Pop Culture | TV | 80s | 90s

The Cast Of ‘ALF’ Reveal Filming The Show Was “Very Grim” - And Some Of Them Are Still Recovering

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Part of growing up is learning that the things you loved the most as a child could be deeply traumatizing for the people who made it.

You might expect working on a family show about a fuzzy, lovable extraterrestrial would be pretty fun.

But the cast of ALF, the show about a mischievous alien life form living with a typical American family, reveal there was "no joy" while filming the series.

The Man Behind The Melmacian

ALF's creator, as well as the voice and main puppeteer for the show's star, was magician and ventriloquist Paul Fusco.

Whether you would label him "eccentric" or "downright weird," there's no denying Fusco had a unique relationship with ALF.


Fusco considered the puppet an extension of himself. He claims he never called ALF an "it" or a thing, and even asked the alien for writing advice while working on the show.

He was also surprisingly protective of his star, using a rehearsal version of ALF (RALF, or "Rehearsal Alien Life Form") to keep the puppet in good shape for the show.

But Fusco's insistence on making ALF as "realistic" as possible made the set a living hell for the human cast.

"A great deal of work for everyone."

To let ALF interact naturally with the human cast, a custom sound stage was built with massive, gaping trapdoors and hand holes that quickly became a safety hazard.

You'll notice ALF was never taped in front of a live studio audience. Sitting around for 12 hours to accommodate set changes would have killed the magic for the show's fans.

Anne Schedeen, who played the show's mother, Kate Tanner, said a 30-minute episode could take "20, 25 hours to shoot."

Even Fusco admits his demands made the series "a great deal of work for everyone."

As if that wasn't enough, almost the entire cast were battling their own personal demons behind the scenes.

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