#ALF - There are VERYYY few shows, I can honestly say- I caught 'EVERY' single episode of!! When it comes to the show of ALF?? I caught each & every show!! In the process?? Getting in 2 fights- (one with a friend & one with my grandfather.. ALL over making it TO THE tv in time to catch the next episode of ALF on NBC!! ).. Beyond that?? I still have the VHS tapes I recorded the show on originally AND have the DVD set!! When it comes to a 'serious fan?' I'm the definition of it- when it comes to ALF!! Even had my very own 'CUSTOMIZED' License plate- at one time on my first car.. It is a FUNDAMENTAL part of my childhood.
It was on-air four seasons (bless the soul of Brandon Tartikoff). The finale being a full-length feature film, titled 'Project: ALF', (that NONE of the original cast were in). There's a reason... read on!
To the 'audience?' The show was a SMASH SUCCESS. Behind the scenes?? Literally, it was a MESS!! The animosity continued on apparently years after as well with the cast refusing to do interviews, much less reunions... Paul Fusco, (co-creator), was the voice of ALF.
The show jumped thru every technical hurdle & hoop of technology, at the time, to make the alien come to life. Also spawning it's very own ALF animated series.. Of which- I own most of too!! NBC!! Saturday mornings!! YESSS! It was GREAT!! 👍
I wrote to (and got correspondence back from) the shows co-creator, Tom Patchett. The response I got back- 'HORRIFIED' me! In it, Tom stated that if he 'spoke publicly about ALF - Fusco sicced his attorneys on him'...Tom Patchett, like Fusco, tooooo- gave immense time out of 'HIS' life to make ALF the success that it became. I originally wrote to Tom Patchett to take part in this story.. Here's the photo he sent back- autoed on the back.. Tom was 'VERY' cordial and amicable, and said that he would be glad to sign my stuff... But not speak publicly about ALF.. He explained, that sometime ago- he had accepted an interview on a talk show, and after the 'mentioned interview aired?' He 'received a letter from Paul Fusco's lawyers to cease & desist'- yada yada yada.. For this reason - he had severed ties from 'ALL THINGS ALF' in his life!! He ended the letter by stating he 'appreciated me taking the time to write to him, & my kind words about ALF'..BUT he said.. 'life is too short to deal with people like Paul Fusco.' This 'indeed,' was VERY depressing!! I can understand 'caring' about your creation that you've worked so hard on.. MmBut- calling what 'IS', & saying it 'IS NOT?!?'.. Is just uncalled for!! RIGHT is RIGHT & it's a SHAME that Tom worked SO HARD for near 5 years on a show that- in the end? He doesn't even feel like he can take credit for?? Especially, when it's ON THE SCREEN credits every time you see an ALF episode.. That is JUST WRONG!! Plain & simple! Rather than fight, however, Tom took the high road , doing the bigger & better thing - & simply walked away! From a professional standpoint - I can understand, respect, & commend him for that!! It's just horribly saad!! That said- I also wrote to Paul Fusco, & he was VERY kind and amicable as well.. (I think- deep down- Paul is a good person.. Just wrong about taking ALL credit for himself). BTW- here is the received auto'ed photo from Paul or... uhm ALF, as well;)
Willie, Kate, Brian, Lynn, & of course, the Ochmoneks.. (the nosey next door neighbors). 'Twas THE perfect cast!! They had the chemistry for great things... & the great things happened- in ABUNDANCE, for ALF.. But not the cast.. (Unless you consider the fact that the show 'PAID the bills' for themselves and their families for the 4 seasons it was on.) For nearly five years (4 seasons & the finale), the cast 'wowed' audiences world-wide with quick one-liners, & putting the star of the show, ALF, front & center.. (& being the 'butt' of his jokes.) THAT.. is of course what we - the watching audience.. saw. I've MULTIPLE favorites.. one of the 'most memorable', howev, was the ep where ALF makes a video for Lynn, proving ALF a formidable musician!! I was singing 'THAT' song for weeks!! Aside from ALF, Brian was the one I connected to the most. He was around my age and saw ALF as more his 'sidekick.' (Me too!!) BTW - here is a coolio interview Benji Gregory (Brian), did - just after the show ended..
***WARNING** If the 'myth' of ALF sustains you?? READ NO FURTHER.. If not?Okay then - here we go!!
The show hit the ground running on September 22, 1986.. I'd had my moms 'delish' meatloaf that night.. (A mute point- but said to show how well I remember that magestical day!) Majestical AND historic, in that, NO show, up until that time had even attempted such technology. Historic too, in that, it was the first television show to feature Dolby surround sound. Click here to watch a clip from the pilot episode..
The summary of the show was this.. An extraterrestrial alien ship, crashes into the garage of a middle-class Los Angeles suburban family named the Tanners. The family must then attempt to adapt to life with an alien life form, (aka ALF), living in their garage. All this, while keeping the ALF's presence (even to the nosey neighbors), a tight secret! The ALF's name was Gordon Shumway. His story was that his home planet of Melmac- blew to smithereens and he barely escaped in his Planet Guard UFO. He can walk, talk, & do many skills.. Those he can't do- he acts as if he can & usually gets the job done discovering what he is doing, all while he is doing it. With 2 stomachs & an appetite for cats of the feline kind.. It poses a problem for the Tanner family cat, Lucky.. (of all names).. The name turns out to be true, however! In the end - Lucky escapes... Life in tact (from the throws of ALF anyways!) In amongst my favorite eps.. ALF dreams he is back on Melmac with his buds in the 'Guard', which is the equal to the US Army here.. Extra ALF's were made for the ep.. which you can see a sample of here..
The voice of ALF- was voiced by co-creator of the show, Paul Fusco.. Fusco considered ALF his baby!! From start to finish- beginning to end- around the whole circumference of the circle. The (co) in co-creator means someone else was responsible for the conception of ALF.. & that 'co' honor goes to a fella by the name of Tom Patchett.
ALF required technicals... ALOT of them!! Paul voiced the alien. As technicals go- while Paul voiced him.. A couple others were involved in the process of bringing 'Gordon Shumway', to life! Two puppeteers, (credited as ALF's assistants), Bob Fappiano & Lisa Buckley- were ALF's main assistants (of course that's outside Paul Fusco- who was the main act for ALF, the voice, and remote controller of his mouth.)
When Mitchu left the show after the second season.. The producers were in somewhat of a pickle.
WHO?? I mean.. WHOoooo? Would replace him in that suit?? Noone would fit!! The suit was built around Michu's 2 ft 9 in frame!! Then a producer got an idea... She told other producers- 'I've got a 2 year old son!' So they brought him in for a test.. VOILA!! The kid fit 'like a glove', PERFECTLY into the suit. The kid was none other than.. Abraham Verduzco, the kid from the Antonio Banderas film, Desperado..
When the cameras were ready to roll.. The producing mom of the kid.. would make gestures - & Abraham would repeat them. Puppeteers would stand under the floor(that I'm fairly sure made this shot easy), of the specially designed set- remotely controlling ALF's ears , mouth, & eyes on cue. There were 4 controls- all together.. One for ALF's mouth, ears, brows, & one to make his eyes blink.. Scenes requiring ALF'er to walk- we're short (even when Mitchu wore the suit.) 3-4 scenes were shot in-sequence at once.. This was due to the suit (even with fans at full power) being so so hot inside said suit with the lights from the set glaring down!! When Mitchu left? Scenes were reduced to half- being that baby Abraham being 2... had less tolerance for the heat than Mitchu did!!
THIS was the home used for the outside shots of the house (for the title intro opening, cutaways, & establishing shots.) The house was actually located in a suburb of Los Angeles.. Not 'too-too' far from the ho house (urmm- I meant 'The Golden Girls' house.. This is what the ALF house looks like now.. It was knocked down & re-built a few years back. Rumor has it because the owner didn't care much for ALF fans coming by taking pics.. SNAP.. Though- I haven't been able to lay a foundation for those rumors actuality. The inside scenes were shot inside the NBC Studios, Burbank, Studio B.
Abraham wore the suit for season 3, & finished out the season (but just barely).. As a growing boy- by the end of the 3rd season.. Young Abraham was getting too big for the suit.. Thus? Most of the final season.. was shot with ALF stagnant, waist up shots, no walking.. When walking was necessary- a larger suit was made and the nearest child was put in it and told what to do.. Though, the suit (due to its proximities not being what the 2ft 9in original was).. They were weary about using!!
In the end? When the final wrap was given.. There was NO wrap party, NO tears, NOT EVEN any goodbyes.. The cast was fed up & ready to walk.. Thus, (though I am not sure, but I'm assuming), why there was none of the original cast in the ALF finale.. 'Project ALF.' Saad but true!! The final film turned out great though (despite the cast no show.) I guess, in the end, proving indeed- that ALL ALF NEEDED to make a homerun?? Was himself!! Though an original cast woulda been cool.. I don't think without the original cast (including Anne Meara- da mom of Ben Stiller).. ALF coulda 'had' the success he had!!
ALF will ALWAYS be my favorite sitcom!! The stuff that happened bts (behind the scenes) was unfortunate.. The show will always live on through DVD, re-runs, & the occasional ad-spot haha. (Though not immune to the occasional airline how-to video) Though- the DVD set isn't the same as the show 'original' was.. They cut some episodes down to size. I am assuming to make time on the dvd's. I don't like it AT ALL when they do that!! Here's a cool 80's flashback fosho!!
To ALF, Tom Patchett, Paul Fusco, and the ENTIRE cast!! THANK YOU - from the bottom of my heart for your contributions to.. not just my life (but all the ALF fans).. who got the honor of growing up in the AWESOME decade- that was the 80s!!