ALF - The sci-fi comedy A.L.F./NBC/1986-90, a spoof of the
box office movie hit E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982) told the
story of a cute little alien who came to live with an Earth
family. ALF (Alien Life Force) stood three-foot-two, was covered
in orange polyester fur, had four fingers on each hand and a
rippled snout. He hailed from the planet Melmac (what it was
made of) and had wandered the vastness of space looking for a
place to call home after his own planet exploded.
Locking onto a
Ham radio signal emanating from a suburban dwelling, ALF
crash-landed into the garage roof of a very nice but boring
middle-class family known as the Tanners. After their initial
shock, the Tanners decided to adopt the pint-sized alien and
help him repair his spacecraft.
The Tanner family included
parents Willie (Max Wright) and Kate (Anne Schedeen), and their
children Lynn (Andrea Elson), Brian (Benji Gregory) and Eric (J.R.
& Charles Nickerson).
According to an NBC press release, ALF was
born on the Lower East side of Melmac on August 12th and October
2, some 229 years ago in 1957 (also given as 28th of
Nathanganger) to his three parents Bob, Flo, and Biff. His real
name was Gordon Shumway. He attended high school for 122 years
then 2 years at Melmac State College with a double major in
pedestrian crossing and software.
ALF was active in the Skleen
Club and co-captain of the Bouillabaiseball team, which used
shellfish for a ball (the baseball field was shaped like a
rectangle) and because they used shellfish for a ball, the game
was played on ice (members included Mickey Mackerel).
was burnt sienna and his eyes off- black. ALF's favorite song
was "Help Me Rhonda," the name of his childhood sweetheart. He
ate cats, preferring Siamese and Calicos (on Melmac chickens are
kept as pets). He had eight stomachs and a body temperature of
One of the first things ALF said when he
crash-landed was "How about a snack? You got a cat?" He settled,
however, for a cat food can remarking "I can use the roughage."
Broadcasting a message into space in hopes of reaching some
survivors from his homeworld ALF said "Anybody from Melmac,
Hello? Skip, Larry, Muffy...it's me, Gordon (last name is
Shumway). Look I don't know if you can hear me but I want you to
know I'm OK." He then described his Earth friends and ended with
"If you could try to get in touch or come by, I'll introduce you
to these lovely people. Then we can eat their cat!"
Alf's home world of Melmac has a green sky and blue grass which made one feel as if
they were living upside down. It is located six parsecs
past the Hydra-Centauras Super Cluster near Xenon (2 block's
north of Phil's Autorama). The smartest man on the planet is
known as "Bob the Great." The God on Melmac is called Barry.
The planet's motto is "Are you going to finish that sandwich?"
When ALF belonged to the Orbit Guards, their motto was "To guard
the Orbits, whether they want it or not."
The outspoken but
adorable ALF was a product of both puppetry and a small person
(Michu Meszaros) dressed in a costume. The Coleco Toy Company
manufactured a doll to capitalize on the show. Paul Fusco, the
series co-producer (with Thad Mumford) supplied the voice and
manipulated the ALF puppet.
The animated cartoon spin-offs
ALF/NBC/1987-89 and ALF TALES/NBC/1987-90 followed the
adventures of ALF on his home planet of Melmac before the planet
TRIVIA NOTE: Blossom
Russo (Mayim Bialik), a teenage character on the sitcom
BLOSSOM/NBC/1991-95 slept with an ALF doll.
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