Mork and Happier Days

The world is saddened today by the news that Robin Williams has passed away. He was such a part of our lives that everyone has their own favorite movie scenes or performances, and I cannot add much that you already do not know or that you cannot find elsewhere.

But Williams is one of the few performers where I remember the first moment I saw him. And I was blown away. As a kid turning on Happy Days, a show that was in its fifth season and showing signs of old age, I suddenly saw something completely new. This strange alien character called Mork and the actor playing him was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. The next day at school, everyone was talking about him and his appearance on the Happy Days episode called “My Favorite Orkan.” Here is a scene with Henry Winkler as Fonzie and Robin Williams as Mork.

Robin Williams and Mork, of course, got their own spinoff series which I followed until that one went into its own old age. In many ways, I feel Williams and I grew up together, as I enjoyed his juvenile antics but then got to appreciate his more serious adult work in movies I’ve written about in different contexts like Dead Poets Society (1989), Insomnia (2003), and the underrated World’s Greatest Dad (2009).

It is very sad to hear how he passed, but I am very thankful he lived and gave us so much. Rest in Peace. Na-nu Na-nu.

What is your first memory of Robin Williams? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    2 thoughts on “Mork and Happier Days”

    1. I feel like a candle burned out tonight, and we are a little more alone here in the dark. It’s hard to put into words, but Robin Williams was sort of the “friend who was always there,” someone you could count on. It doesn’t seem possible that something like this could happen to him, such a genuine person, so full of life and energy! That magical energy that only he could exude. I have heard that at the core of a commedian is a darkness, a loneliness, a void that cannot be filled. I pray his soul is at peace now.

      1. I agree. As I mentioned in the post, I feel like I grew up with him always there, and after the news I kept thinking of more movies that I love, like “The Fisher King.” Many of the movies that have dark undertones will now be different when I watch them. Several people have commented on the old story about a man who goes to a doctor because he is depressed and the doctor advises the man to go see Pagliacci the clown to cheer him up, but then the man reveals that he is Pagliacci. Although depression is more complicated than that, it is unfortunate that many of the folks who bring us such great joy end up missing that joy themselves. We’ll miss him.

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