When Paul Fusco and Tom Patchett, the creators and producers of the show, brought ALF to a meeting with some executives of NBC, one of the executives, Warren Littlefield, thought it was the funniest presentation he had ever seen. He gave the show the green light and the production of the show began shortly afterwards. And so, the legend began and ALF would eventually earn a special place in our hearts and a well-deserved place in popular culture.
The story shows us how Gordon Shumway, or ALF (short for Alien Life Form,) befriends the Tanner family after travelling in space for some time after his planet, Melmac, was blown to bits by a nuclear holocaust. On one very special night in 1986, ALF crashed his spaceship in the Tanner family’s garage. ALF was lucky he landed where he did, because instead of turning him in to the feared Alien Task Force, the Tanners took him in to their family as one of their own. This is where the fun starts. The Tanner family consists of Willie, the father, Kate, the mother, and their two children; Brian, his older sister Lynn and their cat named Lucky.
The Tanners lives next door to their neighbors; Raquel and Trevor Ochmonek. The Ochmoneks tends to drop in unannounced most of the time. While Raquel is a bit nosy, Trevor likes to eat their food. When the Ochmoneks visits the Tanners,, ALF often gets to hear the 5 magical words from one of the family members, which is: “ALF, go to the kitchen!” Despite the annoying habits of the Ochmoneks, they are not bad people, it's just the way they are.
ALF is at most times a bit inconsiderate, clumsy and lazy. He does however, have his heart at the right place. He is also constantly hungry, which brings us to a problem in the Tanner household: ALF loves cats! Not in the traditional way, in the fast-food way, meaning he likes to eat them! Cats were the finest food on planet Melmac, so he has a hard time dealing with the rule of “No cat-eating”.
The show was so popular that every kid living in the 80’s knew who ALF was, and probably watched the show too. But despite what some of you might think, not only kids watched the show, people from all ages tuned in to watch the furry little alien get in trouble over and over again.
ALF quickly got recognition and received several nominations and won some prestigious awards, such as a People's Choice Award for Favoite New TV Comedy Program in its first year. The shows highest rating was when it was rated the 10th most watched show during its second season between the years 1987-1988.
In 1990, the show ended in a way it shouldn’t have. A cliffhanger episode was made as the end of season 4, the conclusion was supposed to come in the 5th season. However, with lower ratings and failed negotiations between NBC and Alien Productions, NBC decided to pull the plug. The news brought anger, despair but most of all confusion to the many fans of the show. We had to say goodbye to the wise-cracking alien we had come to love so much. But rest assure, ALF was going to come back…
Despite its popularity, ALF was a rather short-lived sitcom that aired mostly on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on NBC from 1986-1990, the last part of the 4th season was aired on Fridays at 8 p.m.. The show lasted 4 seasons and 102 unforgettable episodes. The success and popularity of the show combined with the iconic figure that ALF became made this show a true phenomenon.
Below are some pictures from the show.