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The Children's Game You Never Realized Starred Jason David Frank

On Nov. 20, 2022, the news broke that beloved "Power Rangers" actor Jason David Frank, best known for his long tenure of appearances as the heroic Tommy Oliver, passed away at the age of 49. The actor made his "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" debut in the 1993 episode "Green with Evil, Part I: Out of Control" and would go on to reappear in the part many times over the next 29 years, including appearances in all three theatrically released "Power Rangers" films. Frank, who also enjoyed a successful career as an MMA fighter, was a favorite among fans of the franchise, but his acting career extended beyond one of Zordon's "teenagers with attitude."

In addition to film roles in projects such as "Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe" – in which he brought Valiant Comics character Bloodshot to the screen before Vin Diesel – Frank also enjoyed a voice acting career with appearances in "We Bare Bears," "Transformers: Titans Return," and a number of video games. Most of these games were "Power Rangers" projects in which he reprised the character of Tommy, but one obscure children's title actually got him in front of the camera in a very different role. Here's the story of "Piper," a game that even hardcore "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" fans might have forgotten.

Jason David Frank in 'Piper'

As described by the Seattle Times in its review, "Piper" was an interactive movie for PCs that presented "an Old West tale based very loosely on the Pied Piper legend." The game was made up of a series of four live-action episodes with a lighthearted story and fun original songs (per FMV World), broken up by puzzle segments of varying difficulty. A behind the scenes video from the year the game was released hyped up the game's interactivity and educational value, as well as the excitement of seeing Frank in a new role. Executive Producer Patrick Ford described the experience of working with Frank on the project a positive one, noting, "he's just a really nice guy and has a lot of charisma in front of the camera." 

In a 1996 interview for the Power Ranger Club newsletter, Frank excitedly described the process of filming against a blue screen as something totally new for him. In describing the lesson he hoped the game would impart, Frank said, "Life's about giving. Life's about caring. The important thing is to have the heart to care about people — because I care about people a lot."

Fans of "Power Rangers" have slowly rediscovered the game over the years, with some Redditors noting the irony that Tommy had to use a flute to summon his Dragonzord, while the titular Piper (played by Jason David Frank) likewise employed a flute to call upon rats. Nostalgic fans are likely to enjoy the sight of their favorite Ranger going up against a horde of giant rodent puppets. Though it may be a little difficult to track down a copy of the game now, the cinematics for "Piper" are all available on YouTube. Fans of Jason David Frank's work may enjoy taking a look back at one of his lesser-known roles.