in, but they can't stay long.

At the end of the special we cut back to the same area we see at the beginning, where Alpha says goodbye and that he, Zordon, and the Rangers hope we have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Cast

Music

During the special, Alpha and the children sing various Christmas carols, including:

  • Oh Christmas Tree
  • Here We Come A-Caroling
  • Deck the Halls
  • Jingle Bells (sung as a reprise during the credits and serves as the special's leitmotif)
  • Good King Wenceslas
  • Up on the Housetop
  • Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
  • I'll be Home for Christmas
  • Silent Night
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Four of the songs were released on the book-and-cassette/book-and-CD Lord Zedd's Holiday Humbug.

Continuity Errors

  • Despite flashbacks of Tommy as the White Ranger, as well as Rocky, Adam, and Aisha being part of the team (not Jason, Zack, and Trini), Tommy is seen using the Green Ranger powers, which had been depleted in Green No More, Part 2.
    • Additionally, flashbacks show Tommy as the White Ranger and Jason, Zack, Trini are shown in the Viewing Globe at the end of a song and mentioned by Zordon as still being at the World Peace Conference.
  • Alpha's 'magical powers' were not stated as such in the actual television show, but are instead stated by Alpha as "tapping into the Morphin Grid".

Criticism and Praise

Despite the special's gentle and tender nature, Alpha's Magical Christmas is continually and near-universally panned, revulsed and ridiculed by most of the Power Rangers fan community for its excessively saccharine, cutesy tone, the lack of action/adventure and creativity, the constant singing, the poor production quality (not counting voice-over quality, of course), the weak premise and framing story, completely ignoring the series' continuity, much less its own continuity (a shot of Suzy clapping and saying "Yay!" is used three times, for example; Kimberly and the others also say they have to load the sleigh when they are clearly seen doing so on the Viewing Globe in an earlier scene), and breaking the show's own rules. Excusing the fact that Zordon allows children into the Command Center merely to sing and do activities with Alpha (claiming that he made arrangements to do so in spite of the fact that it has been said that no one can enter the Command Center without a Power Coin (as mentioned in Green With Evil by Trini and by Alpha in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie; it should be noted however that non-rangers may be teleported into the command center, as was the case with Billy in Zeo and Rocky, Adam, and Aisha in the short amount of time before they were rangers), when the Rangers appear, Tommy is clad in his Green Ranger uniform, despite this special being set at the middle of season two when the Green Ranger powers were depleted. The presence of Rocky, Adam and Aisha at the end of the special further confuses the issue, as they weren't on the team nor in Angel Grove during the Green Ranger era. Already Power Rangers, they speak to Alpha through the Viewing Globe, wishing him a Merry Christmas, wearing the same outfits they originally wore in The Ninja Encounter. Tommy could be in his Green Ranger uniform because it is one of the secular colors of Christmas, though they don't mention why he is wearing it or how he got the suit in the first place.

However, despite the hurtful criticisms, fans of Richard Steven Horvitz have at least praised the special for his performance in the special and wonderful singing talent, and some even praise it because there is no fighting or villains wreaking havoc (it can therefore be assumed that Lord Zedd and the other villains are taking a break from fighting the Rangers like in Lord Zedd's Monster Heads), even though the martial arts and hero/villain stories are what make the show entertaining to begin with. Some fans have also praised the special for bringing to light Alpha's fears of the Rangers ignoring, neglecting and abusing him; in fact, it's his Christmas wish before the song I'll Be Home for Christmas starts. Fans of the special have also praised the use of stock and deleted footage in said song being used as Alpha having flashbacks, despite the fact that Alpha never actually played basketball or soccer with the Rangers onscreen (but he did come to the Halloween party in Life's A Masquerade).

VHS Release

A release of the episode was distributed on the VHS Power Rangers: Holiday Specials.

Later availability

Six years after the special's original VHS release, it was featured on the Power Rangers Holiday Special VHS tape (which also included "A Season to Remember" and "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger") in 2000. It made its DVD debut on a bonus disc packaged with Shout! Factory's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series DVD box set in 2012, with restored picture and sound. It was also included on the Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish DVD, along with "Stuck On Christmas".

Notes

  • This is notably the first production where Richard Steven Horvitz, the voice actor for Alpha 5, is credited by his name (rather than "Richard Wood" as in the series). The second time would be the end credits of Forever Red eight years later, where he voiced Alpha 7.
  • While Romy J. Sharf plays Alpha in the special, Donene Kistler (who would go on to play Alpha in MMPR Season 3, Zeo, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie and Shift Into Turbo), served as production secretary for this special originally.
  • This special reveals to us that Alpha has a singing skill. However, in the series, he never sings to incapacitate or counteract music-themed enemies or villain plans.
  • The commercial for the special's original home video casette release, narrated by Alpha himself, was recently unearthed and posted to YouTube.[1] Several pieces of footage are different from the final product; for instance, instead of dancing with the girl wearing the tacky sweater and gold shoes, Alpha instead dances with Suzy. In the commercial, Alpha states that his video is a "timeless collection the whole family can enjoy year after year" and that it will "make your holidays a lot brighter".
  • This was Cheryl Saban's pet project, made by her to give Mighty Morphin Power Rangers something out of the ordinary that she felt was necessary.
  • Despite claims by Alpha's voice actor that the special was "smart marketing", Alpha did not get any official merchandise for 16 years after production for the special ended. In 2010, as part of the MMPR 2010 toyline, he finally received a standalone figure that did not come with the Command Center. Previously, if you wanted an Alpha 5 figure you had to buy the Power Dome Morphin Playset.
  • During one bit of the song "Good King Wenceslas", a golden wedding band can be seen on Suzy's left ring finger.
  • The special is mainly comprised of both stock and original footage of Zordon, Alpha and the children in the Command Center. Given the fact that the special suffers from very bad production quality, even the new footage of Alpha and Suzy is repeated several times.
  • One of the children, an African-American kid (character name: Michael) resembles a child version of Zack Taylor.
  • Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and the other villains don't appear in this special, yet the Command Center alarms go off several times; however, the sound it makes is noticeably different than the sound used in the series, making an ascending sound rather than its iconic descending sound.
  • The songs "Here We Come A-Caroling" and "Silent Night" are the only mentions of Christianity in Power Rangers to date, and both of them are sung by Alpha. Despite this, no mention of God has been heard in the series itself.
  • Despite being a Christmas special, several of the clips are from Zedd's Monster Mash and Life's A Masquerade, both Halloween-centric episodes; additionally, the special was released on October 19th, 1994, a week or two before Halloween.
  • One reason why this special exists is because Saban Entertainment, the producers of Power Rangers, apparently thought Alpha didn’t get enough big storylines on the show, so they decided that he needed his own Christmas special. (This is later resolved somewhat in episodes such as A Friend in Need, The Wanna-Be Ranger and The Wedding; all three of them focus on the little robot's friendships with the Rangers and his fear of them mistreating and ignoring him, but at least here in this special they actually acknowledge Alpha's need to be with his best friends in some fashion.)
    • “Alpha’s Magical Christmas” was produced during season two, a transitional period for the show with multiple cast changes and an ever expanding scope.
  • In the third song in this special, Deck the Halls, Alpha has the capability to shoot magical beams of starlight out of his hands, a power apparently caused by tapping into the Morphin Grid; because The Wedding showed us that Alpha can tap into the Morphin Grid to create both flowers and clothing, we can also surmise that he is also tapping into the Grid to produce Christmas decorations in the same fashion while the children are making their own. However, he covers it up by saying that he will use "magic" to create his decorations and, later on, Christmas gifts for the children. The Morphin Grid even forms an extra present, one that Alpha gives to Cindy, with red and green energy ribbons.
  • This special was adapted into the book-and-cassette/book-and-CD titled Lord Zedd's Holiday Humbug.[2] Several key differences exist in the two versions:
    • Lord Zedd launching an attack, resurrecting Primator to frame the Rangers in a heist of Christmas presents. In Magical Christmas, there is no monster attack and Zedd isn't even alluded to.
    • Several songs take place at different moments like "Up on the Housetop" being sung while Alpha and the children prepare cookies instead of "Good King Wenceslas". "Deck the Halls" is described as Alpha's favorite carol, and the kids and Alpha sing it after the kids teleported into the Center rather than while they're making decorations. However, the narrator says that they make decorations afterwards instead.
    • Instead of the "magical portal" being shown directly, it is only implied, and the kids are teleported out of the Command Center back to their families the same way they arrived.
    • Tommy is in his White Ranger suit instead of his Green Ranger suit.
    • Alpha contacting Aisha and Adam on the Viewing Globe about the attack.
    • A ThunderZord and Thunder Megazord battle against Primator, the monster that attacked Alpha in The Wanna-Be Ranger.
  • Despite the special's infamy with Power Rangers fans, at InvaderCON III: Final Doom, when asked a three-part question about Alpha's Christmas special, Richard replied that it was Cheryl's "pet project"; he thought it was a great idea and that he enjoyed being a part of it, saying that it was "a smart marketing idea" to not have the Power Rangers appear at any point; when asked if he had fun recording all of the songs he replied that it was very difficult to record songs in a character's voice, and when asked if he was impressed and/or confused with the story of the special he said that when Bob Manahan and he went into the booth to record they are never told an episode's story outright, but go into the booths and record their lines, which slowly builds pieces of the story.[3]

Errors

  • How can Alpha eat cookies if he has no visible mouth or teeth?
  • If Alpha had magical powers before, where did they come from? And if he had powers, wouldn't he have some kind of powers to help the Rangers during the series?
  • Why would Zordon make arrangements for children to be teleported to the Command Center when the purpose of the Center being in the desert is to protect it from being found by anyone? Why would he risk exposing himself, Alpha, and the Rangers' identities to civilians, much less children? How did he even make the arrangements in the first place?
    • How does Alpha know the names of the children, or know where they live? How do they know his name?
    • Also, how are the children going to explain where they were to their parents if they saw them come back from being gone?
  • The amount of children in the Command Center changes inconsistently. There are 12 kids teleported inside and during the Silent Night number and 18+ that leave through the teleportation portal.

See Also

References


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