From the writer

David Misch here, the writer of the movie. A guy with the user name Binnibob, who says he worked on the original “Mork”, posted some negative remarks about the movie after it was first aired. (They’re under the thread “Intriguing”, dated 4/5/05.) I sent him an email privately and never heard back so I thought I’d share my thoughts with the board now that the movie’s being rerun (6/7/05).

Binnibob: I’d like to say something regarding your complaints about inaccuracies. To wit...

Are you nuts?

Of course there are inaccuracies -- name a biographical movie without them. The question (for me at least) is whether the movie captured an overall truth about Robin and the series, not where the wrap party was held. Innumerable “inaccuracies” were dictated by movie conventions, budget constraints and/or dramatic imperatives but, I hope and believe, few of them were important.

One that was: Valerie. I’d have preferred a more, shall we say, nuanced depiction of their relationship but it was felt that for dramatic purposes Robin’s wife should be wholly sympathetic. Still, does her portrayal really falsify anything significant about Robin? As for physical differences, you’re right -- no attempt was made to make the actress look like someone no one knows.

You said I have “an ax to grind”. The movie shows a brilliant comedian who almost self-destructed due to drug addiction then overcame it -- is that not what happened? Is that not, in fact, something Robin’s been completely open about, to the point of putting it in his standup act for five years?

I was awed by Robin then, as I am now. I feel honored to have worked on the show. Everyone associated with the “Behind The Camera” production thinks Robin’s a genius and wanted the movie to be a tribute to him. If it’s not, we failed, but that was the intent.

As for the other “inaccuracies” you complain about…

-- “Robin didn't go into the Chateau Marmont Bungalow 5 that night.”
Yes he did; he was the last person to see Belushi alive other than Cathy Smith, which is why he testified to a grand jury. See “Wired” and countless interviews with Robin.

-- “(Pam didn’t tell Robin about Belushi’s death) on the stage but took Robin out on a walk around the lot…”
Yes, Pam did tell Robin on the stage, according to many interviews with both of them. They may have gone for a walk afterwards but, again, is where it happened so critical?

-- “… ABC didn’t call Robin or Pam to inform them of the cancellation.”
The movie never says ABC did -- it shows the network head calling Garry Marshall.

As for the writing staff, there was no attempt to be accurate about them because no one cares about them. In any case, I’ve heard from a number of the writers, who loved the movie (especially the portrayal of the network executive who, while not Tony Thermopolis -- rhymes with Diamantopoulos -- was an attempt to capture the tenor of the problems with ABC).

As for your claim (post of 3/6/05) that all I wanted was to “make a buck”, my primary motive in doing the movie may have been shallow but it wasn’t money; I loved writing for Robin/Mork, had lots of ideas that were never used, and was delighted I could finally get them onscreen. (“Realty, what a concept” has been in my notebook for 27 years.)

And you and I have one other disagreement: Chris Diamantopoulos, who you say did “a pretty good job”. To quote a “Mork” writer, “a few minutes in I didn’t even feel like I was watching an actor play Robin, I was watching Robin and was emotionally involved in his story.” I’m still amazed at the idea of someone even attempting to portray such a unique talent (we had countless actor turn-downs during casting, based on the belief that Robin couldn’t be imitated), much less doing it so brilliantly.

But Chris isn’t Robin and the movie isn’t a photo-realistic reenactment of those years. What we attempted was a broadly accurate portrayal of a comic genius at a critical point in his career. Some people think we succeeded, some don’t. But your charges of inaccuracy are inaccurate.


This is amazing and Chris is wonderful. If he ever does a stand up show that I am aware of I will race there. Nice job. And I hope most realize that it is called unauthorized story


I'm watching it right now and am pretty impressed. Good job! btw - since your reading this thread - why wasn't it "authorized"?


<< why wasn't it "authorized"? >>

There's no formal definition -- especially since this movie is about the series, not just Robin -- but I suppose if the production got permission, input and script approval from everyone associated with "Mork", it would be "authorized". That would also, unfortunately, take forever (assuming it could even be done) so I think it was considered easier to state clearly that the movie was unauthorized but try to make it generally true to what happened.



I'm watching it right now and am pretty impressed. Good job! btw - since your reading this thread - why wasn't it "authorized"?

Using the word "authorized" might seem too pretentious for most people.


I assumed that it wasn't authorized because authorization requires A. money and B. permission.

It was unlikely that anyone associated with M&M was going to let anything unflattering out about the process, so that would have been a huge obstacle. In addition, an accurate rendering of the costumes, sets, and scripts would have required money to be paid to the copyright holders.

Much easier to just build sets that are similar, but not exact; costumes that are close, but not quite (notice how Mork's costume features an oval rather than the much more familiar triangle shape), and scripts that don't feature any dialogue that actually appeared on the show.

When I first watched this that confused me - how can a movie about a TV show get so many facts about that show wrong? Even a third grader would know what Mork's spacesuit looked like!

Then I saw the word 'Unauthorized' and understood. They couldn't show things associated with the show as they really were; they hadn't been given permission.

Maybe now that Robin's gone a biography will be done about his life, and maybe then an accurate depiction of this era will be shown (accurate in look, not in what happened since I think this got it fairly close). If they ever do a biography I hope they get an actor as amazing as Chris to play Robin. He was unbelievably good. One can only hope...



Awesome job--! I thought the cast was phenomenal and that you nailed Robin/Mork's dialogue down pat.

One question: It seemed during the first half of the film that Robin was "always on" - either when he was around Val or just out in public before becoming a Star. Do you know that this was the case, or just from people who knew Robin? I ask only because I always imagined that anyone as high-energy as Robin was in the early days would need at least some downtime.


Hey... I rarely watch TV movies, but this one caught my eye. Most notibly, the main character. Just flipping channels I came across this and thought, WOW, great impression. But, we all know that a great impression does not make great acting. Fortunately, after watching the rest of the show, Chris proved that he could actually act. He just pops off the screen. I'd love to see this story told on the big screen. But since the writer is reading this, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this crititism (hey it's the internet man you knew it was coming). Trust your audience. Maybe SOME of us are morons, but most of us are pretty astute. We can tell what's going on without having to be directly told through exposition. Maybe it's a necessary evil when writing for television movies (where you have to come back from commercials and where you get guys like me who catch it from the middle) but the "here we are in our new home" lines make me shiver. Anyway, the movie isn't a masterpiece, but it's the only TV film that has EVER kept my attention and a congratulations is in order. ~~Matt McCann


I'm so impressed- Chris Diamantopoulos is someone I will be looking for- no, Chris isn'[t a dead ringer, but he's pretty cloe and he NAILS the voice- I close my eyes and I see Robin while listening to this incredible actor. I hope only the best for him in years to come- I'm interested in seeing what else he does.

To David, the writer- fantastic dialogue, so tightly written, natural, and the actors do a great job with it. I'm enjoying every moment of this film- thank you for a glimpse into the world of one of my favorite actors. Well done.


In reply to a few of the above...

No idea what Robin and Pam thought of the movie. Robin was asked about it at the Oscars, wished us luck, but said he wouldn't be watching. I hope he did, if only to see Chris' amazing performance.

At the beginning of his career, Robin was indeed "on" a lot. He could, of course, have normal conversations but he seemed to have more fun "playing", as he called it.

Sorry about the exposition but it kinda goes with the territory. Difficult (short of putting a "SOLD" sign in the foyer) to establish a room is inside their just-bought home without dialogue that references it.


I know this post is old, but David... Do you know if any of Robin's three HBO specials will ever be released? I contacted HBO and they just said "we don't own them".


Vulture lists his top five standup shows, which are all on YouTube. His first HBO special is titled Live at the Roxy 1978 on YouTube, probably because they didn't want YouTube to block it.


I realize this is an old post, but I was curious to know why several cast members weren't included, or in very least mentioned in passing, in the feature. The trivia section gives an abridged list:

Recurring characters such as Exidor (Robert Donner), Mr. Bickley (Tom Poston) Nelson Flavor (Jim Staahl), Glenda Faye Comstock (Crissy Wilzak Comstock), Miles Sternhagen (Foster Brooks) and Cathy McConnell (Shelley Fabares) are completely omitted.

Since you worked on the show, I was wondering: what was it like working with such a talented Broadway actress like Crissy Wilzak? Also, would you have any idea what she's been up to since her time on the show? It would appear she pretty much vanished off the face of the earth.


Thanks for showing up here and sharing some insight, David.

I'm generally not a fan of TV biopics of old TV shows, but I watched "Mork" as a teenager, and I was very interested to see how it turned out.

While not really Emmy material (what TV biopic is?), it turned out better than I expected. Chris, and the actor playing Garry Marshall, are clearly the two biggest strengths. Chris doesn't look 100% like Robin (maybe 90% in this incarnation), but my God, his performance was amazing. Impressive as hell. The guy playing Mr. Marshall was good as well.

This thing is worth watching if only to see Chris D. do a mouth-dropping turn as Robin Williams...and you wrote very well for him, too.


Where are Joe Glauberg and Dale McRaven in this story? I thought that they were two of the main co-creators of Mork and Mindy. I was surprised that they were completely omitted from the "Behind the Camera." Or did he actually play only a minor role in the M&M story?



I liked the cast a lot and think you got the tone of the characters pretty good but I didn't like the editing of the movie the scences often seemed to be lined after each other without connections.
While of course the "stand-up" scences are fun to watch I was hoping to see a little more of the background story but this was handled in too few scences for my taste. Maybe making the movie a little longer would have been good and rounded up the story as a whole.