The Choob was pleased to see reports last week that Robin Williams, 57, was recovering well from surgery to replace a faulty heart valve.
Therefore, this week’s classic theme tune comes from the show that featured his breakthrough – and for my money, still his defining – role: Mork from Ork.
Mork & Mindy ran for four seasons, and 95 episodes, from September 1978 until May 1982.
Pam Dawber starred as Mindy McConnell. Her role as a foil to, and later love interest for, Williams was overshadowed by his zany antics as the madcap alien. But the quality of her performance and her ability to take his frequent improvised departures from script in her stride, allowing the cameras to continue rolling to capture his energetic spontaneity was undoubtedly a major factor in the show’s success.
A lot of people don’t realise that Mork & Mindy was a spin-off from another popular 1970s sitcom, Happy Days. Mork met Richie Cunningham and the Fonz in a season 5 episode (broadcast early in 1978) that originally ended with Richie waking up and realising that he had dreamed his close encounter of the absurd kind.
However, when the decision was made to give Mork his own spin-off show, an extra scene was filmed and added to reruns of the Happy Days episode. It showed Mork contacting his Orkan boss Orson and telling him he was going to leave the 1950s and travel to 1978, thus removing the “it was all a dream” explanation, setting up the premise for Mork & Mindy and explaining the Happy Days appearance as part of the character’s continuity.
In fact, the Fonz appears in the pilot episode of Mork and Mindy, in flashbacks as Mork tells Mindy of a different visit to the 1950s, when the Fonz set him up on a date with Laverne De Fazio (right), a character from another Happy Days spin-off, Laverne & Shirley. And in turn, Mork appeared again in Happy Days, in a 1979 episode.
Get well soon, Mork!