Barney's replacement -- The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have bumped off the purple dinosaur and are coming to your town

By Lois Alter Mark
Updated February 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

They’re bigger than Barney, and they’re headed your way. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, those controversial, colorful superheroes of the ’90s, have hit the road with a 76-city tour, The Mighty Morphine Power Rangers Live.

The Rangers, six high school students who transform into masked karate masters to rid the universe of the evil Lord Zedd and his monsters, have become a major phenomenon, boasting the No. 1 children’s TV show and selling $1 billion in licensed merchandise in 1994. The nonstop martial-arts action on the series has provoked parental concern in the U.S. and gotten the Rangers edited in Canada, but the live show — a Mega-Zordian extravaganza complete with pyrotechnics, lasers, and four big screens — is more rock concert than theater, and the punches and kicks are, happily, more acrobatic than menacing.

You could, of course, wait for the Morphin movie, due this summer, but you’d miss seeing kids’ awestruck faces as the ”real” Rangers run by them. The ticket prices are steep (up to $35 in some cities), but who knows: Your child might even come away with a worthwhile lesson. The Rangers fight only in self-defense, and the White Ranger (now the favorite) delivers dutiful if glib reminders that ”martial arts should always be practiced by a professional” and that everyone should be kind.

What they also should’ve warned about was intermission, the scariest part of the show, when hordes of screaming kids beg for Power Rangers merchandise selling for up to $100 (for a leather jacket) in the lobby. Consider yourself lucky if you escape with only a $10 light-up sword.