Mork & Mindy

Tagged: TV

US tv series (1978-1982). Miller-Milkis Productions and Henderson Production Co. in association with Paramount Television/ABC. Created Garry K Marshall, Dale McRaven, Joe Gauberg. Produced by Marshall. Writers included McRaven, April Kelly, Tom Tenowich, Ed Scharlach, Bruce Johnson. Directors included Howard Storm, Bob Claver. One 50-minute pilot episode followed by 92 25-minute episodes. Colour.

Filling the gap in sitcoms about Aliens viewing Earth between My Favorite Martian (1963-1966) and ALF (1986-current), although its premise is more in line with Gore Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet (1956 play; 1960), MAM was a spin-off from Happy Days (1974-1983); Mork from Ork (Robin Williams) first appeared in this 1950s-set sitcom in an episode entitled "My Favorite Orkan". Response to the character – an innocent in very 1970s multicoloured braces, bewildered and amazed by the entire Universe, and given to cries of "nanu nanu" – was so positive that Garry K Marshall developed a series around him, in which he arrived on Earth in a giant-egg Spaceship and went to Boulder, Colorado, where he moved in with the family of Mindy McConnell (Pam Dawber) and got a job in their music store. Although early episodes present Mork as a childlike, presexual character, the writers eventually had the couple marry and Mork give birth, in the backwards Orkan fashion, to the middle-aged Mearth (Jonathan Winters), who grew younger. Regular players included Conrad Janis and Elizabeth Kerr (as Mindy's father and grandmother), Robert Donner, Tom Poston, and the voice of Ralph James as Orson, Mork's Orkan leader. Often trite in its moralizing, the show was sometimes inspired in its skewed vision of life on Earth; and Williams, not yet the major screen personality he has become, was allowed to demonstrate his versatility as a clown. [KN]

see also: Satire.

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