Robin Williams 1977 Telephone Commercial and Broadway Debut

I dug up this vintage 1977 commercial featuring a bespectacled Robin Williams at age 26 amongst telephones, fashion, and acting styles that haven’t been seen since. The first bit in the commercial, talking like he’s from outer space, is a funny coincidence, because this was a year before his character Mork from Ork debuted on Happy Days (yes, Mork & Mindy was a spin-off of Happy Days, it’s true). For more young Robin, there’s also an old clip of him improvising on a show hosted by Richard Pryor.

Currently Williams is performing live on Broadway, playing the title role in the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo–here’s a short promo about the show.

Doing well in his Broadway acting debut would be a ticket to a new height of entertainment immortality for Williams. He has already won 2 Emmy’s, 5 Grammy’s, and an Oscar, in his career so far. So if he wins a Tony award for excellence on Broadway, he would become only the 11th person to acheive the so-called “Grand Slam of Show Business” as an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner. Fellow San Francisco comedian Whoopi Goldberg was the most recent to achieve this honor, back in 2002.


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.