Earthling makes history by dancing with alien

March 20, 1995|By MIKE ROYKO

I now have a distinction that, I believe, no other columnist in the country or the world can claim. Maybe in the history of the world.

But first, the background.

The other evening, I went to the Rosemont Horizon to see a live performance of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

There were two reasons for my going to the show:

1. As an observer of our society's pop culture, I wanted to see firsthand why America's children have made this their favorite show.

2. My 7-year-old son had begged me to take him and his buddy to see it.

Walking through the parking lot, which seemed to be filled with mini-vans, I was briefed by both kids on what to expect.

"See, there are these bad space invaders who try to take over Earth."

Oh, them again.

"The leader is Lord Zedd. He's real ugly. And Lumitar. He's ugly, too. And Rita Repulsa. She's funny."

Zedd ugly. Rita funny. Got it.

"And the Putties. The Putty Patrol. They are Lord Zedd's soldiers and are weird. The Putties are made out of putty."

That makes sense to me.

"And the Power Rangers are good and fight with Lord Zedd's invaders."

Well, a man's got to do what a man's got to do.

"Some of the Rangers are girls."

A girl's got to do it too.

And we found our seats, which happened to be in the front row, smack-dab center.

This prompted a woman behind me to say: "I was the second person in line when the tickets for this show went on sale in February. And the man ahead of me was first in line. But we're in the second row. How come you have front-row tickets?"

Just lucky, I guess. Besides, nobody said life is fair.

To the shrieks of thousands of tiny voices, the show began.

I'm not really qualified to review it as a professional critic would.

There were sensational visual effects: laser-like lights, billowing smoke, fountains of flame, bomb-like explosions, blinding flashes and ear-splitting rock music. Those who didn't want to watch the live action on stage could follow it on two giant TV screens.

The evil and ugly Lord Zedd was supported by a small army of wild and crazy space aliens who you wouldn't want landing in your back yard at night.

And the Power Rangers -- athletic and trim in their Spandex costumes -- were brave and noble, although their pansy karate kicks and punches would have got them killed if they messed with Chuck Norris, much less Bruce Lee.

As for the plot, the woman in the second row summed it up when she said:

"I haven't an idea what is going on, and I don't understand what anyone is saying. Do you?"

No, but that didn't mean it was bad, since I can say the same thing about a few operas.

But most of the children seemed to enjoy it, although I think the Mutant Ninja Turtles have more wit and style and kick the enemy's heads more realistically.

And I had an experience that I will never forget and few of my friends will believe.

There came a point when several of the Putties -- silent, gray creatures with blob-like heads -- came down off the stage and prowled right in front of us.

PTC One of them crouched and peered at me with the sort of curiosity a space creature might have upon seeing someone who looks like me.

He or it came closer and pawed my arm. Then he yanked me out of my seat and . . .

The creature began dancing a wild twist. And he motioned for me to join him.

I tried to maintain my dignity, especially in a stadium with thousands of people watching.

On the other hand, I didn't want to offend a thing with a blob of putty for a head.

So I, too, began dancing wildly. I improvised, flapping my arms like a chicken gone berserk, while letting my feet perform sort of a modern free-form polka.

Judging by the cheers, the bulb-headed Putty and I must have made a striking couple.

Then the Putty flung its arms around me in a bearhug and, I believe, tried to engage in close dancing. Possibly a fox trot.

At that point, I said, "I happen to be a happily married man" and freed myself. The Putty waved and bounced away.

When the show ended, I said to my son:

"Well, I guess you're the only kid in school who can say his dad danced with a Putty."

And he said: "Is the hot dog stand still open?"

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