ALF


This sitcom holds the distinction of being the first I can remember that my mother wouldn’t let me watch. I’m not sure what the objection was, since she didn’t mind Night Court, so go figure. At any rate, thanks to the series’ 102 episodes (two over that magic syndication number of 100!) and a Saturday morning cartoon show (ha mom! You were asleep!), I’ve been able to catch up with Gordon Shumway’s adventures on earth.

The fuzzy little Alien Life Form only cracked the top 15 once, in 1988, and ended his run in 1990. But the program is notable for effectively bringing a puppet to life and surmounting one of the most technically difficult sitcoms ever produced. The whole set was a raised platform, designed to give puppeteers access and hide the mechanisms that supported Alf. The show was eventually cancelled on a cliffhanger note, resolved in a TV movie.

The actors who played the Tanner family, Alf’s human protectors, said the show was physically difficult to work on. In fact “dad” Willie Tanner a.k.a. Max Wright left on the final day of shooting without saying goodbye. However in a 2006 People Weekly article, he did revisit his opinion of the show saying, “It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like, ALF brought people a lot of joy.”

 
 
 

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