Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Wanted to Be Mork

Fonz & Mork
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm old enough to remember when Robin Williams appeared on Happy Days as Mork.  He brought so much energy and life to the role.  But as a kid, it seemed like Mork was the villain, as he did battle with the ultra cool Fonz.

Loved those suspenders
It wasn't long before that role lead to the sitcom Mork and Mindy. The show became a favorite in my family as we followed the adventures of this odd couple each week.  When Mork wasn't wearing his trademark space suit, he donned a pair of rainbow colored suspenders.  There was a pointing finger on one side and a half moon on the other.  That set a fashion trend back in the late 70's and early 80's.  My brother and I both had a pair and wore them all the time, thinking we were cooler than cool.

Mork in action figure form
Marketing was a big thing back then too.  I had a Mork action figure, which came in a plastic egg with a window.  It modeled his mode of transportation on the show.  It wasn't until his death and looking at old clips of the show that I was remind I owned this toy.
We'd also go around uttering that memorable line, "Nanu nanu" in an effort to be more like our favorite out-of-this-world character.

Through the years, Williams would play countless roles.  He brought Popeye to life on the big screen.  We saw that at the movie theater when I was seven.  Robin was the frog and the prince on Showtime's Faerie Tale Theater. But there were adult roles too, like The World According to Garp.  It was Rated R, but somehow we ended up watching it on cable when I was 10.  
I'll never be able to pick a favorite role, but there are plenty that stand out to me.  My short list includes Genie in Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Armand Goldman in the Birdcage.  I must admit I have not seen Dead Poet's Society, but I plan to change that soon, and I've only got faint memories of Good Morning, Vietnam.  It's a film I plan to reexamine.  

Robin Williams was a genius who entertained the masses.  He left a lasting impression on pop culture and his works will live on forever.  I've mentioned it before, if you ever have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  Don't be ashamed and don't suffer alone.  There are people who care and want to help.  

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