Friday, June 19, 2015

Classic TV: My Favorite Martian (1963)

Who says Martians hate us?

In 1963, CBS and producer Jack Chertok decided to prove that we could have good relations with Mars. My Favorite Martian told the story of a Martian anthropologist (Ray Walston) stranded on Earth when his ship crashes. Reporter Tim O'Hara (Bill Bixby) finds the Martian and brings him home, passing him off as his uncle Martin, keeping the Martian's true identity a secret.

The series lasted for three seasons, the last filmed in color at MGM. A 2nd Martian, Andromeda (Wayne Stam) appeared in just one episode, but was brought back when Filmation obtained a license to adapt the series into animated form, 10 years after the original show's debut. Unfortunately, My Favorite Martians lasted just 1 season, with Jonathan Harris (ex-Lost in Space) subbing for Walston as the Martian.

Walston wouldn't land another hit series for nearly 30 years before being cast as a judge on Picket Fences, also for CBS. Bixby, of course, moved on to The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Magician, and, finally, The Incredible Hulk, while also serving as a full-time panelist on Masquerade Party during its short-lived 70's revival.

Hulu provides an unaired pilot, which at first suggests the Martian as a college professor. Hmmmmm.

To think that this was the show that kickstarted the fantasy-com boom of the mid-60's.

Rating: B.

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