How did the puppet work?

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How did the puppet work?

Postby MR. Littwack on Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:47 pm

Being new here, I hope you'll all excuse me for using the "P" word. But I am very curious as to how ALF was operated. Obviously for full body shots, mostly the opening credits of the first two seasons, they would use a little person in a costume. But how did the puppet work?

My best guess is that 2 people did most of the work. One person had both of their arms operating ALF's arms. One person (Paul Fusco I'm guessing since his voice also appears on the DVD gag reels.) operating the movement of the head and mouth/snout so as to be in synch with the dialog. I would guess at least one other person or perhaps two, operating the eyes and ears (via remote control?).

If you watch the gag reel on season one, there is quite a bit of unscripted movement of ALF. Assuming the set-up I mentioned above, I don't quite see how movement could be done so fluidly.

The most I have found anywhere on this is the information that the set was built on an elevated platform, and that through the use of many trap doors, allowed the operators to move around. If you look closely in the episode where the Tanners plan to move to San Diego (the title escapes me at the moment) just after the couch falls through the floor into the supposed basement, you can see the floor just a couple of feet below the living room floor. (This would make for a very cramped basement. Maybe thats why they never went down there. LOL)

The thing I can't figure out is how the person operating the arms fit into the puppet without being visible and still operate the arms so easily. Was it a child or little person? Whichever it was their head would almost have to be in ALF's chest. But watch his movements closely. The person inside would be at an extemely weird angle to operate and move the arms as freely as they did.

Please, please, if anyone has any info on this, please reply! This has been really bugging me.
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Postby ALFanatic on Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:46 pm

MR. Littwack,

Sorry, I cannot be of any help in answering your question, for only information I have is same as yours concerning little person in costume used for full body action shots in early episodes, and raised set with lots of hiidden openings for ALF access that made scene setups very time consuming and complex. However, see following suggestion being made to Admin which might hopefully provide additional information.

To Admin,

Question in post by "MR. Littwack", requesting information on the mechanics and operation of ALF, would be great question to be submitted to Mr. Paul Fusco for future comment.

Mike
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Postby MR. Littwack on Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:16 am

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I appreciate the response. Hopefully we can get an answer. I am worried though. As I understand it Mr. Fusco has been quite secretive about the mechanics of ALF. I can understand why. It's his creation and a great one at that.

Hopefully we will get an answer though. Just FYI to anyone interested, in the unaired pilot episode on the first season dvd set, there are a few tell tale signs that ALF was a puppet. Or at least that hair did not cover his entire body. I will post the exact place when I have a chance to view the episode again. But as I recall in one of the living room scenes if you look closely towards ALF's back, his hair line seems to stop about half way down his back. (Maybe ALF decided to shave after seeing Willie do it in the bathroom scene)

I have been watching the first two seasons recently and watching very closely. This is the only time I have noticed anything like this so far. The scenes were re-shot and did not make it into the aired episode though.

I think that goes to show the care and dedication that went into this show. Everyone involved deserves much more praise than they have gotten so far.

Thanks again for the reply. Even if we don't get an answer, if anyone would like to reply with any theories, I'd love to discuss the topic. If we do get an answer, it might also be fun to see how close our theories are.
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Postby ALF on Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:43 pm

Yeah, I myself have always been very curious about how it works. It all seems so real! I mean, it's not like you see srtings attached to ALF (therefore he cannot be referred to as a "muppet"). If we were to get an answer, it would be from Mr. Fusco himself.

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Postby melmac_alf on Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:46 am

I found this while surfing, hope it helps everyone. :) If you go to the link, you can check out a where are they now with pictures about the cast.

http://www.tvshows.de/alf/e-people.htm

ALF came to life via sleight of hand, but maneuvering the garrulous puppet created by magacian Paul Fusco was not the sleightest bit easy. "It was a great deal of work for everyone", says Fusco, 47, one of three people needed to operate the 4'3" ALF figure from beneath a specially built soundstage constructed 4 ft. off the ground.

The set was marked with strategically placed hand holes that had to be hidden, and actors bravely traded dialogue with a tattered rehearsal version of ALF nicknamed Ralph. The cast routinely worked 18-hour days. "In order to preserve the illusion, it had to take that time," says ALF's human foil, Max Wright. Because of the problematic puppetry and the creature's alien identity, "ALF could never go out," says Fusco. "It got tough to do stories where he could only interact with the five or six people he knew."

The series fizzled out in 1990 with a cliffhanger finale that left viewers wondering what had happened to ALF. A 1996 TV movie, Project: ALF, filled in some blanks: After abducting him from the Tanner home, the government installed ALF in a palatial suite on a secure Army base. Fusco, who lives in L.A. with his wife, Linda, 46, and son Christopher, 7, would like to bring the puppet back to TV. "ALF is hoping someone will come across with a nice offer," he says.
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Postby ALFanatic on Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:52 am

TO ALL ALF FANS:

Link suppleid in previous post by "melmac_alf" is to page on "Stephan's ALF-PAGE" website containing the entire artcile about ALF that appeared in the June 19, 2000, U.S. edition of "People Magazine".

Attempting to stay on topic, "melmac_alf" provides in post only an excerpt of the entire article pertaining to the ALF puppet; however, the entire article is quite long, and provides lots of additional information that may be of interest to ALF Fans.

I strongly suggest ALF Fans use the link supplied by "melmac_alf" to read the entire "People Magazine" article.

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Postby melmac_alf on Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:26 am

That's why I posted the link so people could go see the article.
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how alf worked

Postby pacman23 on Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:54 am

hey there i havent been here in long time ..
seen this post and i remebered i found a tape that i i kept thru the eyars .. its not the best but its very watchable .. i think they call it dailies .. im not sure its about hour long . it shows them filmin alf .. take 1 take 2 .. the video has the counter clock at the bottom .. u can see its paul fusco operating alf and i take it his wife next to him .. some senessho him getting to hot working alf and has to take a breather and he gets a oxygen mask casue he cant breath .. lol but i cant remeber where i got this tape . jsut put it up and forgot about it and came across it .. any questions let me know be glad to awnser them
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Postby melmac_alf on Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:29 am

Can you post it? I'd love to see it
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Postby pacman23 on Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:41 am

how would i post it on here ?
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Postby melmac_alf on Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:52 am

well, I'm not really sure about that, but if you upload it to youtube you could put the link on here for people to see.
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Postby pacman23 on Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:58 am

well i would but to many people get introuble for posting shhows i dont want ot get in trouble .. hmmm ill have to think of another way to post .. maybe try streaming it .. so others can se eit for a short time .. any ideas
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Postby pacman23 on Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:10 pm

here is littel of the alf dailes tape i have . pic is not good do to i took it l while back ill make better ones soon
this give ya idea u can see paul and his wife working the alf puppet .. let me know what u think

Image

Image
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Postby ALFanatic on Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:31 am

pacman23,

Are you still assuming that is Paul Fusco's wife assisting with the ALF puppet, or are you now certain of that information?

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Postby pacman23 on Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:54 am

form what i can remeber i think i can hear him say " honey " in it .. but ill see if ican figure a way to get a clip on here .. ill go thru the tape next few days .. i think it is his wife

ill also work on more pics ..
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Postby melmac_alf on Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:57 am

pacman23 wrote:here is littel of the alf dailes tape i have . pic is not good do to i took it l while back ill make better ones soon
this give ya idea u can see paul and his wife working the alf puppet .. let me know what u think


Cool, thanks for posting :)
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Postby Gordo on Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:59 pm

ALFanatic wrote:Are you still assuming that is Paul Fusco's wife assisting with the ALF puppet, or are you now certain of that information?


I believe the person giving ALF a hand there there may be Lisa Buckley. As you can imagine for such a superstar, ALF probably had lots of hot chicks to do stuff, like valet his fur inbetween takes.

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Postby MR. Littwack on Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:22 pm

[quote] here is littel of the alf dailes tape i have . pic is not good do to i took it l while back ill make better ones soon
this give ya idea u can see paul and his wife working the alf puppet .. let me know what u think [quote]

Now this is the kind of thing I was hoping for!

Where did you get this? Thats awesome. Are there any scenes that show the operation a little more clear? I hope you can get some video of this online soon. I'd love to see actual video
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Postby ALF on Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:57 pm

Any news of the video yet?
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Postby Jessica on Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:14 pm

Michu Meszaros (The person inside ALF) is dead right? But I wonder, how and when?

And who controled Alf when we only saw the half of him?
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