As everyone who grew up in the 80s/early 90s knows, neither Hitler nor Hannibal is the universe’s most evil genius. They were bad dudes. But they never did anything that would qualify them as evil on a galactic scale: traveling through time and space and wreaking havoc on alien planets. When speaking of the Most Evil Genius in the Universe, it’s clear that the title belongs to one being only. One disembodied brain named Krang.
Krang is brilliant and crazy. Both traits of a typical genius. Throw “sinister” into the mix and you get evil genius, a foe who’s so cunning that only its own lunacy can stop it.
If you watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons on Saturday mornings (as every child born between 81 and 88 should have), you’re aware of Krang’s mysterious back story. Ruler of Dimension X, came to Earth with his technodrome (which lost its record as the world’s largest gadget when the Large Hadron Collider was built), decided to destroy said Earth with his new friend, Shredder, for ambiguous reasons, etc.
Krang’s cryptic history gives rise to a myriad of questions. Why hate humanity so bad? Why is the Technodrome always breaking down? Why build yourself a bald robo-suit wearing just underwear and metal shoulder pads?
I hope to address some of these issues in future posts. At the start of my quest for a more complete understanding of Krang, however, I decided to go to the source: Krang himself. So, I recently caught up with Pat Fraley, the voice of the original Krang. Here’s what he had to say about the universe’s evil genius enchilada:
Tvsky: You did voice work for Ninja Turtles cartoons for several years. Which characters did you do, and which was your favorite?
PF: Off the top of my head, I voiced Krang, Burne Thompson, Casey Jones, and various smaller roles like Baxter Stockman, Ray Filet, and Slash. I think Krang was my favorite. I was given a huge latitude in the performance, and early on, with ad-libbing dialogue, which helped set the character. After a season or so, the writers picked up on Krang’s way of relating to Shedder, and that was a joy.
Tvsky: Krang was a particularly enigmatic villain. Can you shed some light on what it’s like being a limbless brain?
PF: He was a loser, and he knew it. Krang’s anger was always bubbling under all he did. The comedic aspect to Krang came from playing him like a long-suffering Jewish mother.
Tvsky: 10-15 years after the cartoon series ended, where do you think Krang would be now? Still trying to fix the Technodrome? Still chilling with Shredder?
PF: I can’t imagine Krang being any different, but then again, I’m not a writer. In a way, he’s kind of like Daffy Duck: After 70 years, the duck is still arrogant, vain, prideful, and trying to get his way.
Tvsky: Technology has advanced a lot since the early 90s, and Krang undoubtedly would be due for a suit upgrade. What technology and features do you think he would opt for nowadays?
PF: He’d probably be up to the point where his android body would have a Mylar headband.
Tvsky: What’s a typical day like for the universe’s most evil brain? For example, what does Krang eat? Is he hip to things like Facebook and Twitter?
PF: There is no existence for Krang other than what we have seen. It’s kind of like wondering if The Lone Ranger ever went to the bathroom when the commercials were playing. I don’t think so. Beyond his reality.
Tvsky: If Krang were to be invited onto a reality television show, which do you think he’d prefer to appear on?
PF: Definitely some kind of anger-issue loser reality show. He’d be wearing a doo-rag, and talking about how much he enjoys the control he has now that we works out of his own home studio.
Tvsky: If there was one final thought the brain could leave with those of us who grew up with TMNT, what do you think it would be?
PF: (gurgle) Stoppp annoying me with yooour pathetic questionnnsss and leave mee allonne!! (slurp, gurgle, burb)
Check out some memorable Krang quotes along with Mr. Fraley’s voice skill in the following video!