If you’re old enough (or are a “Nick at Night” fan), do you remember an episode of Mork & Mindy where, at Christmas time, Mindy was showing Mork her Gucci angel and then had to explain what angels were? And then Mork took the Gucci angel in his hands, lifted it up and launched it, saying, “Fly, little angel, be free!” Crash, tinkle, tinkle.
That’s one of my favorite comedy lines ever, and Mork & Mindy was where I first met Robin Williams. Throughout his career, it was the greatest fun trying to figure out what was actually in the script and what he simply ad-libbed. We recognized most of the references in Mrs. Doubtfire, but are still trying to figure out some of the ones from Aladdin‘s genie. And his portrayal of the genie is what, in my mind, began shifting kids cartoons into something that could be thoroughly enjoyed by adults at the same time.
With the help of IMDB, here are some fond memories:
Daniel: [Posing as a caller for the housekeeper ad] I am job.
Miranda: Do you speak English?
Daniel: I am job.
Miranda: I’m sorry, the position has been filled. [Hangs up] [Answers phone again] Hello?
Daniel: [This time with a southern drawl] … Aaaaaargh! Laila, get back into your cell! Don’t make me get the hose! Hello?
Aladdin: You’re a prisoner?
Genie: It’s all part and parcel, the whole genie gig.
[grows to a gigantic size] Phenomenal cosmic powers!
[shrinks down inside the lamp] Itty bitty living space!
But some of Robin Williams’ roles had a lot of thought-provoking dialogue, both for creativity and for living life. From Dead Poet’s Society:
John Keating: Why do I stand up here? Anybody?
Dalton: To feel taller!
John Keating: No! [Dings a bell with his foot] Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.
And while the humor is what first fills my mind when I think of Robin Williams, this quote is the advice to live by:
John Keating: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
Goodbye, Mr. Williams, and be at peace. We’ll miss you.
(And before I forget, dear reader, do you have a favorite Robin Williams movie moment? Please share!)