About Christmas TV History

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mork & Mindy (1979)

I recently reviewed writer/producer/director Garry Marshall's new book My Happy Days in HollywoodClick HERE to see that review again.  His reminiscences on his work in television sent me to seek out Christmas episodes from some of his past series.  Many of these Christmas episodes are some of my personal favorites--episodes I love to watch over and over again. So far, I've recounted Christmas episodes from The Odd Couple, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.  Click those titles for the link to return to those posts.

The 1978 Mork & Mindy holiday episode is entitled "Mork's First Christmas."

Another TV series by creator/producer Garry Marshall is Mork & Mindy.  I wrote about the 1978 Christmas episode of Mork & Mindy last month during our SCI-FI Christmas in July celebration.  Click here for the link to see that post again.  What I'd like to share today is another episode of Mork & Mindy, one from the first season entitled "It's A Wonderful Mork."

Mork inadvertently chases away customers seeking music lessons.

Though this episode didn’t originally air at holiday time, this story is inspired by the everyone's favorite Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  Mork unintentionally ruins Mindy’s job opportunity, grandmother Cora's music teaching gig and Mindy's father’s dating relationship.

Without much sensitivity, Mork reveals to Margaret what Mindy's father Fred had said about her--and she takes offense.  Recognize Margaret?  That's Linda Henning--Betty Jo Bradley from Petticoat Junction.

Feeling like he's unneeded and useless, Mork goes to Orson with his regrets and is offered a solution: with the aid of Orkan technology, Mork can be 'reversified' to see what his friends’ lives would be like if he had never arrived on Earth.

"Mork Calling Orson, come in Orson."
Without being seen nor heard, Mork observes that Mindy would have a husband but she would be unhappily married to a compulsive gambler.  Mindy would be gainfully employed, but all her money would be spent on her husband Cliff's gambling debts and she wouldn't be free to pursue her own passion for a career in journalism.  Mork also observes that Mindy's father and her grandmother would also be unhappy as Mork has brought a great deal of support, encouragement and joy into their lives.

Mindy's unsupportive husband Cliff is played by actor Sam Freed, a TV veteran I remember best as Bob Barsky--Allie's eventual husband on Kate & Allie.

Though this isn't a Christmas-themed episode, it is filled with the spirit that we love to feel at holiday time--a spirit of reflection and love and appreciation for our family and friends.  This episode also serves as a reminder that those sentiments are appropriate all year round as well.

After Mork learns that his influence has improved the lives of his loved ones, he asks Orson to return him to his present circumstance and proudly proclaims "It IS a wonderful life!" Very sweet, indeed.

This is certainly not the only TV episode that adapts its plot from It's A Wonderful Life.  Can you name any others?  Let's make a list in the comments below.


  1. A great episode of the show. Mork was just made to be part of their lives! :)

  2. Married with Children's 2-part 'It's a Bundyful Life' w/ Sam Kinnison
    It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special
    That 70's Show 'It's a Wonderful Life'
    Moonlighting 'It's a Wonderful Job'