On ALF’s 30th Birthday, Here Are 5 Bizarre, But True 'ALF' Facts

Alex Logan

It’s the 30th Anniversary of ALF, and the whole world is celebrating! It was September 22, 1986, that NBC aired ALF’s pilot episode in which the titular, furry, Melmacian emigre crash lands on a suburban family’s home, moves in with them, and repeatedly tries to eat their cat. Today, let’s look back at this weird and whacky ‘80s artifact with these 5 Bizarre, But True ALF Facts.

1. ALF’s real name

ALF is actually just a nickname that stands for Alien Life Form. The extraterrestrial’s real name is Gordon Shumway. Yes, that’s right, kids. Gordon Shumway. The more you know!

2. Pushing the envelope

The writers of ALF wanted to get edgy with the show’s humor — hence the “cat eating” jokes… Get it? But after a child put a cat in the microwave, NBC censors put a kibosh on the animal consuming. The network also demanded that ALF wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol after he was seen knocking back beers with a kid in the pilot. Despite creator Paul Fusco’s insistence that the alien is 285 years old, NBC didn’t want ALF to be “a bad role model.”

Begin at the beginning and watch the first episode of ALF right here, right now…

3. ALF was everywhere!

As ALF mania gripped America, the fuzzy puppet made appearances on other popular shows like Matlock, Hollywood Squares, and Blossom. He even recorded some classic rock tunes, like “Melmac Rock” and “Take Me, ALF, to the Ballgame.” But never will we forget the greatest medium that ALF ever graced… POGS!

4. Drama on set

The cast of ALF weren’t exactly… friends. Working with a puppet isn’t nearly as glamorous as it seems, and as Anne Schedeen, the mother of ALF’s adoptive family, said, “there was no joy on the set…it was a technical nightmare – extremely slow, hot and tedious… A 30-minute show took 20, 25 hours to shoot.” There was tension with her on-screen husband, Max Wright, as well. He despised playing second fiddle to an inanimate object that got the best lines of dialogue. And as Schedeen remembers the last night of taping, “there was one take and Max walked off the set, went to his dressing room, got his bags, went to his car and disappeared… There were no goodbyes.”

Want to see ALF make a music video? Of course you do! Watch “Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue?”

5. Hook ‘em with a cliffhanger

After four seasons, and 102 episodes, ALF ended on March 24, 1990… WITH A CLIFFHANGER?! The producers were hoping to entice NBC to approve another season of the show, but it didn’t work, and ALF was no more. Except six years later, when a feature film picked up where the series left off. Project: ALF tried to recapture the magic of the series, without his old Earth family. Due to its poor reception with essentially everyone, most ALF-heads don’t consider the movie canon.

Watch more full episodes of ALF on Yahoo View.

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