How bloody good was the TV show ALF? If you grew up in the 80’s there’s no doubt you’d remember the long-snouted, wise-cracking, cat-eating furry alien from the planet Melmac. ALF (short for Alien Life Form, whose real name was Gordon Shumway) crash-landed into the backyard of the Tanner family and stole our hearts from 1986 – 1990. Here’s the opening credits in case you need a refresh…
If you loved ALF as much as we did, then here are a few facts that you can share with all your other ALF-loving mates…
1. ALF had eight stomachs, which is why he was always famished.
2. Almost every one of the 102 episodes was named after a song. Examples include crackers like – When I’m 64 (The Beatles), True Colours (Cyndi Lauper), Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees), Fever (Peggy Lee), Superstition (Stevie Wonder) and Live and Let Die (Wings).
3. ALF hailed from the planet Melmac, which had a purple sun, green sky and blue grass.
4. The family ALF lived with were the Tanners (maybe relatives of the Full House Tanners?) The dad was Willy (Max Wright), mum was Kate (Anne Schedeen) and their kids were teen daughter, Lynn (Andrea Elson) and young son, Brian (Benji Gregory). Baby Eric (Charles Nickerson) was written into the show for the fourth season when Anne got preggers in real life.
5. ALF’s co-creator, Paul Fusco, was also the puppeteer and voice of the furry guy. When full-length shots of ALF were required, two-foot-nine inch actor Michu Meszaros donned the suit and took the reins. Michu sadly passed away in 2016, aged 76.
6. Plans for an ALF reboot were in the works and confirmed to be going ahead by Warner Bros in August 2018. This all went to shit in November 2018 when the whole thing was cancelled.
7. Filming a half hour episode often took AGES. Anne Schedeen (Kate Tanner), told People mag in a 2006 interview, “a 30-minute show took 20, 25 hours to shoot”.
8. ALF was big on the ‘guest appearance’ circuit and was seen in shows such as Blossom, The Love Boat and Matlock back in the day He also appeared in a 90’s dream sequence is season two of Mr Robot, as well as a recent appearance just this year in an ep of Young Sheldon.
9. ALF was the first TV show to be presented in Dolby Surround Sound.
10. To avoid wear and tear on the real ALF costumes, a designated costume called ‘RALF’ (Rehearsal Alien Life Form) was used solely for rehearsals.
11. You’ll probably also remember the animated spin-off, ALF: The Animated Series, which was pretty good too. It ran from 88-89 and served as a prequel to the TV series, documenting ALF’s time on Melmac. The theme song was super catchy too…
We spoke to cookbook/parenting author and all-round hilarious legend, Shannon Kelly White, on our most recent ep of our Show+Telling podcast where she told us ALF was the main man on her childhood bedroom walls. Here’s a little snippet….
- The cat’s name was Lucky.
You can listen to the full ep below. Subscribe here.