Most television shows make a fair amount of sense. They seem to have a formulaic style of comedy or drama that is easy to understand. Then there is ALF. How do you even begin to describe ALF?
An Alien Life Form (ALF) crash-lands in suburban California in the home of the the Tanners. The Tanners hide ALF in their house while he is supposed to be repairing his spaceship. ALF reveals that his planet when through a nuclear explosion and wants to warn the president that this might happen to Earth. It does not go super great, but he does end up staying on the planet.
There aren't a lot of shows where the main character is a puppet, but somehow this show managed to make it work for 4 seasons. It was a bizarre thing, but people loved it. There were however, a lot of things that went on behind the scenes that people didn't know.
Two puppets were used for ALF
They had two main puppets to use for ALF. One was used for the close up shots that was operated by Paul Fusco, the voice of ALF. The other was a full size ALF suit that was actually worn by an actor named Mihaly Meszaros.
The stage had to be built four feet above the ground
This was so Fusco could puppet ALF properly. He would used trap doors to get the puppet to where he needed to be, and because he needed room to stand they had to build the stage up high.
There was a third puppet named RALF
He was used in rehearsals so they could make sure to keep the real puppet looking good. RALF stood for Rehearsal Alien Life Form.
ALF was kind of the first of its kind, at least in one really big way...
The show had to change its plan once it got popular
Because the show ended up being watched by families, they had to make a lot of changes. ALF was drinking beer in the first episode, but they quickly stopped that in the rest of the season.
ALF has the honor of being the first show for something kind of cool
It was the first show that was presented in Dolby Surround Sound.
Baby Eric wasn't part of the original plan
He was written in because the actress Anne Schedeen (AKA Mrs. Tanner) got pregnant.
The show's iconic cliffhanger was a risk
They actually made the show into a cliffhanger because they really wanted to come back for the fifth season. The shows creators hoped that ending it on a cliffhanger would be enticing enough for the network to bring it back, but it didn't work. NBC cancelled the show, leaving all the questions unanswered. It wasn't until six years later that a TV movie called Project: ALF resolved the problems of the season four finale.