The “ALF” HouseSep 10th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
One location that I have been asked about repeatedly over the years is the Tudor-style home where the Tanner family – Willie (Max Wright), Kate (Anne Schedeen), Lynn (Andrea Elson), Brian (Benji Gregory), and their Melmacian house guest, ALF (who was voiced by series creator Paul Fusco) – lived in the 1986 television series ALF. And while I had never watched the show growing up, I became quite intrigued by the house and the fact that, in the 27 years since the comedy originally aired, it had never been found. I would sporadically look for the locale whenever I had a free moment, yet it remained a mystery – until last month, that is, when a dogged fellow stalker named Rafal managed to track the place down. In a heartbreaking twist, Rafal also discovered that the property had been demolished sometime in 2012 and a large Mediterranean-style dwelling built in its place. As sad as I was to learn that the residence was no longer, I was also glad that its former location had, at least, been found and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk it this past weekend while the two of us were in L.A.
On ALF, the Tanner family lived in an absolutely adorable cottage said to be at 167 Hemdale Street in Los Angeles. When I first saw images of the residence years ago, I was convinced that it was located somewhere in Pasadena. I was so sure, in fact, that I would have bet money on it. Then, in July, a fellow stalker named Mick led me to an ALF TV Fan Forum message board on which ALF-aficionados were discussing the property. One poster named Tedm mentioned that Paul Fusco had stated in an interview that the Tanner house was located in the Pacific Palisades area. So I did a bit of searching there, but came up empty-handed. Then, on August 12th, Rafal visited the site and announced to all that after a grueling ten-hour search, he had found the residence. Apparently, while watching an ALF episode the previous day, he started to wonder about the home’s location. A Google search led him to the ALF TV Fan Forum where he came across Tedm’s comment about Pacific Palisades. He spent the next ten hours searching the Palisades and its environs for an L-shaped property with a steep slanted roof, and finally found the right spot – at 708 Moreno Avenue in Brentwood.
While looking at the site on Google Earth, though, Rafal noticed that some sort of construction seemed to be taking place and surmised that the residence had been completely leveled at some point in 2012 and a new, much larger home built in its place.
He was right. As you can see below, aside from the tall hedge running along the western side of the property, not one shred of the ALF home remains. What is most heartbreaking about this whole thing, to me at least, is that if the residence had been found just one year sooner, I would have been able to stalk it.
I did manage to dig up some photographs of the former residence on fave website Zillow. As you can see, prior to its 2012 tear down, the Tanner house looked exactly the same as it did in 1986 when ALF was filmed!
The charming two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,474-square-foot abode, which was originally built in 1926, was sold in February 2012 for $2.05 million. I guess it should not come as a surprise that the place was torn down being that, according to Zillow, it was marketed as a “fixer” whose sole value was its location and 9,000-square-foot lot.
The Tanner residence is currently still visible via Google Street View and Bing maps. While stalking the place, I asked the GC (who was flabbergasted that I would stalk a property no longer in existence) where I should stand for the first photograph that appears in this post. His response, “How about at home in front of your computer screen with a Google Street View image of the house pulled up!” LOL
The interior of the Tanner house was, of course, just a set built at the studio where ALF was lensed. According to Wikipedia, the set was an intricate one constructed on a platform raised four feet off the ground which enabled Paul Fusco and second puppeteer Lisa Buckley to operate the ALF puppet from underneath the stage. Numerous trap doors were installed in the flooring that allowed for ALF to pop up unexpectedly in various places. Manning the puppet was such a grueling task that it often took 25 hours to film a 22-minute episode! Of the process, Anne Schedeen said in the June 19th, 2000 issue of People magazine, “There was no joy on the set. It was a technical nightmare – extremely slow, hot and tedious. If you had a scene with ALF, it took centuries to shoot.” Tensions ran so high, apparently, that on the night that the series finale was filmed in 1990, Max Wright walked off the set immediately after shooting wrapped without so much as a goodbye to any of his fellow cast members. Yowza! Today, Wright looks back fondly on the show and says, “It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like. ALF brought people a lot of joy. They adored it.” The countless fellow stalkers who have emailed me over the years inquiring about the Tanner house are a testament to that fact. I am sorry that I did not have better news to share about its current state.
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Big THANK YOU to Rafal, from the ALF TV Fan Forum, for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Tanner house from ALF was formerly located at 708 Moreno Avenue in Brentwood. It was bulldozed in 2012 and a much larger home now stands in its place.