It’s amazing that some people still remember ALF, the puppet from another planet whose name stood for Alien Life Form.
Actually, quite a few people I know who grew up with the show ALF still have a certain fondness for the caustic puppet from the planet Melmac, and now there’s reports that he may be on his way back to Earth.
ALF ran on NBC from 1986 to 1990, and he was the creation of puppeteer Paul Fusco.
ALF was sold to NBC by Bernie Brillstein, the legendary Hollywood manager / producer who handled the careers of John Belushi, Jim Henson, and many other greats.
As Brillstein recalled in his memoir, Where Did I Go Right?, “Thanks to Jim Henson I was considered something of an expert of puppets – whatever that means.”
Fusco came into Brillstein’s office with ALF in a garbage bag. “Fusco pulled out this weird looking furry, brown puppet,” Brillstein recalled. “It looked like a bear with a long pig’s snout. Then Fusco insulted me in ALF’s gravelly, burlesque voice. It was hysterical.”
They took ALF to Brandon Tartifkoff, the late head of NBC, and when ALF sneezed, and wiped his imaginary snot on Tartikoff’s sleeve, he laughed and said, “I get it. Let’s go.” As Brillstein wrote, “Boom. Deal.”
Fusco recently told The Hollywood Reporter he’s been working on relaunching ALF for years and wanted to make an ALF movie. There was going to be an ALF TV movie that was going to wrap up the story after the show got cancelled, but then Tartikoff went on to run Paramount. One day Fusco and Tartikoff had breakfast and Brandon lamented, “It was a big mistake that we canceled your show, because you guys had at least one or two more seasons left.”
And now Fusco is working hard to bring ALF back, and he’s still got a lot of fans out there that would love to see him again. “I think the timing is right,” Fusco says. “That’s a big important thing, timing. There have been movies out there of characters that I didn’t think were on the same parallel as ALF that got movies made, so I think it’s time. I think it could be a home run on a lot of levels.”