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Trivia / ALF

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  • Dawson Casting: The character of Lynn Tanner, who was supposed to be 14 when the series started, was portrayed by then 17-year old Andrea Elson.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Paul Fusco directed six episodes.
    • Anne Meara, who played Kate's mother, wrote a single episode.
  • Edited for Syndication:
    • Unfortunately, this carried over to the DVD releases (except the ones released in Germany, where were uncut) and Hulu, as well as the Shout! Factory streaming release (Shout's home video release advertised the return of these scenes as a selling point, thus averting it for once).
    • Also, the first version of the theme music was re-recorded in the key of C for some reason (it was originally in the key of D), it also contained a scene with ALF attempting to steal a pie from the fridge.
  • Follow the Leader: This is basically a comic version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, including ALF's Earth name being derived from what he is.
  • Hostility on the Set: The difficulties in working both on a set with multiple open trap doors to accommodate a puppet and puppeteer, and with a puppeteer whose perfectionism led to most episodes taking longer than usual to film for a sitcom of that era, led most of the human cast to deeply resent having to play second fiddle to a puppet and sometimes lash out over it at whoever was convenient. "We're all puppets here!" Max Wright said at one point. In fact, one of the show's most infamous stories is that Wright was apparently so miserable, the moment the final shooting session was done, he made a bee-line to his car and drove off, not speaking a word to anyone.
  • Kids' Meal Toy: At Burger King, the series got plushies, records containing original songs, and magnets.
  • Missing Episode: ALF's Special Christmas (two episodes) was skipped in Japan for various reasons. It did not air until 2009.
  • Old Shame:
    • None of the main human cast members had any major success after ALF. Max Wright continued to act until shortly before his death in 2019, and received a Tony nomination in 1993. The other three regulars have since retired from acting. Wright wanted nothing to do with the show for a long time afterwards, but later changed his mind, acknowledging in interviews how much joy ALF (the show and character) has brought to the world over the years.
    • Averted for most people who guest starred on ALF, such as Jack Riley and Teresa Ganzel, who have all stated that being on the show was a lot of fun for them. Ganzel had heard of the technical nightmares beforehand, but appeared on the show anyway just because she thought it'd be cool.
  • Screwed by the Network: NBC promised that even if they canceled the show, they would make sure there would be an episode to resolve the Season 4 cliffhanger; they went back on that.
  • Troubled Production: It has been described as being what Hell would be like for actors when they die. It was incredibly demanding, and reportedly almost everyone on set was miserable.
    • Due to the constant arduously technical demands of making the ALF puppet come to life, to film a 22 minute episode it took 20-25 full hours. Not helping was the fact that Paul Fusco was a perfectionist and a taskmaster, yet he despised rehearsals. This meant he forced everyone to shoot take after take as he tried to get his performance as ALF just right.
    • Because the show needed to accommodate the ALF puppet, sets were built on raised platforms with trap doors all over the place so puppeteers could work out of sight. Oftentimes, these multiple trapdoors would be left open so ALF could "move around" during takes, but proved to be a hazard for actors, who risked serious injury if they stepped in the wrong place. Also, if any human was caught looking down on camera, the entire take was cut and everyone would have to reset to go again.
    • One of the writers, Jerry Stahl, worked on the show while in the midst of a nightmarish heroin addiction, which he detailed in his memoir Permanent Midnight, at one point hallucinating the puppet attacking him while he was high in a bathroom stall.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • During the show's run, Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner actually attempted to purchase the series outright before Alien Productions made a syndication deal with Lorimar-Telepictures. (Ironically, years later Disney acquired the assets of Marvel Comics, publishers of the comic adaptation, while Lorimar had long since been absorbed into Warner Bros., owners of Marvel's perennial rival DC Comics.)
    • The last ALF comics issue ended with a No Fourth Wall story where ALF presented snippets of stories that would have been seen in the comic if it hadn't been canceled. Highlights include a Thelma & Louise parody with Kate and Dorothy, a Melmac version of the Watchmen called "The Washmen" (superheroes who run a laundromat), the revelation that Lynn would move out and get her own apartment, and a story where ALF and Brian go for a ride in ALF's spaceship and end up getting lost in space.
    • Word of God says that had ALF gone on for a fifth season, the setting would have been changed from the Tanner home to a military base. Somewhat reminiscent of The Phil Silvers Show, new episodes would have focused on the military trying to keep track of mischievous ALF in the same way the Tanners did for the first four seasons. The concept was later reworked into the Made-for-TV Movie Project: ALF.
    • Jim Henson, a big fan of the show, wanted to do a crossover between ALF and The Muppets. Paul Fusco turned the offer down however, as he didn't want kids associating ALF with other puppet characters.
  • The Wiki Rule: The ALF Wiki.