There were lots of great TV families in the 80s, and one of the best was the Tanners. This happy family from San Fernando welcomed one of TV’s favorite aliens into their home, setting the stage for one of the funniest comedies of the decade.
ALF (short for Alien Life Form) was a visitor from the planet Melmac with a taste for stray cats and a nose for trouble.
Over 4 seasons his hilarious adventures brought Willie a lot of headaches and his audience a lot of laughs, but there are some secrets about the show only the biggest ALF fans will know!
1. He’s even bigger in Germany
While ALF has fans around the world, none are as passionate about this adorable alien as the Germans. Special merchandise, including ALF’s rock album “Now I Sing,” were only released in Germany.
The German town of Alf also had to stock up on extra signs, because ALF fans wouldn’t stop stealing them.
2. The show’s writers were music buffs
The title of almost every episode of the show referenced a song, and normally one that related to the episode somehow. A few examples include “Wild Thing,” “Take A Look At Me Now” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
That may seem a little silly, but it’s impressive when you remember ALF ran for 102 episodes! That’s a lot of songs to come up with.
3. A reboot could be in the works
Nothing definite has been announced yet, but for years there have been rumors of ALF making his return to TV. ALF’s creator Paul Fusco even had a CGI movie planned with the space alien, but it seems like that’s off the table now.
4. The set was a nightmare
Paul Fusco, who was the show’s creator and also ALF’s puppeteer, was obsessed with keeping the show as “real” as possible.
To achieve this, he built a set four feet above the ground, full of holes and trap doors so the ALF puppet could interact naturally with the cast. Of course, a set with holes in it was totally unsafe, and it would sometimes take 18 hours to shoot one 30 minute episode.
Click the next page to learn what ALF is doing these days!
5. There are actually 3 ALFs
To make things easier on the cast and crew there were 2 ALF puppets, one that featured a full body and another from the chest up.
Sometimes a 3-foot-tall dwarf actor named Mihaly Meszaros would also suit up in an ALF costume. There was even an ALF puppet specifically for rehearsals named RALF (Rehearsal Alien Life Form).
6. The show’s finale was controversial
Fusco landed himself in hot water when he ended ALF’s 4th season with a cliffhanger. The finale episode ended with ALF being catured by the US Army, a plot line that was supposed to be resolved in the next season.
Unfortunately ALF was cancelled, and fans had to wait 6 years to find out what happened to ALF in the (less popular) spinoff series Project: ALF.
7. ALF’s career is still going strong
This alien is no one-hit-wonder. Along with his own show, he had guest appearances on Matlock, Blossom and Hollywood Squares.
He also hosted his own talk show on the TV Land network. His career isn’t stopping either – he even appeared on Mr. Robot last year.
8. He had his own spinoff cartoon
Set before his home planet of Melmac exploded, ALF: The Animated Series explored the alien’s life before he met the Tanner family.
If you remember anything about this show, it’s probably this intro:
9. Baby Eric was a surprise addition to the show
In season 3, Mrs. Tanner (Anne Schedeen) got pregnant, giving birth to baby Eric, who became a regular character for the rest of the show’s run.
But the writers didn’t just come up with this idea. Schedeen actually got pregnant, leading them to write in Mrs. Tanner’s pregnancy.
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