Blast from the past: Power Rangers coming to Brisbane
FROM fighting bad guys as a Power Ranger to spending years in the real-life battleground in the Middle East as a medic, Austin St John has certainly been through a lot.
The original red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger is headed to Brisbane next week to appear at Supanova, alongside his buddy and fellow black ranger Walter Jones.
"I came back from the Middle East where I was working as a medic and spoke to my buddy Walter who said I know you want to take a break, you should check out the conventions I've been doing," St John told APN.
"He said 'all our fans are still out there and they're asking for you'."
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers burst onto the TV screens of many teenagers in 1993, and St John says many of those teens are now bringing their kids to meet the Power Rangers at pop culture conventions.
"I mean it's been around for 21 years. The fans I was meeting 15 years ago were mum and dad with a few kids... now, it's kids with the mums and dads who watched the show and grandparents who had to sit with the kids while watching the show so we've got three generations," he said.
"At the conventions I like to hear from all the fans and hear stories about how the show affected their lives."
As the stars of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, St John and the other actors faced criticism from those who thought the show promoted violence in young children.
"I mean, I grew up watching Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner and they were blowing each other up, throwing each other off cliffs and hurting each other and no one blinked an eyelid," St John said.
"The Power Rangers, I think everyone could identify with one power ranger as they were teenagers.
"They weren't hitting people in the heads and we were conscious to run public service announcements saying it's not about violence, it's about self-defence and control.
"I'm a parent and I really believe the buck stops with mum and dads.
"My job as a parent is to teach my kids the difference between play fighting and self-defence and if they're just fighting to hurt each other then I've failed as a parent."
As for what's on his wish list while visiting Australia, another "brush with death" takes his fancy.
"I want to find a shark to go swimming with," St John laughed.
Walter Jones, who played the black power ranger in the original series, laughs when told of St John's eagerness to battle a shark while in Australia.
"He told me that! He said 'I'm gonna swim with a great white' and you know, I'm a certified scuba diver so I'd love to visit the Great Barrier Reef and see it's unparalleled beauty while in Australia," Jones said.
"I'm also hoping to visit a local hospital and see the kids and hopefully bring some smiles to their faces."
Jones has been on the convention circuit for years, as well as continuing his acting career.
"I love the shows; it's amazing when we get to see our fans all grown up and bringing their children with them," he said.
"I met this guy once who said Power Rangers really brought his family together and they'd play games and stuff after watching the show.
"He told me 'they're all gone now and I'm the only one left and every time I watch Power Rangers it's like they're still with me'. That brought a tear to my eye."
Jones didn't think twice about asking St John to join him on the latest round of convention shows.
"All the fans kept asking 'where's Austin, where's Austin?' and you know, he was in the Middle East doing amazing things. He was being unselfish and a hero looking after all the soldiers," he said.
"But it's nice to be able to come back here and get some love back from the fans who really embrace you and take it easy. It's a good life."
The Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from November 28 to 30 and includes such big names like Jack Gleeson, who played Joffrey Baratheon in the TV series Game of Thrones.
Other stars include: Peter Cullen, best known as the voice of Optimus Prime from Transformers, Oliver and James Phelps (Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series) and Neve McIntosh (Madam Vastra in Dr Who).
Q&A with Walter Jones
What are some things you cannot live without?
My phone, chocolate-chip cookies, love of my family and friends, adventure... and snuggles (laughs).
What is your all-time favourite movie?
Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars series, When Harry Met Sally... a bit of everything.
Who inspires you?
My family: my parents, my aunts and uncles, the people who raised me. Mum taught me to live my life unafraid - a "go out and get them" attitude and really shaped me into who I am today. And at this point in my life, Barack Obama inspires me as someone I look up to as we never thought we'd see the day when an African American was the president of the United States.
What words of wisdom do you live your life?
Life is an adventure you create for yourself.