Most noted for his creation of Alien Life Form or ALF, Paul Fusco prioritized nothing more than to preserve the illusion that ALF was an alien from planet Melmac. With the need to protect ALF’s illusion, Fusco had to turn down numerous offers of guest appearances.
Although The Muppets Creator Jim Henson wanted to collaborate with Paul Fusco for a Christmas special, the ALF creator rejected his offer as he wanted to prioritize the preservation of ALF’s character and didn’t want people to mistake ALF for a muppet.
Paul Fusco and His Iconic Creation, ALF
Paul Fusco was born in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, on January 29, 1953. Most recognized for being Alien Life Form or ALF’s creator and the main character, Fusco established his legacy with ALF‘s creation, which continues to be a pop culture standard even after more than 30 years since its release.
Fusco is both an actor and producer, with his most recognized works being ALF in 1986, Project: ALF in 1996, and Disaster Movie in 2008. Fusco plays the same character as Gordon Shumway or ALF in twelve various series, namely, ALF, A.L.F, ALF Tales, The New Hollywood Squares, Matlock, Blossom, Love Boat: The Next Wave, Hollywood Squares, The Cindy Margolis Show, ALF’s Hit Talk Show, The Factor, and Mr. Robot. (Source: IMDB)
After ALF won over a conference room at NBC, a desperate company with nine flopped season pilots, the show became a distinct sitcom due to its unique alien protagonist.
Airing opposite MacGyver and Kate & Allie, ALF premiered on September 22, 1986, and was immediately singled out for its distinctive approach to the sitcom—one in which the lead character was literally not of this earth.Jake Rossen, Mental Floss
Although alternatively referred to by critics as a Teddy Ruxpin bear that was horribly disfigured by a revolving door or an alien puppet dog, that didn’t stop ALF’s skyrocketing fame and the increasing ALF merchandise. Toothbrushes, dolls, backpacks, and other licensed goods brought hundreds of millions in sales. ALF was a cultural phenomenon that reached the Nielsen ratings’ Top 10 and attained a temporary spot on Hollywood Squares. (Source: Mental Floss)
The Preservation of ALF‘s Character
Fusco heavily prioritized the preservation of ALF‘s character not as a puppet but as an alien. Fusco avoided episodes involving live audiences, and to further protect ALF’s image, advised the cast and staff to refer to ALF as an alien from planet Melmac when talking to the press.
In addition to that, as ALF‘s popularity continued to soar, Fusco would receive and deny offers of guest appearances if he thought it would be problematic to the preserved illusion of ALF. One of the denied offers included The Muppets and ALF crossover.
Jim Henson was a big fan of ALF and wanted him to do a Muppet Show—the John Denver Christmas Special. He wanted to do something with Kermit and Miss Piggy. It would’ve given me an opportunity to perform with Jim and Frank Oz, but I turned it down because I didn’t want ALF to be perceived as a Muppet.Paul Fusco
(Source: Mental Floss)