25 Fun Facts About ALF

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NBC / Alf

Sure, you know the cat-eating alien hails from the planet Melmac, but there’s plenty you (probably) don’t know about Gordon Shumway and his classic television show.

1. The voice of ALF, Paul Fusco, also operated the ALF puppet—most of the time. When ALF needed to be shown in his full glory, actor Mihaly Meszaros—who stands two feet nine inches tall—stepped into the costume.

2. The show’s finale was crafted as cliffhanger to entice the network to bring the show back for a new season. The ruse didn’t work, and the show was indeed cancelled before it could resolve its ending, though a bunch of loose ends were tied up six years later, with the release of TV movie Project: ALF.

3. Project: ALF is often rejected by ALF fans. They don't consider it "canon." One reason they hated it? None of the original human cast returned.

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4. The show was a huge hit in Germany. The city limits sign of the German city Alf was stolen so many times that the city ultimately stocked up a bunch of them, to always have a new one handy.

5. Ever notice that ALF sometimes looked really different? That's because there were two ALF puppets. One was used for all shots that went from the stomach up, while another was only used for full body shots (the same ones that saw Meszaros puppeting from inside the costume).

6. Baby Eric was written into the show when actress Anne Schedeen (Mrs. Tanner) got pregnant in real life.

7. ALF was always mixing up his career path, including a stint writing for a soap opera. The soap opera was called “One World to Hope For.”

8. ALF supposedly had two sisters—a half and a full. The full sister, Augie, showed up in the cartoons, and the half-sister, Dianne, was mentioned on trading cards.

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9. ALF got his own set of trading cards—a whole series, issued by Topps!—in the late '80s. A few of the cards were parody sports cards that depicted ALF’s favorite sport, Boulliabaseball.

10. ALF was the first television show to be presented in Dolby Surround Sound.

11. ALF had eight stomachs. Which is probably why he had such a notoriously huge appetite.

GuruFilm, YouTube

12. ALF’s birthday is October 28, 1756.

13. ALF’s home planet of Melmac had a green sky and blue grass. Its sun, however, was purple.

14. The show’s set was built on a platform that was four feet above the ground, so that Fusco could puppet ALF anywhere on the stage. Fusco used a series of trapdoors to puppet ALF around, and they sometimes needed to be reset in the middle of a scene.

15. The ALF set was apparently seething with tension and troubles. The technical demands of such a program were especially wearing on the human cast, many of whom hated playing second banana to an inanimate puppet.

16. A rehearsal puppet was often used, in order to avoid wear and tear on the real ALF puppets. He was called RALF—“Rehearsal Alien Life Form.”

17. ALF’s popularity with children changed the direction of the show. Which is why ALF, who drank a beer in the first episode, didn’t consume any alcohol on screen after the first season.

18. ALF: The Animated Series served as a prequel to the live-action show, in an attempt to capitalize on the series’ popularity. It’s set on Melmac before ALF goes to Earth.

19. Marvel Comics published a fifty-issue run of ALF comics in the late '80s.

20. Paul Fusco is reportedly working on an all-new CGI-live action feature film based on the series. Sony Pictures Animation owns the rights now.

21. ALF appeared on a number of other popular television shows. He popped up on Matlock, Blossom, and Hollywood Squares, among others.

22. In 1988, Burger King ran an ALF promotion that included giving away ALF puppets and cardboard records. ALF himself sang on the records, with songs like “Melmac Rock” and “Take Me, ALF, to the Ballgame.”

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23. Every episode of ALF was titled after or alluded to a song, and each title had something to do with the show’s actual content.

24. The series ran 99 episodes, including three one-hour specials. Those specials were split into two, which is why ALF in syndication runs 102 episodes.

25. Melmac was located six parsecs past the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster. At least until it was blown up by a nuclear bomb.

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April 8, 2014 - 11:00am
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