Entertainment was always looking for another series to
complement their Power Rangers franchise; which
repurposed re-edited footage from Toei
Company’s Super Sentai Series and intermixed it
with new American footage. In 1994, they tried adapting Toei Company’s Metal
Hero Series into VR
its success, stock footage from the original Japanese series quickly ran out
and it was cancelled after only two seasons. In 1995, they tried again with
Toei’s Kamen Rider. The Kamen Rider franchise was created by
manga artist Shotaro
Ishinomori and typically featured a motorcycle-riding superhero
with an insect theme. The franchise began in 1971 and its popularity led to the
increased popularity of masked heroes over giant monsters, known as the
|Dex with a fellow Edenite.
Much as they did with the Super Sentai Series Saban took the
original concept and heavily reworked it to be lighter and more comedic. Renamed
Masked Rider, the series focused on
Dex (Ted Jan Roberts), a prince from the planet Edenoi who
came to the fictional town of Leawood on Earth in order to stop his evil uncle,
Count Dregon (Ken Ring), from enslaving the populace like he had on their home
planet. He was taken in by the Stewart family—Hal (David Stenstrom), Barbara
(Candace Kita), Molly (Rheannon J. Slover) and Albee (Ashton McArn II)—and
tried to blend in (poorly) as a typical teenager while secretly protecting the
city. In the original unaired pilot, Edenoi was going to be totally destroyed
and Dex was going to be guided by the spirit of his grandfather, King Lexian
in a manner reminiscent of Superman.
|Dex armored up as the Masked Rider.
was in possession of the power of the Masked Rider, which was passed down
amongst members of his family. By saying “Ectophase activate”, he was able to
don powerful armor that amplified his already naturally enhanced strength and
super-speed, as well as gave him access to his Electro Saber. Dex could also
generate light waves and, through the crystal in his forehead, utilize
telepathic and telekinetic abilities as well as scan, x-ray and detect nearby
dangers. With him was Ferbus (played by Verne Troyer & Paul Pistore), Dex’s
small furry alien friend, Magno (Wendee Lee), Dex’s ant-like talking car, and
Combat Chopper (Jason Narvy), his grasshopper-like sentient motorcycle. Dex’
close friend, Donais
(Winston Story), came to Earth two times to give Dex an upgrade for his powers.
The “Super Gold” changed his armor to black and yellow and gave him a powerful
heat laser known as the Ecto Ray.
“Super Blue” made his suit red, silver and blue and gave him access to the
|Count Dregon's definitely not getting invited to the next family reunion.
in Dregon’s camp was Nefaria (Jennifer Tung), a human-looking armor-clad woman
whose primary weapon was her helmet feather, which also served as a pen. She
rarely engaged in battle, but did provide Dregon with many of his plans.
Cyclopter (Steve Kramer) was a one-eyed robot biker who could detach and
operate his head independently. Double Face (Michael Sorich) had two faces and
typically favored swords and daggers in combat. Gork (Michael McConnohie) was a
constantly hopping and rhyming alien creature who proved a coward in battle and
an annoyance to all of Dregon’s forces. Fact (Julie Maddalena) was a small
robot that provided statistical data and probabilities for Dregon’s plans
before he finalized them. The chief cannon fodder of Dregon’s army were the
and the Commandoids.
As with Power Rangers, most episodes
dealt with Dregon sending a monster, known as an Insectovore,
after Dex or the citizenry of the town. Insectovores were stored in jars in
until they were launched.
|Dex with the Stewart family.
characters included Patsy
Letlow), the resident “mean girl” of Leawood High School who
disliked the Stewarts but had a thing for Dex; Herbie
Patsy’s nerdy friend who often ends up roped into her schemes; Principal
Henry Chalmers (Don Yanan),
the principal of the school who was interested in Dex’s odd behavior; and Moon Dude
the owner of the arcade where the Stewart kids frequently hung out. Dex’s Masked
Rider predecessors also made an appearance to help him once
against a powerful threat. This was accomplished via footage from their
guest-appearance in the final seven episodes of Kamen
Rider BLACK RX.
|Masked Rider with the Power Rangers.
Masked Rider actually
began as a spin-off of Power Rangers.
The concept and characters were introduced in the season 3 premiere of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, making it the
first non-Ranger crossover in the franchise.
The three-part “A Friend in Need” saw the Rangers traveling to help Edenoi since
it was the place where Alpha 5
(Richard Steven Horvitz)
was made. The Rangers helped the Masked Rider battle Dregon and his forces
before returning to Earth to deal with their own bad guys. Dregon, tracking
them, decided to follow and enslave the Earth the way he did Edenoi, prompting
Dex to follow Dregon and help prevent it.
Masked Rider series officially began the following week on
September 16, 1995 as part of the Fox Kids
programming block on FOX.
In light of the declining popularity of Power
Rangers at the time, it was
decided to completely distance Masked
Rider from it and have it stand on its own. As a result, there was no
mention of the Power Rangers at any time during the show, and the 2-part pilot
episode, “Escape from Edenoi”, featured different events leading up to Dex’s
arrival and the conflict on Earth. Masked Rider did encounter the Power Rangers
again in the pages of the only Masked Rider comic
published by Marvel Comics
before they lost the rights to the Saban properties.
|Pounding on monsters in new Super Gold armor.
series was written by Shell
Glen A. May,
Sherlock. Levy also composed the series’ music along with Udi
Sweet. Masked Rider heavily
used re-edited stock footage from the ninth Kamen
Rider series, Kamen Rider BLACK RX, and
the films Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen
Rider J (footage
from the films meant the Rider sometimes appeared in unexplained new suits
during some battles). However, due to
budgetary concerns and an inability to acquire all of the suits from the show
like they had with Power Rangers, new
American footage couldn’t be shot with the Insectovores as needed. Roborider
(a brainwashed version of Donais) and the first form of Hydrasect
were the only Insectovores to appear in new footage. Suits for new characters created
specifically for the show were made by Chiodo Bros. Productions.
early episodes featured a strong Power
Rangers vibe, the show steadily settled into a tone comparable to a sitcom.
Masked Rider ended up being a flop in
both the ratings and sales for Bandai’s
As a result, it only ran for a single season of 40 episodes, as well as
syndicated reruns beginning that September. Saban would go on to recycle the
show’s background music for their dub of Digimon:
Digital Monsters and Digimon: The
Movie. In 1996, Saban
Home Entertainment and WarnerVision Family
Entertainment released two VHS
tapes collecting both parts of “Escape from Edenoi” and
“Super Gold”, respectively. A third containing “Ferbus’ First Christmas” and
“Ferbus Maximus” was planned and advertised in the other
releases, but was cancelled. In 2005, FOX Kids International, Jetix Europe
Entertainment released “Escape from Edenoi” and
“License to Thrill” onto DVD
in the United Kingdom.