The Trouble With ALF

It must have been a blast being in the same room with ALF, right? After all, very shortly after the series premiered, the furry alien was found everywhere, from lunchboxes to T-shirts and even on the rearview window. But was it as funny being on the set with him as it was watching him in the series?

As Paul Fusco once said, it was a logistical nightmare shooting an episode of ALF. The entire stage was built on a platform, filled with trapdoors, so that he could operate the puppet (whether it was moving or just talking).

Furthermore, the entire cast had to be particularly careful on set. They had to say the lines in the most natural way, while also paying attention to the said trapdoors. And it was particularly difficult not to watch your step, especially if you were a child.

Furthermore, this also meant that each time ALF walked around the set the crew also had to change the light settings, while the camera also needed to be repositioned (after all, the producers didn’t want anybody to see how ALF was operated).

These things alone necessitated a lot of time – and I am not even mentioning the entire make-up session, which also took quite a lot. As a comparison, a usual 30 minutes long sitcom episode is shot in around 5 or maybe little more hours.

However, given all the changes that needed to be made, one single episode of ALF was shot anywhere between 20 to 25 hours, spread on two days. No matter how you look at it, it was a lot of time.

But it wasn’t so during the first two seasons, when ALF had inside him a little man whenever he was walking (so there were not necessary any platforms and trapdoors). That little man was Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros, who was listed, back then, as the smallest person in the world. He was 2 feet 9 inches tall, so he was perfect for the role.

Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros was a circus performer in his home country, Hungary. So it wasn’t quite the easy life. But does that mean that he was absolutely happy on the set?

Well, he actually wasn’t, because the ALF costume was very heavy and it was very hot whenever Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros was inside of it. If you add to that all the lights on the set (which made it even hotter), you can get an idea of how good it must have felt to be ALF.

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