Robin Williams and Vintage 70's Phones - Princess, Donut, Mickey and More!

On July 21st, Robin Williams will celebrate his 60th birthday. Happy birthday to the brilliant actor and comedian! 

My first memory of Robin Wiliams as a little girl (I mean, when I was a little girl, not him. He was never a little girl. I was never him.) was when he was Mork on the TV show "Mork and Mindy". My brother and I loved that show, and he even had Mork swimming trunks. I have no idea why someone decided that swimming trunks would go well with the TV show, but clearly they did. When my brother and I were kids, we loved anything that represented our favorite show. We even had Hee-Haw overalls.

As an older child, I saw Robin Williams in "The World According to Garp" and that's when I knew that he wasn't just a brilliant comedian (as if anyone is JUST a brilliant comedian), but in addition to being a brilliant comedian, he was a brilliant actor. I was completely drawn into that film to the point that when I was a little bit older I borrowed the book from the library. 

As a teenager I saw him play the role of a teacher in "Dead Poet's Society". Carpe Diem! Who wouldn't want a teacher like him? If you haven't seen it, this will give you an idea of how great he was in that film:

I searched on YouTube to find the earliest clip I could find of Robin Williams. It was a 1977 commercial for telephones. When you watch Robin Williams in that phone commercial, he looks like he is ready to move on to greater things. In fact, the commercial leaves you wanting to see more of his talent. It leaves you wishing the commercial had focused even more on Robin Williams. 

Of course, as someone who loves all things vintage, I also enjoyed seeing those 70's phones, along with Robin Williams' reaction to them. It reminded me of when I was a child and we used to go to the phone store to pick out our next phone. It was a big deal. People rented phones back then. Now that seems so weird because today you can get a cheap phone for less than $5.00. It won't look as cool as one of the vintage phones in the commercial, but it will do the job, especially when the electricity goes out and none of your cordless phones work. The one with the cord that plugs straight into the wall will stand by you even when a storm knocks the power out. Thank you for being a friend, corded phone.

Phones that were made in the 70's usually still work today. As antique dealers, we've bought tons of vintage phones and they are very rarely broken. The coiled cords are sometimes stretched out from being dragged all over the house during the days before cordless phones, but the phones still worked. Now, how often do you hear friends and family members today telling you they need to get a new cell phone or cordless phone? It happens all the time. Phones that were made in the 70's just didn't need to be replaced, so going to the phone store was a big deal. Note that the woman in the video isn't getting a new phone because hers broke. She's getting a new phone to go with her new decor.

As a child, I wanted the Mickey Mouse phone. I also loved the French phone because I thought it looked so French and fancy. The 70's donut phone still looks ultra modern today. I never understood the phone in a case, as if a phone is so hideous that it should be hidden away. The patriotic phone combined "The Spirit of '76" bicentennial patriotism with an antique style phone. If an Evel Knieval helmet collided with an antique candlestick phone, that's what it would look like. The princess phone always looks very sweet to me. It was THE phone of teenagers of the 60's and 70's. 

Robin Williams and vintage 70's phones - just as col as ever.

Happy Birthday, Robin Williams!!! 


Thank you to  for posting the Robin Williams phone commercial on YouTube!  wrote in the description that he was one of the composers who wrote the score for this commercial, along with Paul Iams. You should check out  to hear some of his commercial jingles to see which ones you'll recognize!