20 Out Of This World Facts Only Hardcore ‘Mork And Mindy’ Fans Will Know
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Mork & Mindy only lasted four seasons, but from language (shazbot!) to fashion (those rainbow suspenders), the series certainly left its mark on pop culture—including introducing the world to a comedian named Robin Williams. Had the Orkan alien delivered a report on his own show to Orson, here are 20 things he would have shared.
1. The Dick Van Dyke show inspired the creation
The Mork & Mindy show is a spinoff of an episode of Happy Days where an alien named Mork visits Milwaukee. Yet, that episode was actually inspired by The Dick Van Dyke show episode called “It May Look Like a Walnut,” where an alien named Danny appears. That show’s director, Jerry Paris became the director of Happy Days later on and decided to make another successful extraterrestrial episode!
The producer of Happy Days, Garry Marshall had a son who was obsessed with Star Wars and further inspired the “My Favorite Orkan” episode by asking his dad to put a spaceman on TV.
2. Dom Deluise was one of the original Morks
Before they eventually got to Robin Williams, the producers had other actors lined up to play Mork. Dom Deluise was one of them, along with Roger Rees and both of them actually signed up to be guests. In the end, though, they both backed out for different reasons, which ended up being a good thing because then Williams was sought for the role!
Richard Lewis was also considered and even auditioned at the same time as Williams but admitted that the young comedian was a better fit for the role than him.
3. Robin Williams was the only Alien to audition
It was actually the creator, Garry Marshall’s sister who discovered the 27-year-old Robin Williams in the acting class their sister, Penny was taking. He was brought in for an audition and was cast on the spot after impressing the producers! Apparently, he was the only alien to audition, as Marshall remarks and that is what impressed him!
Well that, and the fact that after Williams was told to take a seat, he literally sat on his head in the chair! I guess aliens aren’t familiar with chairs!
4. Pam Dawber was cast without her knowledge
While Williams immediately knew when he landed the role as Mork, his co-star didn’t. The actress, Pam Dawber was also in the beginning of her acting career but she did have a contract with ABC at the time. She starred in a pilot episode for a potential TV show called, Sister Terri but it ended up being discarded. The pilot, however, ended up being spliced with shots of Mork’s Happy Days episode.
When Dawber found out she was cast as Mindy, she said, “I hadn’t auditioned, I hadn’t met, and I knew nothing and who in the hell is Robin Williams?’”
5. Boulder was randomly chosen as the location
Usually, when a TV show script is written out, the creators have some kind of idea where they want the location to be. Well, that didn’t happen with Mork & Mindy and in fact, there was not much thought process into choosing a setting. When the producers were writing up a description of their new show, Marshall suggested Boulder, Colorado since that is where his niece’s school was.
I guess it is a good thing his niece attended school in the United States!
6. Williams didn’t ad lib his entire role
If Williams was said to have ad-libbed lines, people would generally believe it considering how talented the comedian was. When the show became really popular and the actor rose to fame, people speculated that he improvised the majority of Mork’s lines/actions and the writers would just write “Robin does his thing.” This was actually not true.
One of the writers, David Misch said, “We’re up until four in the morning writing Robin’s ad libs.” Guess he felt a bit insulted!
7. They had a lot of lines censored
Nowadays, TV shows are rarely censored unless it is a family show or live television, but in the early days of television, broadcasters censored a whole lot. Mork & Mindy got censored by ABC after a character in one episode said she was pregnant. While the word “pregnant” doesn’t seem like something that should be censored, back then it was rarely said on TV because it implied sex, which was a touchy subject at the time.
Instead, the line had to be changed to “Mork, I’m having a baby,” which makes it sound better.
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