First of all, ALF isn't a name, but an acronym - it stands for Alien Life Form. The title character was from the planet Melmac and was portrayed on the show as a puppet, voiced by Paul Fusco.
ALF was flying his spaceship above the United States when he happened to crash into the garage roof of the Tanners, a typical suburban American family. Instead of turning him over to the villainous government Alien Task Force, the Tanners decided to adopt the furry, wiseass creature into their family. ALF was a tried-and-true sitcom formula (My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy) wherein an alien being is dropped into modern life and, with his outsider's perspective, is able to offer sarcastic, pointed comments about our society. ALF doubled as a regular domestic sitcom revolving around the Tanners, of course; it even occasionally featured a bit of drama concerning the lead character's attempts to hide from the government. Little opportunity was lost in the show's four-year run to display any fish-out-of-water gag or alien-offering-family-advice-that-goes-horribly-wrong gag. One good running joke was that ALF's preferred snack was housecat - he was always chasing after the Tanners' pet Lucky to no avail.
ALF would return in a TV movie, 1996's Project: ALF, as well as a Saturday-morning cartoon, ALF: The Animated Series, which detailed ALF's adventures on the planet Melmac before coming to Earth.
- ALF's real name was Gordon Shumway, and he was 229 years old when the show began.
- In the infrequent scenes where ALF was shown walking around, a little person named Michu Meszaros was hired to don a full-body ALF suit.
- ALF's spaceship was a Phlegm 220 model.
- Melmac was a brand of plastic tableware that was popular during the 1950's and 60's.
September 22, 1986 - March 24, 1990
Aired: Monday nights at 8:00pm
ALF - Paul Fusco
Willie Tanner - Max Wright
Kate Tanner - Anne Schedeen
Lynn Tanner - Andrea Elson
Brian Tanner - Benji Gregory
Trevor Ochmonek - John LaMotta
Raquel Ochmonek - Liz Sheridan