Have you ever watched a recent Robin Williams film and yearned for the days when the actor wasn’t so full of himself and stealing every scene he was in? Well, you’re out of luck, because there was never such a time for Williams; however, you can journey to a time when at least he was hungry and wasn’t so over the top. OK. Even in the days of Mork and Mindy Williams was never capable of reining himself in. Still, I thought I would look back on these episodes with that warm nostalgic feeling I tend to get and just remember the good times. And yes, there were good times. But the more I watched this third year of Mork and Mindy I was becoming all too aware that in 35 years nothing has changed except that the routine has gotten old. Watching Williams prance around with his silly voices and wide eyed faces might have been fresh in the 1970’s, but honestly, haven’t we all had just a little too much of it by now? A television film about the show didn’t present either of the stars in a very positive light, and perhaps it is that image that has tainted the show for me. Whatever the reason, I just didn’t find this stuff nearly as funny as I did 30 plus years ago. Somebody’s matured, and it wasn’t Robin Williams.
Mork first appeared as a one-off character in a Happy Days episode. He was so popular with the show’s fans that Mork and Mindy became the second spin-off from the hip show about the 1950’s. In fact there were times when all three shows took the 1-3 ratings spot at the same time. In Mork and Mindy, the alien Mork from the planet Ork crash-lands in
By the third year Williams was obviously out of control, and the show changed often in an attempt to strike a balance that was sadly never achieved. There are some rather nice moments in the run, however. Gunfight At The Morkay Corral has Mork in a ghost town playing shootout with a young Corey Feldman who wants to be like Billy The Kid. The clever episode, Mork Meets Robin Williams is good for a few laughs as the Orkan tries to get an interview with the real life Williams. Sanford and Son did the bit far better in Fred Meets Redd. Mork learns about gossip with disastrous results in I Heard It Through The Morkvine. The third year means the return of Conrad Janis to full time after Mindy’s parents were removed from the mix in the second year. The show would be retooled again for its fourth year, adding a baby Jonathan Winters to the family.
Each episode of Mork and Mindy is presented in its original full frame broadcast format. There’s a lot of wear evident in these prints. You won’t need to look far to find grain. Colors are a bit soft, yet at times Mork’s red jumpsuit and rainbow suspenders seem to offer just a little brighter color. It’s an old print, and not a lot of money was invested in any kind of restoration. What you get looks pretty much on par with the broadcast results, if you would have had digital cable back then.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is basically there to service the dialog, and it does. I had forgotten how lame the basically three note theme was, but it reproduces fine here. I didn’t catch any distortion, and again my expectations for this sort of thing are low to begin with. There’s nothing in the audio that will take away from your enjoyment of the shows.
Robin Williams fans have been dying to get their hands on this stuff for years. It’s long been their Holy Grail, and now you are one set short of completing the series. The show offers harmless fun and is often mildly entertaining. It’s all in how much Robin Williams you can take in one dose. I like the guy; quite often it’s just that he works best in moderation. “You understand, Pops, don’t you?”