About Christmas TV History

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Christmas in July 2022: Mork & Mindy (1979)



Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #14 of the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. As announced before, each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies with a IT'S A WONDERFUL SUMMER attitude. Yes--this month I'm sharing brief essays about TV adaptations of the 1946 movie "It's a Wonderful Life" along with TV programs with significant references to the movie. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition being released soon). 


Today's discussion is on the first season episode "It's A Wonderful Mork" from the sitcom Mork & Mindy. I first wrote about this episode on the website in 2012. It's worth discussing again for It's a Wonderful Summer marathon.

Mork inadvertently chases away customers seeking music lessons.

Although this episode didn’t originally air at holiday time, this story is inspired by the 1946 holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  In this story, the alien 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 his alien boss Orson with his regrets and is offered a solution. Mork can be "reversified" with the aid of Orkan technology 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."

Although 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, 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.


Do you have a favorite sitcom adaptation of  It's a Wonderful Life? There are quite a few--and I'll be discussing several more before this July marathon is over. Please feel free to leave comments below.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


1 comment:

  1. Ah, I love Mork and Mindy. Was a huge fan as a kid, and I think it still holds up pretty well. Love the fun between Williams and Dawber.