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The Wayback Machine: ALF!

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 08/14/2012 - 6:33pm, updated 08/14/2012 - 8:13pm

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As we reported here on Cosmic Book News Aug. 9, Sony has purchased the rights to make an ALF big-screen movie.

That’s right, you 1980s TV fans of the puppet, cat-eating Alien Life Form (ALF) who stormed NBC and toy stores for four seasons in that decade – a real in-theatres film!

The proposed flick will be produced by Smurfs producer Jordan Kerner and is thought to be a hybrid live action/CGI affair.

So let’s step through the ol’ Wayback Machine and discover my mom’s (only) favorite sci-fi TV show: ALF!

Of course, the creature that is ALF in the show’s reality is an alien from the planet Melmac who follows a ham radio signal to Earth and crash-lands into the garage of the Tanners, a suburban middle-class family in the San Fernando Valley area of LA.

The family consists of social worker Willie (Max Wright), ALF’s second banana (“Hey, Willy!”); Willie’s wife Kate (Anne Schedeen); their teenage daughter Lynn (Andrea Elson); younger son (and not near a “Will Robinson” brainiac) Brian (Benji Gregory); and their cat Lucky (whom ALF tries to turn into evening dinner during the entire run of the show).

Unsure what to do after this marvelous creature has literally landed in their living room, the Tanners take ALF into their home and hide him from the Alien Task Force (a part of the U.S. military) and their nosy neighbors Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek (John LaMotta and Liz Sheridan, the Kravitzes of the show) until he can repair his spacecraft. He generally hid from visitors in the kitchen.

While most of the science fiction of ALF was played for comedic value, there were a few references to actual topics in space exploration; for example, ALF uses a radio signal as a beacon in the pilot episode. In the episode “Weird Science,” ALF told Brian, who was building a model of the solar system for his science project, that there were two planets beyond Pluto called “Dave” and “Alvin,” which gets Brian in trouble at school. However, after ALF makes a call to an astronomical organization and states that “Dave” is known by the organization, Willie comes to believe that “Dave” could have been the planetoid Chiron, or “Object Kowal” after its discoverer. ALF then shows Willie exactly where “Dave” is on an intergalactic Rand-McNally map of the universe.

To the delight of old fans, original ALF creator Tom Patchett and puppeteer Paul Fusco are reportedly on the project as producers as well. Fusco was the original voice of ALF (aka Gordon Shumway) and is expected to reprise the role.

No writer or director is attached as of yet.

As a fan of ALF, I hope this film has the same quirkiness and sense of delight as the original series run. We all remember what happened when Howard the Duck came to the big screen, right? As Gordon would say: “Oy!”

Hey, Willie!

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