Forty years ago, you could say that it was almost like catching lightning in a bottle when Robin Williams was introduced to the world with the debut of the ABC sitcom Mork and Mindy. We say almost because not even lightning could keep up with this comic actor's manic energy. You may have gotten a taste of it in his movies, but nothing quite compared to Robin Williams' early years as the alien Mork from the planet Ork.
First introduced on an episode of Happy Days, he caused quite a sensation — and even convinced producer Garry Marshall that he was the right man to stand at the center of his own sitcom. Helping tremendously was the fact that Garry had also found the right woman, in the form of actress Pam Dawber, to be Mork's anchor and the audience's point of view into the insanity unfolding week after week. The show lasted four years, during which Robin was itching to get into film, but he never seemed to resent the show or the mania it caused.
"You can't say that something that took you from zero to a hundred was damaging to your progress," he explained to Rolling Stone. "It certainly wasn't a hindrance economically, either. And no matter what happened on the TV series, I always had the other image: the nightclub comedian. If I'd [just] done Mork and nothing else, it might've been dangerous. But I always had a total other outlet beyond that character. I thank God for cable TV [and stand-up specials]. Without it, I think it would be death for comedians."
And what went on behind-the-scenes might just be even zanier than what you saw on screen. Take a look back at all the secret TV magic that went into creating the world of Mork & Mindy.