The Show “ALF”, Cast, Pictures, and Trivia!!
This series is about ALF, (a.k.a. alien life form) a furry, strange-looking creature from another planet,
who crash-lands onto earth and into the Tanner family’s garage, lives and hearts, after following the signal of a ham radio. The Tanner family, Willie, (Max Wright) Kate, (Anne Schedeen), Lynn, (Andrea Elson) and Brian, (Benji Gregory) live in the San Fernando Valley of California, along with their family cat, Lucky.
The Tanners are uncertain as to just what to make of ALF. They eventually decide that he is relatively harmless and take him into their home. However, problems set in almost immediately. First, they have to protect him from a government group called, The Alien Task Force, a part of the military that specializes in capturing aliens. Secondly, they have an incredibly meddlesome set of neighbors in the Ochmoneks, who pry their way into any situation they can. Now Trevor Ochmonek, (John LaMotta) although annoying, isn’t the real problem, the big issue is his wife, Raquel (Liz Sheridan). Raquel, unfortunately, sees many things that she shouldn’t, which thusly creates the need for many stories in order to cover up these incidents.
Now, it eventually comes out that the planet that ALF is from, Melmac, no longer exists. It exploded due to some type of nuclear war; so unfortunately, he is homeless and eventually becomes a permanent member of the Tanner family. ALF, or Gordon Shumway, (as he was known on Melmac) comes to love them as if they were his own, and they love him in return. They do have constant worries about the many situations that are created by or because of him, as well as the worry that someone will find out that he lives with them, but they try to deal with it as best they can, hour by hour and day by day. Now as time goes on, other characters are introduced into the series that do find out about ALF. Some of them, ALF truly likes, and then there are others, such as Kate’s mother, Dorothy, (Anne Meara) whom he could easily do without at times. Still, they all manage to adjust against what are sometimes very difficult or annoying circumstances, the largest of which is that he likes to eat cats. This, of course, creates many problems where their family cat, Lucky is concerned. On Melmac, cats were on the same level as cattle, so ALF finds it rather difficult not to use Lucky as a midnight snack. He also likes to burp all the time, is incredibly sarcastic, can whistle without even opening his mouth, and eats everything in sight. (Well, he DOES have 8 stomachs!) All in all, he is certainly not your typical houseguest.
This show, though only on four seasons, was hysterical. It does slow down a bit towards the end, but just watching the first two seasons is well worth your time. Some episodes I actually laughed ’til I cried! I give this series 7 out of 10.
ALF-Paul Fusco (puppeteer and voice) (also played by Mihaly ‘Michu’ Meszaros in full costume)
Willie Tanner-Max Wright
Kate Tanner-Anne Schedeen
Lynn Tanner-Andrea Elson
Brian Tanner-Benji Gregory
Trevor Ochmonek-John LaMotta
Raquel Ochmonek-Liz Sheridan
Eric Tanner-Charles Nickerson
Jake Ochmonek-Josh Blake
Dorothy Halligan-Anne Meara
Neal Tanner-Jim J. Bullock
Mrs. Byrd-Beverly Archer
Officer Griswald-Raye Birk
Robert Sherwood-Dean Cameron
Fox Langenkamp as himself
Police Officer-Nick Angotti
George Foley-Cleavon Little
Danny Duckworth-Ricky Paull Goldin
Rich Little as himself
Brandon Tartikoff-David Leisure
Sgt. Fox-Michael Champion
The Matinee Lady-Teresa Ganzel
Carl Buck-Lee Ryan
Mrs. Lyman-Marcia Wallace
The Stage Manager-Tim Wade
Pope John Paul II-Eugene Greytak
Dr. Willoughby-Carl Franklin
Frederick De Cordova as himself
Jeff-Norman Lee Harris
Bernice Billings-Linda Hoy
Nurse #1-Connie Richmond
Nurse #2-Patricia Ayame Thomson
Uncle Rocky-Robert P. Lieb
Delivery Man-Alan David Gelman
Cat Woman-Nedra Volz
Little Boy-James Brown III
Doug Gould-Carlos Lacamara
Officer Gaffney-Hal Havins
Ed McMahon as himself
Tommy Newsom as himself
Flakey Pete-David Ogden Stiers
Max Wright (Willie Tanner) actually hated making the show, he admitted that he was “hugely eager to have ALf over with”. On their last day of shooting, according to Anne Schedeen, (Kate Tanner) “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.”
ALF was the first television series to be presented in Dolby Surround sound system.
Benji Gregory (Brian Tanner) has several family members who are actors, and his grandmother is his agent.
Andrea Elson (Lynn Tanner) was going through personal difficulties during the ALF series, as she was dealing with bulimia. She later overcame the disease.
Anne Schedeen has guest-starred on many different series, and had a starring role on the series, “Paper Dolls”. Some of her guest-starring roles include, “Cheers“, “E.R.”, “Simon & Simon” and “Murder She Wrote“.
Because ALF was a show that used hand-operated puppets, it was technically very difficult, and also incredibly demanding on all of the shows four lead actors as well as Paul Fusco, who created the series. A 30-minute show would take anywhere from 20 to 25 hours to shoot, making it an extremely frustrating process to go through.
In 2004, Benji Gregory joined the United States Navy, becoming an Aerographer’s Mate.
Liz Sheridan (Raquel Ochmonek) wrote a book entitled, “Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life with James Dean: A Love Story”. In the book, she says that she and Dean were each other’s first loves’, but that after he was cast in a play, he started to drift away from her, effectively ending their relationship.
Andrea Elson is married to Scott Hopper, who was a production assistant on ALF.
In 1995, Max Wright was diagnosed with lymphoma. He is now in remission.
The set was built on a platform that was raised four feet above the ground. It also consisted of many trapdoors all over, so that ALF could appear almost anywhere, at any time that he was needed. This made many deep and dangerous holes all over the set.
Anne Schedeen refused to let her age be known for quite a number of years.
Anne Meara has appeared on many shows, including a recurring role as Mary Brady on “Sex and the City“.
Max Wright has been married to his wife, Linda, for almost 50 years, and they have two children.
The season four finale was not originally intended as a cliffhanger, but instead ended up being not only that, but the series finale as well. Six years after ALF ended, in February of 1996, they made a TV movie called, “Project: ALF”. This was supposed to serve as an ending to the series, but most people didn’t feel that it had anything to do with the original show. The entire Tanner family was absent, as was almost everyone else ever associated with the show, with the exception of Paul Fusco and Beverly Archer.
The character of ALF, came in at #8 on TV Guide’s list of “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends”, in 2004.
Anne Schedeen has been married to her husband, Christopher Barrett, since 1984. They have one child, a daughter named, Taylor. This pregnancy occurred during the ALF series, which was the reason behind the character of baby Eric, being introduced on to the show.
Though some of the funniest jokes had to do with ALF wanting to eat Lucky, the family cat, it was used much less after NBC got reports that a child had put a cat in a microwave after watching the show.
Max Wright has had two DUI arrests since January of 2000.
Benji Gregory went to the Academy of Art University, located in San Francisco, California.
Andrea Elson was nominated twice during the making of ALF, for a “Youth in Film Award”.
Anne Schedeen’s real name is, Luanne Ruth Schedeen.
Anne Meara (Dorothy Halligan) is the mother of actor, Ben Stiller.
Jerry Stahl, who was a staff writer on the series, wrote a book called, “Permanent Midnight”, which was a memoir of his earlier life. In it, he wrote about his success as a writer on ALF, “Moonlighting” and “Thirtysomething”, while dealing with his heroin addiction at the same time. It was later made into the movie, “Permanent Midnight” with Ben Stiller.
Max Wright has had roles on several television shows, some of which include, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, “AfterMASH” and “Friends“.