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My Favorite Martian
My Favorite Martian title.jpg
Title screenshot
Genre Sitcom
Created by John L. Greene
Starring Ray Walston
Bill Bixby
Alan Hewitt
Pamela Britton
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 107
Production
Executive producer(s) Harry Poppe
Producer(s) Jack Chertok
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 29, 1963 (1963-09-29) – May 1, 1966
Chronology
Followed by My Favorite Martians

My Favorite Martian is an American television sitcom that aired on CBS from September 29, 1963 to May 1, 1966[1] for 107 episodes (75 in black and white 1963-1965, 32 color 1965-1966). The show starred Ray Walston as Uncle Martin (the Martian) and Bill Bixby as Tim O'Hara.

This series was produced by Jack Chertok.

Contents

Premise

A human-looking extraterrestrial in a one-man spaceship crash-lands near Los Angeles. The ship's pilot is, in fact, an anthropologist from Mars and is now stranded on Earth. Tim O'Hara, a young newspaper reporter for The Los Angeles Sun, is on his way home from Edwards Air Force Base (where he had gone to report on the flight of the X-15) back to Los Angeles when he spots the spaceship coming down.

Tim takes the Martian in as his roommate and passes him off as his Uncle Martin. Uncle Martin refuses to reveal any of his Martian traits to people other than Tim, to avoid publicity (or panic), and Tim agrees to keep Martin's identity a secret while the Martian attempts to repair his ship. Uncle Martin has various unusual powers: he can raise from his head two retractable antennae and become invisible; he is telepathic and can read and influence minds; he can levitate objects with the motion of his finger; he can communicate with animals; and he can also speed himself (and other people) up to do work.

Martin also builds several advanced devices, such as a time machine which can transport Tim and the Martian back to Medieval England and other times and places, such as St. Louis in 1849, the early days of Hollywood, or bring Leonardo da Vinci and Jesse James into the present. Another device he builds is a "molecular separator" which can take apart the molecules of a physical object, or rearrange them (a squirrel was made into a human). Another device can take memories and store them in pill form to "relearn" them later. Another device can create temporary duplicates, and another item which can levitate himself and others without the need of his finger.

Tim and Uncle Martin live in an apartment house run by a congenial but scatterbrained landlady, Mrs. Lorelei Brown, who often shows up when not wanted. She later dates a vain, cold-hearted, plain-clothes police officer, Detective Bill Brennan, who dislikes Uncle Martin and is highly suspicious of him.

The first two seasons were filmed in black-and-white (at Desilu), but the final season was shot in color (at MGM), resulting in minor changes in the set and the format of the show. In addition to the extraterrestrial powers indicated in the first two seasons, Martin seemed to be able to do much more in the final season, such as stimulating facial hair to provide him and Tim with a quick disguise, and levitating with his nose. Brennan's boss, the police chief, was involved in many episodes in the third season, generally as a device to humiliate the overzealous detective.

Martin's real name, Exigius 12 1/2 (revealed in "We Love You, Mrs. Pringle") was heard again when his real nephew, Andromeda, crash-landed on Earth in the show's third season. Andromeda, originally devised to bring younger viewers to the aging show, disappeared without explanation after a single episode and was never referred to again in the two episodes filmed after it, or six episodes already filmed, but aired afterward (Andromeda was, however, a regular on the later animated series My Favorite Martians). He had a single antenna, which Martin explains was because his baby antennae had fallen out and only one adult antenna had come in, so far.

Characters

  • Uncle Martin O'Hara (the Martian), played by Ray Walston
  • Tim O'Hara, played by Bill Bixby
  • Mrs. Loralei Brown, played by Pamela Britton
  • Mr. Burns, played by J. Pat O'Malley, first season only, as Tim's boss at the newspaper
  • Detective Bill Brennan, played by Alan Hewitt, second and third seasons only
  • Police Chief, played by Roy Engel, third season only
  • Andromeda, played by Wayne Stam, third season, one show only

Production and distribution

The series was produced by Jack Chertok Television in association with CBS. The show was later syndicated by Telepictures, and later by successor-in-interest Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The Chertok Company continues to hold all copyrights for the show, Rhino Entertainment, held U.S. video rights until August 2008. In 2010, MPI Home Video assumed the rights to the series for home video, and re-releases of the show on DVD are now in the works. Australian and New Zealand video rights are held by Umbrella Entertainment. Currently, Warner Bros. holds domestic and international syndication rights for the series.

DVD releases

The first two seasons are available on DVD from Rhino Entertainment. The third season is currently available on DVD from Umbrella Entertainment of Australia, as Rhino was uninterested in proceeding with a third season release. MPI Home Video recently struck a deal with Chertok Television for a domestic Region 1 release of The Complete 3rd Season for "Late Summer 2010." [1] The Australian releases are Region Free.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 37 September 7, 2004 March 3, 2008
The Complete 2nd Season 38 May 10, 2005 September 2, 2008
The Complete 3rd Season 32 February 5, 2008 November 5, 2007

Spin-offs

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Animated series

My Favorite Martians
Genre Animation
Voices of Howard Morris
Jonathan Harris
Lane Scheimer
Jane Webb
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Norm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 8, 1973 – 1975
Chronology
Preceded by My Favorite Martian

An animated series, My Favorite Martians, was made by Filmation, and ran on CBS, from September 1973 to September 1975 on Saturday mornings. The series features Tim, Martin, Mrs. Brown and Detective Brennan (Brennan is considerably different). To appeal to a younger audience, Uncle Martin is joined by his Martian nephew named Andromeda, nicknamed "Andy", who only has one antenna and thus lesser powers than Uncle Martin. The pair also have a Martian pet named Okey, a sort of bouncing sheepdog with antennae. Tim also had a niece named Katy living with them. None of the characters were voiced by the original actors; Jonathan Harris voiced Martin.

Feature film

The series was also remade as a feature film in 1999 starring Christopher Lloyd as Martin and Jeff Daniels as Tim. This film was released and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Ray Walston was featured in the film (both Bill Bixby and Pamela Britton had since died) and played a Martian who had been trapped on Earth since the time of the first series and wore a similar space suit from the series. However, the premise was changed: Martians are four-armed, four-legged, three-eyed, creatures who use a "gumball" (which they call "nerplex") to assume human form. The "nerplex" comes in a selection that will turn the person ingesting it into assorted life forms, including Martian and one to "never use" (Venox 7).

In popular culture

  • Ray Walston appeared in a television commercial for AT&T in 2000. The conversation makes it evident to those who remember the TV series that he is playing the role of Uncle Martin, still on Earth. He asks if the rates AT&T offers also apply for phoning fellow Martians living in the United States.
  • In an episode of the TV series Picket Fences, Walston's character, Judge Henry Bone, attends a Halloween party wearing antennae like those he wore on Martian.
  • In the end title theme music for the film Spaced Invaders, a Halloween comedy involving incompetent invaders from Mars, one of the Martians hums the first bars of the theme from My Favorite Martian.
  • Gold Key Comics published a My Favorite Martian comic for nine issues, Oct 1963–July 1966.
  • Ray Walston and Bill Bixby were reunited in the TV series The Incredible Hulk (another series in which Bixby starred) in Season 3, Episode 5 entitled "My Favorite Magician", an obvious allusion to the series, as well as to The Magician, yet another Bixby series.

See also

References

External links


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