TROUTVILLE, Va. (WSLS) - Robin Williams made the words, “Good morning Vietnam” famous in the movie by the same name, but the originator of the phrase lives in Botetourt County.
His name is Adrian Cronauer, now 75 years old. But in 1965 and 1966 he was a disc jockey for the armed services in Saigon. He thought the troops needed a lift and modeled his radio show after a successful morning radio host in Pittsburgh named Rege Cordic.
When the TV show MASH became popular, Cronauer thought there might be a way to make a funny movie or TV series about life in Vietnam – even though people told him Vietnam could, as he told me, “not be funny.”
He kept at his concept until Williams and/or William's people bought the rights. “They changed everything, but they made my movie,” Cronauer told me less than two hours after learning of William's apparent suicide.
“He was always on. You never saw the real Robin Williams,” he said.
The two did not meet person-to-person until the movie's premier. The director wanted Williams' character to be purely from his own imagination. “If he had met me he would have started to impersonate me, and they didn't want that,” said Cronauer. “Besides—Williams was way funnier, and a lot of what he said in the movie – I could have never said.”
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