Mork and Mindy was an American television programme that aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982. The show was created by Garry Marshall, who also created other successful sitcoms such as Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. The show starred Robin Williams as Mork, an extraterrestrial from the planet Ork who is sent to Earth to observe human behaviour. Mork arrives on Earth in a egg-shaped spacecraft and is found by Mindy McConnell (played by Pam Dawber), a young woman who takes him in and helps him adjust to life on Earth.
In this feature we take a look at some of the Mork and Mindy collectibles, Mork and Mindy merchandise and Mork and Mindy toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at some auction results and some guide prices.
The show was popular for its innovative use of humour and Williams’ improvisational style of acting. It was also groundbreaking in its depiction of interracial relationships and its positive portrayal of an extraterrestrial character. The show has been credited with helping to change the way Americans view aliens and has had a lasting impact on popular culture. In recent years, the show has been recognised for its influence on modern comedy and television.
Mork, first appeared in the series Happy Days in 1978 in the episode My Favorite Orkan. In the episode Richie believes he saw a flying saucer and later Mork arrives at the Cunningham house. Mork interviews Richie to see if he suitable to be taken as a specimen to Planet Ork. Richie initially agrees and as the episode evolves all regular Happy Days character are involved and Mork and the Fonz have a battle. Mork would later return to Happy Days in the sixth series in the episode Mork Returns.
The character of Mork was so popular with viewers that he was given his own spin-off series, Mork & Mindy. The show ran for four seasons from 1978 to 1982 and became one of the most popular sitcoms of the time.
How the Mork Character Appeared in Happy Days
Producer Garry Marshall watched Star Wars with his son, who asked him for a Happy Days episode with an alien in it. The cast considered the original script unusable, and production proved so difficult that the intended actor for the alien, John Byner, abruptly quit. Marshall asked the cast if they could help quickly find a replacement; Al Molinaro suggested fellow acting student Robin Williams.
After Williams impressed Marshall with his quirky sense of humor at the audition by sitting on his head when told to take a seat, Williams was quickly hired. The cast was astounded on set at Williams effortlessly improvising the whole Mork persona on the spot and thus creating a highly amusing character that transcended the poor script. So encouraged in the face of such talent, the cast and crew invited everyone around the studio to see Williams perform with the typical description of him being “He’s a genius!” This included the series’ writers who came on set to take notes of Williams’ gags and the word-of-mouth of this new performer’s outstanding talent drew TV network executives to see it for themselves. The executives were so impressed at Williams’s performance that a contract for Williams to star in his own series, Mork and Mindy, was prepared and signed just four days later.
Mork and Mindy Mattel Toys and Merchandise
As with many TV and film tie-ins Mattel introduced a number of Mork and Mindy toys in their World of Mork and Mindy range including: Mork with Talking Spacepack; Mork Talking Ragdoll; Mork from Ork Doll and Egg Ship; Mindy action figure; and Ork Egg Containing Ork Goo and Ork Creature.
The Robin Williams as Mork with Talking Spacepack featured Mork upside down in the box and a Spacepack with a pullstring that said 8 Mork catchphrases including “NA-NO, NA-NO” and “Shazbot”.
Mork Calling Ork
Mork would frequently end episodes with a telepathic report to his Orkan boss, Orson. Mork was often baffled by Earth’s customs and ways.
Other Mork and Mindy Collectibles, Merchandise and Toys