Why Filming the TV Series "ALF" Was a Nightmare


In the NBC sitcom ALF, Gordon Shumway is a sarcastic but friendly extraterrestrial nicknamed ALF — Alien Life Form — who crash-lands in the garage of the suburban middle-class Tanner family. Unsure what to do, the Tanners take ALF into their home and hide him from the Alien Task Force and their nosy neighbors, Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek, until ALF can repair his spacecraft. Due to the inherent nature of producing a show featuring a hand-operated puppet, ALF was technically difficult and extremely demanding on the actors. The 30-minute show took approximately 20-25 hours to shoot each episode, which caused a high level of tension on the set. Max Wright, who played patriarch Willie Tanner, despised supporting a technically demanding inanimate object that received most of the good lines of dialogue. During one episode, he became incensed the he physically attacked ALF, causing producers to pull him off the puppet. He walked off the set, went to his dressing room and got his bags, and left. The show finally ended in 1990, and no one could have been happier than Max Wright.