PDA

View Full Version : Mork of Ork on Happy Days


psychonaut
02-14-2006, 11:45 AM
I keep hearing that the television sitcom Mork & Mindy was spun off from Happy Days. However, I can't fathom how a sci-fi based series set in the late 1970s/early 1980s could have been based on a show about a group of teenagers in the 1950s. Can someone explain this to me? How and when did the Mork character appear on Happy Days? Was he an alien from Ork then, or were his sci-fi origins added only after he got his own TV series? And how, if at all, did they account for the 20-plus-year gap between the two shows' settings? Was it explained to the viewers or was it conveniently ignored?

Happy Lendervedder
02-14-2006, 11:48 AM
Mork traveled back in time to get an idea of how people in the 50s lived. It was ridiculous.

mazinger_z
02-14-2006, 11:53 AM
I have very fond memories of that episode. Mork had frozen everyone in time (including the Fonz) and was using Richie as a guide. Surely, this is well before the Fonz jumped the shark, so to speak.

alphaboi867
02-14-2006, 12:06 PM
Mork traveled back in time to get an idea of how people in the 50s lived. It was ridiculous.
So did Mork appear on Happy Days first or his own show?

Max Carnage
02-14-2006, 12:09 PM
Happy Days first, then his own show, then he showed up again on Happy Days and told Richie that he was now living in the future where cars and women were both faster.

CalMeacham
02-14-2006, 12:12 PM
So did Mork appear on Happy Days first or his own show?


He appeared on Happy Days first as a tryout. It was one of the unexpected pleaasures of TV.


I watched the episode when it was brand new. I wasn't expecting much. I think the TV was on as background noise. Richie goes to the door and there's a spaceman there. I rolled my eyes -- this looked like it was going to be another stupid episode. Another slap in the face to science fiction.

I hadn't reckoned on Robin Williams, of whom I'd never heard (his sole claim to fame before this was a couple of seconds in the movie If You Don't Stop You'll Go Blind, IIRC). Nobody had.


He blew me away. It was light-years beyond the awful schtick I'd been expecting. Williams was new refreshing inventive and rapid-fire. Great suff. I'm not at all surprised that after this they gave him his own show. I'm also not surprised that they removed it from the rrsdt of the HD universe and gave it its own setting.

PoorYorick
02-14-2006, 12:29 PM
I watched the episode when it was brand new. I wasn't expecting much. I think the TV was on as background noise. Richie goes to the door and there's a spaceman there. I rolled my eyes -- this looked like it was going to be another stupid episode. Another slap in the face to science fiction.

I hadn't reckoned on Robin Williams, of whom I'd never heard (his sole claim to fame before this was a couple of seconds in the movie If You Don't Stop You'll Go Blind, IIRC). Nobody had.


He blew me away. It was light-years beyond the awful schtick I'd been expecting. Williams was new refreshing inventive and rapid-fire. Great suff. I'm not at all surprised that after this they gave him his own show. I'm also not surprised that they removed it from the rrsdt of the HD universe and gave it its own setting.
I didn't mind the show too much. It reminded me of some of the old Marx Brothers movies in that I thought the plot and other characters just got in the way of letting the stars do their stuff. Robin Williams = great; the rest of the show = same old crap.

That Pam Dawber, though. Rowr.

psychonaut
02-14-2006, 12:30 PM
He appeared on Happy Days first as a tryout. It was one of the unexpected pleaasures of TV.

I watched the episode when it was brand new. I wasn't expecting much. I think the TV was on as background noise. Richie goes to the door and there's a spaceman there.How was the spaceman bit framed? Was the viewer meant to believe that Mork really was an alien, or that he was just an insane man who thought he was an alien, or was it supposed to be unclear? For example, did the show present Mork using any advanced alien technology?

Skywatcher
02-14-2006, 12:38 PM
How was the spaceman bit framed? Was the viewer meant to believe that Mork really was an alien, or that he was just an insane man who thought he was an alien, or was it supposed to be unclear? The episode title was a play on "My Favorite Martian" so, yeah, I'd say we were meant to believe that he really was an alien.

jayjay
02-14-2006, 12:41 PM
IIRC, the episode opened like a normal Happy Days ep, but at some point in the first five minutes or something, everyone froze except Richie. Then a knock at the door, and there's Mork. Mork was studying humanity and had picked Richie as his guide since he was so average. Also, IIRC, Fonzie was the only one who could fight off the time freeze, so he was the only one besides Richie who ever saw Mork.

In the reprise episode, it was Mr. & Mrs. C's anniversary (or a birthday. or something) and there was a cake and everyone was singing when time froze again. Mork was back for another survey of 1950s civilization. Again, at the end, Fonzie walks into the house ("not him again?") and is time frozen, but fights it off.

Happy Lendervedder
02-14-2006, 12:41 PM
How was the spaceman bit framed? Was the viewer meant to believe that Mork really was an alien, or that he was just an insane man who thought he was an alien, or was it supposed to be unclear? For example, did the show present Mork using any advanced alien technology?

Yeah, he was able to stop/slow time, as well as read Richie's mind. The mind-reading essentially turned it into a clip show.

thwartme
02-14-2006, 12:44 PM
IIRC, the episode was actually framed as a dream.

If my memory serves...

Richie has a dream in which a Spaceman knocks on his door, looking for fuel for his stranded spaceship. The fuel has an unusual name (breem? can't really remember) and after much shenanigans and hijinx, the fuel turns out to be bologna.

At the end, Richie wakes from his dream to the sound of someone knocking on his door. It's the spaceman again, only he's not a spaceman this time, he's just some guy looking for help with his broke-down car. Richie is never sure if the whole thing was a dream, or if it was just made to seem like a dream by the alien.

Vague details on the episode here (http://tv.com/happy-days/my-favorite-orkan/episode/20583/summary.html) .

thwartme

tdn
02-14-2006, 12:45 PM
so, yeah, I'd say we were meant to believe that he really was an alien.
Absolutely.

FWIU, Garry Marshall's 5-year-old son said to him "Hey dad, you know what would make that show good? Space aliens!" Foolishly, Marshall listened to him. They wrote a plot about an alien and shark-jumping commenced. I think they got a fairly well-know actor who bagged on them at the last minute. They had no choice but to get some unknown named Robin.

And the rest is, as they say, shazbot.

Or so says TVLand Confidential.

tdn
02-14-2006, 12:50 PM
And as I remember, Mork was cast as a villain. He was unstoppable in his malice until he met Fonzie, who out-cooled him.

Unless I made all that up. If not, carcharodon carcharias was hopped over prematurely.

Trunk
02-14-2006, 01:02 PM
First of all, Richie wasn't so "average". He was "hum drum".


As to this. . .
I have very fond memories of that episode. Mork had frozen everyone in time (including the Fonz) and was using Richie as a guide. Surely, this is well before the Fonz jumped the shark, so to speak.
Well, I don't have a time line in front of me, but I'd suspect that Mork visited after Fonzie jumped the shark, because otherwise the expression would have been "visited by Mork".

That is, I don't know how anyone could have viewed the show as reaching the definable moment of it's demise at some time AFTER Mork visited.

Also, IIRC, and Mork talked to his commander on Happy Days. So, he was definitely an alien, and not just a crazy dude.

Trunk
02-14-2006, 01:04 PM
And as I remember, Mork was cast as a villain. He was unstoppable in his malice until he met Fonzie, who out-cooled him.

I'm remember a "battle" of sorts where Mork froze the Fonz.

They all thought Mork had won, and then Fonzie's thumb came to life.

Then, the Fonz would do something to hurt Mork (like hit the jukebox or something), and Mork would freeze him again, and back and forth until Fonz defeated Mork.

(my dog's name is Fonzie. No joke.)

tdn
02-14-2006, 01:12 PM
Well, I don't have a time line in front of me, but I'd suspect that Mork visited after Fonzie jumped the shark, because otherwise the expression would have been "visited by Mork".
Shark jumping: 9/20/77

Mork first appears: 2/28/78

Both in season 5.

This is Mork's first appearance. Robin Williams (Mork) would get his own show later that fall as the spinoff series Mork & Mindy premiered on September 14th, 1978 and became an instant hit.

Mork writes with his finger.

Richie pledged ATO.

Mork drinks Pinjy on Ork.

In the original ABC broadcast of this episode, there is a last scene where we saw Robin Williams was when he appeared as a normal guy on Richie's porch after he woke up from his dream. The episode ended with some gag at Arnold's about UFOs. When ABC ran that episode for the second time the following August--after Mork & Mindy was announced for the fall schedule--they added a scene at the end where Mork talks to Orson and tells him that he made people forget about him and let Fonzie go and was heading off for a mission in 1978. Nick at Nite has broadcast the 'lost' scene where he talks to Orson, while some other (local) stations may not air this scene.

Skywatcher
02-14-2006, 04:28 PM
I'm remember a "battle" of sorts where Mork froze the Fonz.

They all thought Mork had won, and then Fonzie's thumb came to life.

Then, the Fonz would do something to hurt Mork (like hit the jukebox or something), and Mork would freeze him again, and back and forth until Fonz defeated Mork. Close. Mork wanted to bring Richie back to Ork and cornered him in Arnolds. He froze everyone there except Richie but Fonzie wouldn't completely freeze. As you said, he started wiggling his thumb. Mork took this as an indication that he wasn't the only one there who had "powers", this is where the battle started.

Fonzie snapped his fingers as a demonstration of his powers, which prompted one of the frozen girls to walk up and kiss him, then he unfroze the jukebox by hitting it. Mork ultimately played his trump card: threatening to bring down the house, thereby crushing Richie. He relented when Fonzie wouldn't leave--Mork didn't want to crush the only Human who stood up to him.

The Hamster King
02-14-2006, 04:51 PM
I keep hearing that the television sitcom Mork & Mindy was spun off from Happy Days.
And, of course, everyone knows that Happy Days itself was spun off from Love ... American Style. Right?

Khadaji
02-14-2006, 05:04 PM
And, of course, everyone knows that Happy Days itself was spun off from Love ... American Style. Right?
Indeed. I haven't thought of that show in years. I wonder if it is on DVD. I wonder if I would enjoy it as much 30+ years later.

What Exit?
02-14-2006, 09:15 PM
Indeed. I haven't thought of that show in years. I wonder if it is on DVD. I wonder if I would enjoy it as much 30+ years later.
I saw a few Episodes a few years ago. It hasn't aged well.
What was quirky and fresh in 1970 is just "corny" and silly now.

Mork & Mindy was good for the first year but then something happened, Oh yeah, Robin Williams said he got hooked on coke for a few years. That might do it. Of course the show probably just ran out of material quickly.

Jim

zamboniracer
02-14-2006, 09:32 PM
Was Mork a true spinoff from Happy Days, or did ABC just use Happy Days as a vehicle for launching the Mork series? When I think of spinoffs, I think of a show like The Jeffersons, when George and Weezie appeared as supporting characters on All in the Family and were found to be popular enough to merit their own show. To me, and based on no hard info whatsoever, the Mork v. Fonz Happy Days episode was more like just a stunt to launch a different show that was already in the works.

What Exit?
02-14-2006, 09:38 PM
Was Mork a true spinoff from Happy Days, or did ABC just use Happy Days as a vehicle for launching the Mork series? When I think of spinoffs, I think of a show like The Jeffersons, when George and Weezie appeared as supporting characters on All in the Family and were found to be popular enough to merit their own show. To me, and based on no hard info whatsoever, the Mork v. Fonz Happy Days episode was more like just a stunt to launch a different show that was already in the works.
Mork was launched as you said.

Trunk
02-15-2006, 08:56 AM
Mork was launched as you said.
Well, according to information from earlier in the thread, it sounded like Mork just showed up on Happy Days once, and he was so popular, they turned it into a show from there.

They had to go back and rewrite the Happy Days episode so that Mork would be an actual alien, and not just a figment of Richie's dream.

If it had been set up as a "launch" from the get go, they wouldn't have done that.

That makes me think "spin off".

What Exit?
02-15-2006, 09:28 AM
Well, according to information from earlier in the thread, it sounded like Mork just showed up on Happy Days once, and he was so popular, they turned it into a show from there.

They had to go back and rewrite the Happy Days episode so that Mork would be an actual alien, and not just a figment of Richie's dream.

If it had been set up as a "launch" from the get go, they wouldn't have done that.

That makes me think "spin off".
It was a character tryout on a popular show. A common practice.
On Star Trek they tried Gary 7 and on Brady bunch is was 3 adopted little kids of three races. There are many examples. Even Laverne and Shirley were introduced as a tryout.

Jim

Johnny Angel
02-15-2006, 09:33 AM
Huh. Tell me if this happened, or if this is a product of my fevered crack-addled imagination:

Mork shows up in Milwaukee, and tells the Fonz he wants to learn about this 'Earth thing called love.' So, the Fonz sets up a double date with Laverne and Shirley, who later on get their own show.

Was I smoking the jimson, or was there such an episode?

tdn
02-15-2006, 09:36 AM
It was a character tryout on a popular show. A common practice.
No, it wasn't. Since Williams was an unknown and an 11th hour substitute, it's not like the network was desperate to give him a series.

tdn
02-15-2006, 09:55 AM
Mork shows up in Milwaukee, and tells the Fonz he wants to learn about this 'Earth thing called love.' So, the Fonz sets up a double date with Laverne and Shirley, who later on get their own show.
According to IMDB, Penny Marshall and Robin Williams were never on Happy Days together. However, here is the guest star list for the pilot episode of Mork:

Woody Eney .... Prosecuting Attorney
Jeff Harlan .... Bill
Hank Jones .... Defense Attorney
Geoffrey Lewis .... Officer Tilwick
Penny Marshall .... Laverne De Fazio
Michael Prince .... Judge
Leslie Vallen .... Court Reporter
Henry Winkler .... Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli
Dick Yarmy .... Dr. Litney

Skywatcher
02-15-2006, 10:57 AM
Huh. Tell me if this happened, or if this is a product of my fevered crack-addled imagination:

Mork shows up in Milwaukee, and tells the Fonz he wants to learn about this 'Earth thing called love.' So, the Fonz sets up a double date with Laverne and Shirley, who later on get their own show.

Was I smoking the jimson, or was there such an episode?While Mork does tell the Fonz that he want's to learn about love and Fonz does set him up with a double date, it's not with Laverne or Shirley. They had already been spun off.

Skywatcher
02-15-2006, 10:59 AM
According to IMDB, Penny Marshall and Robin Williams were never on Happy Days together. However, here is the guest star list for the pilot episode of Mork:

Woody Eney .... Prosecuting Attorney
Jeff Harlan .... Bill
Hank Jones .... Defense Attorney
Geoffrey Lewis .... Officer Tilwick
Penny Marshall .... Laverne De Fazio
Michael Prince .... Judge
Leslie Vallen .... Court Reporter
Henry Winkler .... Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli
Dick Yarmy .... Dr. LitneyThis episode is sometimes included in Happy Days syndication packages.

Skywatcher
02-15-2006, 11:02 AM
I should have read tdn's post more carefully before replying to Johnny.

Trunk
02-15-2006, 11:26 AM
Here (http://poobala.com/happydaysandmork.html) the guy seems to think that Mork was definitely a spin-off. Not that I have any reason to think he has any better knowledge than WhatExit? about the situation.

He says the writers had to go back and rewrite the end of the episode so that Mork actually was an alien, and not just a guy. Seems weird that they would do that if "Mork & Mindy" was already in the works and they were putting him on Happy Days as a tryout.

(can't believe I'm arguing about this)

What Exit?
02-15-2006, 12:21 PM
Here (http://poobala.com/happydaysandmork.html) the guy seems to think that Mork was definitely a spin-off. Not that I have any reason to think he has any better knowledge than WhatExit? about the situation.

He says the writers had to go back and rewrite the end of the episode so that Mork actually was an alien, and not just a guy. Seems weird that they would do that if "Mork & Mindy" was already in the works and they were putting him on Happy Days as a tryout.

(can't believe I'm arguing about this)
I'll buy it, I forgot about that awful Out of the Blue spin-off/Launch attempt with the Angel.

Jim

Mr. Goob
02-15-2006, 01:10 PM
I second what was said earlier, Robin Williams has admitted that so much of his early free form ad-lib lunacy was due to massive amounts of cocaine.

Crown Prince of Irony
02-15-2006, 02:51 PM
Mork was launched as you said.

Hmph. Everybody knows that Mork was launched in a giant egg. :D

rjung
02-15-2006, 08:15 PM
And, of course, everyone knows that Happy Days itself was spun off from Love ... American Style. Right?
And, of course, everyone knows that Love... American Style itself was "inspired by" American Graffiti. Right?

What Exit?
02-15-2006, 08:23 PM
And, of course, everyone knows that Love... American Style itself was "inspired by" American Graffiti. Right?
I don't think that is true. Here is the pertinent section of Ronny's IMDB list.

American Graffiti (1973) (as Ronny Howard) .... Steve Bolander
"M*A*S*H" - Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (1973) TV Episode (as Ronny Howard) .... Private Wendell Peterson
"Bonanza" ... aka Ponderosa (USA: rerun title)
- The Initiation (1972) TV Episode (as Ronny Howard) .... Ted Hoag
"The Bold Ones: The New Doctors" ... aka The New Doctors
- Discovery at Fourteen (1972) TV Episode (as Ronny Howard) .... Cory Merlino
"Love, American Style" - Love and Happy Days/Love and the Newscasters (1972) TV Episode .... Richie Cunningham (segment "Love and Happy Days")

Jim

Skywatcher
02-15-2006, 08:40 PM
And, of course, everyone knows that Love... American Style itself was "inspired by" American Graffiti. Right?In 1971? I think you mean Happy Days was "inspired" by American Graffiti.

rjung
02-16-2006, 03:51 PM
Probably; in my defense, I'll say I was only seven at the time. :)

lisacurl
02-16-2006, 06:13 PM
Huh. Tell me if this happened, or if this is a product of my fevered crack-addled imagination:

Mork shows up in Milwaukee, and tells the Fonz he wants to learn about this 'Earth thing called love.' So, the Fonz sets up a double date with Laverne and Shirley, who later on get their own show.

Was I smoking the jimson, or was there such an episode?
I think you're thinking of the episode where Fonz sets Richie up with an "experienced woman"... Shirley, and they go out on a double-date with Fonzie and Laverne.

Laverne and especially Shirley were *way* trashier in this ep, so they may not yet have been set to spin-off and might have just been guest stars.

Bearflag70
02-16-2006, 07:02 PM
So, Mork can time travel. I can't imagine an alien, capable of interstellar travel and time travel, choosing to live in 1979. It reminds me of Scotty trying to speak into a 1986 computer mouse.

Skywatcher
02-16-2006, 07:16 PM
So, Mork can time travel. I can't imagine an alien, capable of interstellar travel and time travel, choosing to live in 1979.I though Orson put him there, sort of like Time Lords exiling the Doctor #3 to Earth in 1969.

Best Topics: laundry detergent alternatives marinara wikipedia procul harun penile cyst last american slave becky sin city arabian headwear trashy girls names bleach floor aircraft carrier propellers remote ethernet connection guy wire definition seeing stars dizzy cinderella's sisters names styptic stick first name abbreviations elephant lying down batteries heating up homes without basements mycroft holmes fat altoids flavor chicago driving washable body markers deformed roaches rusted toilet scrotum mascot coldest fire code symbol gas siphoning boxing martial art phallis frontalis major dae-su may the fleas of a thousand camels 5'7 compared to 6'0 watch on inside of wrist marines and navy relationship cirque du soleil clowns la bamba song lyrics in english fire bullet without gun bread machine mix variety pack fedex sign for package greyed out 1 decade how many years sentences with all the letters of the alphabet once diesel vs gas engine life expectancy montage song south park youngest person to commit suicide how much force does it take to break a neck racially ambiguous last names how to get rid of dingleberries how to turn grey hair white is ups the same as usps scott carrier the friendly man what happens if you eat your own feces chapel hill to raleigh commute 1 mph over speed limit how to fatten up an old cat fuck me dry blow up dolls why does ice crack when you put it in water difference between israel and palestine how to counteract sodium intake can i use drano in a dishwasher did i euthanize too soon bees nest in siding of house silent film title cards