|Gordon Shumway was an alien from the planet Melmac. When his planet exploded, "Gordo" escaped and crash-landed in the garage of the Tanner family, who dubbed him Alf (Alien Life Form). This was the basis for the prime-time sitcom Alf, a surprise hit on NBC in the mid-80's. After one season, the network brought the furry orange star to Saturday morning in an all-new animated series.
The cartoon took place several years earlier—before Melmac’s destruction—and featured Gordon, his friends, and his family in everyday situations (everyday for Melmac, that is). Gordo's family consisted of dad Bob, mother Flo, brother Curtis, and little sister Augie. Friends Sloop and Skip made frequent appearances, as did Gordo's girlfriend Rhonda. Paul Fusco, who voiced the alien for the sitcom, also lent his throaty tenor to the cartoon.
The animated Alf won legions of new fans by spoofing what most people considered normality—shopping, school, driving, etc. The writers were free to create outrageous scenarios and let the characters react as if everything were perfectly normal; it was another planet, after all. Within this framework, many episodes ended up being a parody of any number of pop-culture icons.
In 1988 Alf was expanded to a full hour, adding a segment entitled Alf Tales. These portions of the show featured Alf and his friends in familiar fairy tales or classic movies—everything from Sleeping Beauty to Batman—all peppered with the Shumway family wit.
A year later, the show was shortened to thirty minutes, and only Alf Tales remained.