- Name: AU-Sparkplug
- Faction: Autobot
- Species: Human
- Function: MECHANIC
- Division: EDC
- Sub-Group: Witwicky Family
- Type: TP
|“||If I can't fix it, it can't be fixed.||”|
William Irving "SPARKPLUG" WITWICKY was a natural born mechanic who loved to take things apart and put them back together, and could fix just about anything. A rough, rowdy guy, Sparkplug had a deep, unspoken affection for Buster|his sons, but never did understand why his boys don't share his interest for the practical things in life. Sparkplug saw the Autobots as ultimate machines and was amazed by their abilities. He supported them in their battle against the Decepticons until the end of his life. Never formally educated, Sparkplug relied on his instincts and basic mechanical know-how to survive.
William Irving "Sparkplug" Witwicky was born August 30, 1936, in Chicago, IL, to Margaret and Jeremiah Witwicky. Sparkplug was raised in a strict, fundamentalist household. Sparkplug was so eager to escape the hands of his strict, devout father that he lied about his age and joined the Marines in 1952 during the Korean War, where he earned the nickname "Sparkplug" and attained the rank of Sergeant while working as a mechanic on military vehicles. Captured by the North Koreans and detained as a POW, Sparkplug was forced to repair enemy equipment. However, he secretly sabotaged that same equipment, leading to personnel and material losses for the North Koreans. He was released after the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
In 1969, Sparkplug married a lovely woman named Susan, and a year later his first son, Spike, was born. In 1975, five years later, their second son Buster Witwicky was born. For more than five years, the Witwicky family led an unassuming and altogether normal family life, replete with financial squabbles, late nights tending to nasty ear infections, and the occasional date night, babysitter pending. During this stretch, Sparkplug joked that he wanted an additional seven boys to make up an entire sports team. However, raising two boys five years apart quickly stamped out Sparkplug's half-joking dream. As Buster progressed from being a toddler to a kindergartner, Sparkplug found himself becoming more and more confounded by his younger son's eccentricities. Instead of devoting all of his energies to understanding his younger son's quirks, he usually found himself spending time with his more relate-able (and rambunctious) son - and letting Susan be with Buster. As the '80s dawned, the Witwickys were poised to live in middle class anonymity.
However, the Witwicky family was dealt a shattering blow in 1981 when Sparkplug's wife Susan died unexpectedly in a car crash, leaving Sparkplug a widower and single father. When Spike got older, Sparkplug worked out special arrangements to bring his teen son to job sites with him. Buster, however, too young to safely spend six months on an oil rig, stayed behind with Sparkplug's brother Ron and Ron's wife Judy. Even with little means at his disposal, he made a deliberate attempt to minimize the interaction between Spike, Buster, and their grandfather as he routinely chastised Susan and Sparkplug for being weak role models and for making their sons "soft" by their lack of phsycial discipline and their repeated encouragements for both sons to pursue their love of reading to its fullest extent. Sparkplug and his father's relationship grew increasingly strained when his (Sparkplug's) father chastised his grieving son after Susan's funeral, claiming Susan's death was a punishment from God for Sparkplug and Susan not imposing a stricter biblical code on their sons. He also warned Sparkplug against his continued closeness with his brother Ron, claiming Ron was deliberately defying god with his career path in stage and sound management for jazz and rock music acts.
The year 1983 was especially brutal for Sparkplug and his family, financially. That summer, the engine block in their family car cracked, forcing Sparkplug to purchase a new car. That winter, both Spike and Buster had multiple medical bills for colds, respiratory infections, and a broken arm. The final straw was reached when their furnace died. The mounting debts eventually came to head in early 1984 when the bank began forclosure proceedings on Sparkplug's house. Desperate for money, Sparkplug took the only job he could find that would enable him to recoup the losses from the past year: as a rig worker for an offshore oil company. Young Buster was sent to live with his aunt and uncle while Sparkplug managed to "smuggle" Spike aboard, convincing the lead foreman that the 14-year-old Spike was 16.
More than Meets the Eye
In 1984, Sparkplug and his son Spike were working on an offshore oil rig. The day was like any other day, with Sparkplug asking his son to help him flush out a drill bit. Before they could carry out their task, giant robots descended from the sky and landed on the oil rig, and with no provocation, were almost immediately attacked by Sparkplug's coworkers. Regardless, their intentions became clear when Sparkplug himself was pinned against a wall by a small purple robot, who then threw Spike overboard when he tried to help his father. Freeing himself from the robot's clutches, Sparkplug dived into the water after his son. While the rig workers hid in the ocean, another group of giant robots arrived and fought with the group of robots who were stealing oil from the rig. The leader of the evil robots destroyed the rig and set fire to the oil tanks as a diversion while he escaped.
The good robots, calling themselves the Autobots, saved the oil rig workers from a fate exactly the same as death. Grateful, Sparkplug and Spike happily latched on to the friendly alien robots, offering up their expertise and knowledge about planet Earth in exchange for joining the team. After the Autobots failed to stop the evil Decepticons at Sherman Dam, Sparkplug, Spike and Trailbreaker had a tea party in the woods, ostensibly so they could eavesdrop on the nearby Decepticon base. After finding out that the evil robots intended to attack the Ruby Crystal Mines of Burma, Sparkplug opined that he preferred being a spy to his old job at the oil rig, which was just as well, given the fact he was now unemployed. Later, Sparkplug's prior experience in the Burma mines came in handy when the Autobots needed to plant an explosive device inside the mine. As he left with Bumblebee, Sparkplug declared that their mission was for both the fortunes of Cybertron and Earth. Moments later, they were caught in the explosion and buried alive. Oops.
Fortunately, they were saved. Later, both father and son volunteered for the Autobot attack on the Decepticon space cruiser. After Optimus Prime failed to stop the cruiser, Sparkplug tried to reassure the Autobot leader that he'd done all that anybody could do. Subsequently, the Decepticons were apparently defeated when their ship crashed into the sea, so Sparkplug and Spike were to join the Autobots as they went home to Cybertron, with fuel from the grateful nations of Earth.
The reawakening of the Autobots and Decepticons had a profound effect on every single living Witwicky (and some dead). Sparkplug made the sole decision to help the Autobots. The decision eventually cost him his house as he and his son moved into the Ark to assist the Autobots full-time. Sparkplug's brother and siter-in-law took on the responsibility of caring for Sparkplug's youngest son, Buster. At first, this was going to be a short-term solution, but it eventually went to a long-term living situation. This later caused Buster to harbor a nasty resentment toward both his father and brother. It was a grudge that would take almost 20 years to resolve.
Transport to Oblivion
For some reason, this did not pan out, and neither the Autobots nor Sparkplug and his son went anywhere. As their livelihoods had been destroyed, the Witwickys seemed to move into the Ark and were almost constantly hanging out with the Autobots. After the Autobots failed to stop the Decepticons at the local solar power station, Sparkplug helped Ratchet repair the stubborn old Ironhide. Later, Sparkplug stopped the trigger-happy Ironhide from blowing up a shuttle full of Decepticon energon cubes, as he was the only one who bothered to remember the fact that Spike had been captured to pilot the shuttle through the space bridge.
The development of a Space Bridge poses a challenge to Sparkplug and the rest of the Autobots as the Decepticons can easily travel back and forth to Cybertron while the Autobots are forced to rely on much slower methods of traveling back and forth from their homeland. In addition, Sparkplug begins to see that his son may have a bad habit of being con bait as he's captured by Soundwave. It will not be the first time where he's captured.
War of the Dinobots
While traveling back to the Ark, Optimus tells Spike and Chip that he's happy with the Dinobots and plans to have Ratchet and Wheeljack build two more. Chip and Spike eagerly volunteer their services. Chip lays out the Autobots' needs and decides a stegosaurus and a pteranodon is the way to go. Sparkplug slightly embarrasses himself as he marvels at Chip's genius because the boy genius is able to identify two basic dinosaur forms ("Stego-whatsis, Pterano-whosis? Is there anything you don't know about, Chip?"). To his credit, his father was a stern creationist. Their efforts pay off as the newly-constructed Dinobots are able to fight their Dinobot brothers to a stalemate, giving Optimus Prime enough time to recover from his injuries and save Grimlock from certain death.
Sparkplug gets a close-up, hands-on education on how to build Autobots from scratch. The experience proves invaluable as he later assists and sometimes leads on doing complete rebuilds on critically injured Autobots.
The Ultimate Doom
Sparkplug was kidnapped by the Decepticons as a test subject for Doctor Arkeville and turned to their side by the doctor's mind control chips. The Decepticons allowed the Autobots to free Sparkplug so he could sabotage Teletraan I, which gave them an easy means to attack the Autobot headquarters. Spike confronted his father over the apparent betrayal, and Sparkplug appealed to his son to join the Decepticons. When Spike refused, Sparkplug declared that the next time they met, it would be as enemies.
This caused Spike much emotional pain, until the Autobots found a way to use sound waves to counter the chips and bring the true Sparkplug back.
You're captured by an alien race, have a mind control device inserted in your head by a psychopath, and you almost gun down your son. You be the judge if that would leave an emotional scar or two.
In an effort to show his friend Wheeljack that the Autobot wasn't the only inventor in the Ark, Sparkplug once managed to take spare Autobot parts and put them together to make a functioning robot called Autobot X. Once activated, the mindless robot immediately bashed in everything and everyone in sight. After Spike was injured in a battle with the Decepticons, they formulated a plan to transfer Spike's mind into Autobot X while his human body was worked upon by surgeons. Sparkplug regretted this decision, as it drove Spike insane. Only the love Sparkplug had for his son prevented "Autobot Spike" from joining the Decepticons.
Editor's note: the following events were played as a flashback on the MUX and were not part of the cartoon plot.
In the subsequent days following the events that led to Spike's injuries, Sparkplug reassessed his decision to bring him and his son into joining the Autobot cause. Sparkplug still felt a purpose unlike any other in his life when it came to helping an alien species prevent the world domination of an invading alien force. But seeing his son precariously come within inches of death caused Sparkplug to consider other options. Some where unrealistic (Sparkplug's brother admitting that he and his wife would not be able to raise both younger Witwickys), and some were downright humiliating (government-assisted housing and food stamps while Sparkplug tried to find employment). The least painful option was sending his oldest son to military school until he turned 18 - an age old enough to serve alongside his father with the Autobots.
However, Prowl's rather evenhanded argument of keeping Spike in the Ark caused Sparkplug to change his mind at the last minute, much to Spike's great delight. Prowl's argument centered on the argument that despite it being a military complex, the Ark was the only place that could virtually guarantee Spike and Sparkplug's safety as opposed to being out in the open in a place like the military school). Spike promised his father he'd be more careful and also promised that would be the last time his carelessness would lead to a hospital stay.
Sparkplug's son is turned into a brutish monster who almost kills his father. Not to mention, his son almost dies during a routine Decepticon/Autobot scuffle. These two events cause Sparkplug to continuously question if he made the right decision to join the Autobot struggle.
Attack of the Autobots
The Decepticons stage a raid on the Ark, but it's only a distraction to draw the Autobots outside while Megatron gets sprayed with an invisibility spray, enabling him to enter Autobot headquarters undetected. He manages to insert a personality destabilizer in all of the Autobot recharging stations. The next morning, the Autobots wake from their recharging station feeling a bit funny. Their eyes turn red and soon they are under Megatron's control. Megatron orders Prime to smash Teletraan One, which he dutifully does.
Meanwhile, Jazz, Bumblebee, Spike, and Sparkplug are out testing Jazz's new speakers. The speakers emit a volume so shredding that even Spike complains about the noise. When the four return to the Ark, they realize that Teletraan One has been smashed. Jazz is attacked by Bluestreak, but manages to fend off his attack. Sparkplug quickly deduces that the problem was the Autobots' rest chambers were sabotaged and he manages to cook up an "attitude exchanger" that will restabalize their moods (technically "drain evil and recharge good"). The device is successfully tested on Bluestreak.
Bluestreak, Bumblebee, and Jazz begin to pick off Autobot by Autobot at at rocket base, where the Autobots are gleefully smashing away human ingenuity. With one attitude exchanger back, Bumblebee carefully approaches Optimus Prime and begs him to fight Megatron's control. Prime briefly regains his bearings and begs Bumblebee to help. Bumblebee takes advantage of Prime's hesitation and plants the device on Prime's leg, re-infusing Prime with "good".
With their bearings intact, the Autobots make a last-ditch effort to atone for their brief "evilness" and board a Decepticon-occupied rocket that contains a solar satellite. Jazz's speakers break up the rocket, forcing the Decepticons to retreat. Skyfire takes Optimus Prime into outer space where he throws the satellite into orbit.
Back on Earth, a few Autobots bicker about who was most responsible for the Autobot victory. Prime said whoever is responsible, all Autobots will need to chip in to repair the rockets they destroyed. Spike makes a bad joke to Sparkplug and everyone laughs.
Sparkplug almost singlehandedly is responsible for preventing the Autobots from turning into mindless Decepticon slaves. This act alone begins to make Sparkplug a name of note not only for the Autobots on Earth, but more than a few Autobots on Cybetron.
Sparkplug was pleased as punch when his son went out with Carly, because she was clearly out of Spike's league. However, he had a few reservations as he saw his son, who still wasn't old enough to get a driver's license ride off with an impossibly hot MIT college student.
One word: Daniel.
Desertion of the Dinobots
Later, Sparkplug briefly to appear on an episode of Donahue. Upon his return arrival at the airport, he was greeted by Spike, Carly and Bumblebee. He quickly changed from the rare suit back into his more comfortable work clothes.
Sparkplug's canny skills were called into use again when he ego-stroked the arrogant Dinobots into helping the Autobots secure their much-needed Cybertonium from the Decepticons.
Sparkplug had to buy a suit. In addition, Sparkplug was exposed to a situation where humans were alone tasked with caring for the Autobots when virtually all of them were incapictated. He would use this knowledge in subsequent scenarios.
A Decepticon Raider In King Arthur's Court
Though his son's time-traveling adventure was relatively harmless in terms of injury or peril, for Sparkplug, he reached a "critical mass" in his concern that his son was spending far too much time with the Autobots and not enough time with school and with people his age. After Spike returned, Sparkplug gave a "non-negotiable" demand that Spike spend less time with the Autobots and more time hitting the books and with kids his own age.
Though Sparkplug could order his son to limit his involvement with the Autobots, Sparkplug continued his near full-time devotion to the Autobots. Why is Spike's situation different from his father's? "Because I said so - " was Sparkplug's response.
As the Autobots expanded their operations, they installed a small urban base in New York City, concealed behind an auto-repair garage operated by Sparkplug. In the aftermath of the failed Decepticon plan to use stolen cars as robot drones, Sparkplug bemoaned the fact it would take weeks for himself, Hoist, Ratchet and Wheeljack to return the cars to normal functionality.
Spark Plugs (Sparkplug's New York-based auto mechanic shop) continued to be a modest financial success - and an effective East Coast residence for the Autobots. Sparkplug eventually hires a good-natured, but law-troubled teen to help out with the shop. Eventually with mounting medical bills nearly two decades later, Sparkplug sold the garage and used the money for his retirement.
When Megatron unleashed Kremzeek onto the Autobots, Sparkplug was the first to realize the electrically-based creature scrambled Autobot circuits and would thus be repelled by an insulating compound sprayed on the remaining Autobots. Sparkplug's quick thinking enabled the Autobots to go into a chaotic situation with their leader intact. While those few left for Japan to chase after the creature, the hapless Sparkplug was left with the unenviable task of reactivating the other Autobots left behind.
The elder Witwicky's quick-thinking was offset by the somewhat thick-headed decision of trying to physically restrain a creature made of pure electrical energy. That left some burn marks.
Unknown. But since that event, Sparkplug began to assume a far less prominant role in the Autobot adventures.
The Key To Vector Sigma
To combat the new "land-based" Decepticon threat The Stunticons, the Autobots create their own team of air-based fighters called The Aerialbots. However, once on Earth, the Aerialbots rebel against Optimus Prime and refuse their orders, citing that humans aren't worth endangering their exo-skins for. However, Silverbolt points out Sparkplug's efforts as he continues to work on a near-destroyed Omega Supreme while Ratchet recharges. Sparkplug's display of badassness helps to sway the Aerialbots' opinions and they quickly rejoin the Autobots.
Sparkplug's legendary status among the Autobots gets another footnote.
Sparkplug again faces his fashion deamons and dons a suit to attend a ceremony honoring Perceptor, who created an invention that preserves landmarks. The invention later saves the Autobots on Earth from being wiped out from a cosmic rust plague.
Cosmic Rust marks Sparkplug's last appearance in the Generation One series.
Since the 80s, Sparkplug has continued to help the Autobots. During the heyday of public curiosity/hype, Sparkplug was able to make enough money on talk show appearances and public speaking events to buy a run-down auto-repair place in New York City. Dubbing the place Spark Plugs, the place also doubled as a small Autobot outpost on the East Coast. However, as he's gotten older, his son Spike has become concerned about his ability to keep working in a dangerous environment like the Ark and Autobot City.
In 1994, at age 58, Sparkplug collapsed in the Ark and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and a fractured skull. He was hospitalized for weeks and spent a few months in rehabilitation therapy. Subsequently, Spike got his way and Sparkplug was forced to limit his work with the Autobots as well as transfer the operational responsibilities of his auto-repair shop to Roland and Raoul. Sparkplug's other son, Buster, went into the military.
In the early part of the new century, Sparkplug's health continued to decline as he suffered a mild heart attack and continued to deal with the aftermath of his aneurysm. Around this time, he began showing signs of dementia. He was eventually committed to a hospital full-time, partially against his wishes. Sparkplug made the staff miserable and yearned to return to working for a living.
In 2010, after a back-and-forth struggle to find a compromise in dealing with Sparkplug's declining health and his personal freedom, Spike and Buster relented and allowed Sparkplug to move back into his house, provided a nurse check in a few times a week to monitor his health and medications. Spike and Buster would then carry the slack, checking in on their dad from time to time, which is a great setup, unless such improbable events as an increased school work load, or a new addition to the family, would cut down on both brothers' availability.
This arrangement worked out smoothly until the summer of 2011 when Sparkplug went for a short nighttime walk and wound up getting lost. Three hours later, he was found by a neighbor in an agitated and confused state. Sparkplug insists this was a freak occurance. However, the incident forced Sparkplug to undergo a few days of tests from his doctors. A few weeks later, Sparkplug was diagnosed with early onset dementia. As for Buster and Spike, the situation poses a challenge to both brothers to continue to try to give their father the independence he deserves, but at the same time, ensure his safety. The stress of caring for the elder Witwicky also threatens to reopen old resentments shared between the two brothers. Due to world-wide flooding, Sparkplug has recently been relocated to the Ark for safety, where he's itching to work again alongside Ratchet and Spike.
In the summer of 2012 , Sparkplug was found disoriented and shirtless near his home. He was hospitalized due to dehydration and a second-degree sunburn. After a bevy of lab, MRI, PET, and cognitive tests, it was determined that he suffered another dementia-related episode. His third such incident of the year. The incidents led Sparkplug's physician to recommend he return to the nursing home where he initially recovered from his complications surrounding his cerebral hemorrhage. Spike and Buster fought back - promising Sparkplug would receive round-the-clock care, first at a senior care assisted living center then later in Autobot City. Sparkplug's insurance bought the Witwicky brothers 2 months to work with First Aid, Ratchet, and other Autobots to prepare Autobot City for the return of the elder Witwicky. In the meantime, Sparkplug enjoyed the perks of being a minor celebrity at Seattle Memorial hospital, obtaining more than a few admirers of his past achievements with the 'bots.
In August, Sparkplug was transferred to a rehabilitation center to continue recovering from his injuries and to undergo treatment for his dementia symptoms. During this time, Sparkplug has worked with Spike, Buster and Blaster in developing an assistant to help him around Autobot City. The skilled rehab center has provided expert physical therapy facilities and engaging social activites, such as hosting various writers and authors about American History (mainly focusing on the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War).
In October, Sparkplug agreed to be interviewed by a University of Oregon graduate student about his time spent as a POW in the Korean War as part of the student's thesis about how POWs have been treated throughout the major wars in the 20th and 21st century. While these improvements were miles ahead of the resources provided by the nursing home that Sparkplug previously stayed in, Sparkplug occasionally endured minor bouts of boredom and depression as he waited for the Autobots and his sons to complete his new living quarters in Autobot City.
That complacency, however, quickly eroded in October when Decepticons and Autobots started to succumb to an unidentified virus strain. Armed with the data Crosscut and Jetfire were able to obtain regarding the virus, Sparkplug began work with Spike on determining a possible cure for this virus. His dedication to finding a cure came at a cost - skipping sleep and occasionally feigning illess to skip out on a physical therapy session or two to continue working on the unknown virus strain. Though Spike and Buster were elated to see their father tackle this crisis with the vigor of his younger self, both have expressed concern that their father's lack of sleep and occasional skipping of physical therapy may make him vulnerable for another dementia-related attack.
That same month, Sparkplug's much-beloved pet-project, Spark Plugs, was destroyed during Super Storm Sandy. Realizing he was no longer able to live without assistance, he took the insurance money he received from the damage to supplement his retirement income.
In November 2012, Sparkplug was finally cleared by his physician to move into Autobot City, alongside Spike and Buster, making it the first time all three Witwickys were under one roof since 1984 - the year of Sparkplug's fated encounter with the Autobots.
Before leaving for Cybertron, Blaster built a helperbot to assist Buster and Spike in taking care of Sparkplug in Autobot City.
Snoop assisted by giving Helperbot a Santa hat and teaching it how to dance.
In July of 2013, Buster and Spike took Sparkplug to the doctor for a full workup, concerned about his sudden weight loss. They were relieved to discover the problem was just mild depression and a malabsorption problem, both of which can be treated with medication.
In 2015, Sparkplug's health continued to decline. Like most people of Sparkplug's age, he has his good days and bad.His good days are usually spent helping his son in the repair bay and answering questions from new Autobot arrivals. On his bad days, he oftentimes gets confused and agitated as his memory slips fluidly in and out of his past. In November, a newly-opened medical facility on Cybertron was named in Sparkplug's honor. He became the first human to have a building named after him on Cybertron.
In 2016, a dip in Sparkplug's health brought him very close to death. When he recovered, he took what might be his last trip to Cybertron, to visit the building named in his honor.
Favorite Books of All Time
- Johnny Cash - The Autobiography - Johnny Cash
- How To Test Almost Everything Electronic - Delton Horn
- Truman - David McCullough
- Chilton Auto Repair Manual
- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Jules Verne
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig
Favorite Albums of All Time
- Time Out - Dave Brubeck
- Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
- A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
- At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
- Conway Twitty Collection - Conway Twitty
- The Definitive Collection - Chuck Berry
|This page uses content from Transformers Wiki. The original article was at Sparkplug.|