Looking Back on Jason David Frank
Sadly, six days ago, things have come full circle with the update on Jason David Frank. Colleagues, trainers, and reliable sources have been confirming his passing. He may not have been the greatest person in the world in real life, but his portrayal of Tommy Oliver can never be overshadowed. Ever since growing up with Power Rangers from Mighty Morphin to Wild Force to Dino Thunder plus rewatching Mighty Morphin, Zeo, Turbo, Wild Force, Dino Thunder, and a bit of Megaforce, I have come to appreciate everything JDF contributed as Tommy Oliver. It also helped that he did so much for the Power Rangers franchise from his Karate instructional videos in the 1990s to his guest appearances in Comic Cons all around the world to his appearances in select Power Rangers seasons.
The fact that he opened up Karate schools ever since he was an 18-year-old dude was clear to see that he cared about the martial arts and used his platform as a Power Ranger actor to help children and teenagers especially to be thoroughly involved in the martial arts, mostly Shotokan and Wado-Ryu Karate. This even got to the point where he developed his own martial arts style called Toso Kune Do and even implemented the eight codes of the arts as the main principles: brother- and sisterhood, dedication, respect, cooperation, discipline, confidence, attitude, and self-respect. All these principles are what will remain in my heart, mind, and soul for many years to come.
I am not writing this for the sake of clout. Far from it. I respect what JDF did in his Power Rangers tenure, as he nurtured the franchise well. Nevertheless, he was still human. There was no doubt that he had great friends in Walter Emanuel Jones, Amy Jo Johnson, Jason Faunt, Johnny Yong Bosch, Catherine Sutherland, Nakia Burrise, and Karan Ashley just to name a few. However, there were behind-the-scenes drama scenarios that occurred between him and Austin St. John aka Jason Lee Scott the first Red Ranger because they were both volatile young men who were extremely talented martial artists who wanted to be acknowledged by everybody involved. Nevertheless, as they grew, ASJ still respected JDF as a fellow Power Rangers actor, despite not ending up as friends. Although he had his issues with Steve Cardenas aka Rocky DeSantos the second Red Ranger in terms of his former rowdy party boy ways, and the fact that he was behaving in this manner on a show targeted towards children and younger teenagers, both JDF and Cardenas ended up becoming good friends after seeing eye-to-eye. He may have also had his problems and issues with James Napier aka Connor McKnight and Christopher Khayman Lee aka Andros in terms of not seeing eye-to-eye or some of the not-so-cool things JDF has done, but at least there was respect and the ability to forgive each other, thus burying the hatchet. Therefore, JDF was capable of doing great and wonderful things but also not-so-wonderful things in the grander scheme, but he was still first and foremost a human being with his own ambitions, goals, dreams, and biases who just wanted the best for not only himself but also his family and the entire Power Rangers franchise which has been his mainstay for many years to come.
As time went on, it was clear to see on social media that he needed help in terms of his mental health and the issues that have been occurring in real life. I just wish that Jason David Frank had obtained the help he needed so badly after what occurred at the recent Power Morphicon. Yes, he may have had his detractors, he had his issues, and his ego did get the best of him. However, I still wish he had stood up and beat his demons. I have never met him in person, but I heard great to good to not-so-great things about him. Whether it involved his up-and-down ethics as a martial arts instructor or how he continuously kept the Power Rangers franchise afloat, despite relatively pigeonholing himself with this franchise, he was somebody fans, critics, casual viewers, and martial arts aficionados enjoyed talking about, encountering, and/or making their own perceptions about him as an actor and as a person.
For better or for worse, Jason David Frank emitted fortitude and determination as Tommy Oliver. No other Power Rangers actor could ever emit the same energy he did. He was also the bearer of amazing story arcs that saw Tommy change from being a loner to a brainwashed minion to a hero who reformed his ways to being a leader who continued to maintain his hero status to a full-on mentor who continued to fight on the side of good. Despite how overrated Tommy was, I want to thank Mr. Frank for the memories I had of watching him on television.
Despite all the issues Jason David Frank had about other people he worked with, despite all the fan division of opinions about him, and despite all the actions JDF could have and should have owned up to, may he rest in peace, and I pray that his family will stay strong. I also pray that forgiveness and peace will continue to stay within the Power Rangers and the fans' hearts, minds, and souls.
P.S. I don't want to refuel the contention that Jason David Frank had with Austin St. John, Steve Cardenas, James Napier, and Christopher Khayman Lee among other people. I just pray that they will also find peace and forgiveness despite all the rubbish that happened. May Jason David Frank rest in peace.