94. PBS Pioneers of Television 9/9/14: This tribute to actor and comedian Robin Williams features one of his last full-length interviews for the PIONEERS OF TELEVISION series, including never-before-seen comments on his life and comedic and dramatic work, as well as tributes to Williams by those who knew and worked with him, and clips from his career. All interviews exclusive to this broadcast
When Robin Williams died in August every network rushed to create a “special” to air that night or a day later. PBS took a bit more time – though not much. Documentary Director Steven J. Boettcher had apparently already started a documentary about Williams or had footage of one of William’s last interviews in preparation of another episode of PBS’ “Pioneers of Television” series. Boettcher gathered the interview footage and contacted show business folks close to Williams and compiled this loving – and often hilarious (thanks to Williams amazing comic talents) 55 minute show. It aired a few weeks after his death as a one-off, but thanks to PBS Home Video it will now be on home DVD for those who missed it (like me). I was provided with an advance copy to compile this review.
I’d say that nearly half of the time is spent on Williams’ role on TV’s “Mork and Mindy” (which ran four seasons. But that is some of the funniest material here. It was an offshoot from “Happy Days” and so Henry Winkler (The Fonz) gets to discuss working with Williams. And “Mindy”. Pam Dawber, tells some great on the set stories, especially about the fourth season when Jonathan Winters (seen her in interviews before his death) and Williams would improvise (the script just said “Williams and Winters do shtick”). Then the tribute moves on to his feature film career with clips from “Good Will Hunting”, “Popeye”, “Mrs. Doubtfire” and of course “Good Morning Vietnam”. We learn that Williams recorded nearly 10 hours of material as the deejay in Vietnam and only some was used. (Boy, would an “outtakes DVD be wonderful!).
There are also brief comments from stand-up comics Paul Rodriguez, Louis Anderson and Pauly Shore.
It’s a loving tribute and one that will make you laugh out loud (and hit the repeat button to catch some of the lightning- speed jokes) and then, when it is over, say to yourself : “Why is this comic genius gone”.
95. REELZ Robin Williams Remembered with Nancy O’Dell 04/24/17: From the comedy clubs in San Francisco to his meteoric rise to stardom as the adorable alien on the hit TV series “Mork and Mindy,” Robin Williams’ comic genius was only rivaled by his reputation as one of the kindest actors in show business. Host and entertainment reporter Nancy O’Dell presents her intimate first-hand accounts of monumental celebrity stories including the passing of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. With more than 20 years of reporting on celebrities and Hollywood, O’Dell will share her personal stories, photos and archive footage as well as her own interviews.