My Favorite Martian

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My Favorite Martian
My Favorite Martian title.jpg
B&W title screenshot
Genre Sitcom
Created by John L. Greene
Starring Ray Walston
Bill Bixby
Alan Hewitt
Pamela Britton
Theme music composer George Greeley
Composer(s) George Greeley
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 107
Production
Executive producer(s) Harry Poppe
Producer(s) Jack Chertok
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Jack Chertok Television Productions, in association with The CBS Television Network
Distributor Telepictures Distribution
Umbrella Entertainment
Warner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black-and-white (1963–1965)
Color
(1965–1966)
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 29, 1963 (1963-09-29) – May 1, 1966 (1966-05-01)
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 19631965, 32 color 19651966). The show starred Ray Walston as Uncle Martin (the Martian) and Bill Bixby as Tim O'Hara.

John L. Greene created the central characters and developed the core format of this series, which was produced by Jack Chertok.

Premise[edit]

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. The X-15 nearly hit the martian's spaceship and caused it to crash.

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 two retractable antennae from his head 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; freeze people or objects and he can also speed himself (and other people) up to do work.

Ostensibly an inventor by trade, Martin also builds several advanced devices, such as a time machine that transports 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" that 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. Other devices create temporary duplicates, or levitate Martin and others without the need of his finger.

Tim and Uncle Martin live in a garage apartment owned by a congenial but scatterbrained landlady, Mrs. Lorelei Brown, who often shows up when not wanted. She and Martin have an awkward romance from time to time but Martin never gets serious for fear of going home to Mars. 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 was 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 (a humorous throw-back to another popular television series at the time, Bewitched). Brennan's boss, the police chief, was involved in many episodes in the third season, generally as a device to humiliate the overzealous detective.

In its first season, My Favorite Martian did extremely well in the Nielsen ratings ranking at #10.[citation needed] However, by the end of the second season, the show had dipped to #24.[citation needed] Still, the series was doing well enough to be renewed for a third season.

"Martin O'Hara's" real name is Exigius 12½. Revealed in "We Love You, Mrs. Pringle," it 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 this single episode and was never referred to again. Andromeda was, however, a regular on the later animated series My Favorite Martians. Andromeda had a single antenna, which Martin explained was because his baby antennae had fallen out and only one adult antenna had come in so far.

My Favorite Martian was produced at the same time as other situation comedies that featured characters who could do extraordinary things, as a parody of the standard family situation comedy. The show was an example of science fiction comedy, differing from Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie in that the central character was a man, and in that he relied on science and advanced technology rather than magic.

"My Favorite Martian" was primarily sponsored by Kellogg's. The Toni Company also sponsored this series.

Characters[edit]

Uncle Martin
  • Uncle Martin O'Hara (the Martian), played by Ray Walston
  • Tim O'Hara, played by Bill Bixby
  • Mrs. Lorelei Brown, played by Pamela Britton
  • Mr. Burns, played by J. Pat O'Malley, first season only, as Tim's boss at the newspaper
  • Angela Brown, played by Ann Marshall, first season, Mrs. Brown's teen-aged daughter
  • 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

Theme music[edit]

The theme music for the series was composed by George Greeley and performed on an electro-theremin by Paul Tanner, a former member of Glenn Miller's band who invented the instrument. It was influential in Brian Wilson's engagement of Tanner in 1965 and 1966 to work with the Beach Boys on their landmark hit, "Good Vibrations."[2] Tanner died in early February of 2013.

Production and distribution[edit]

The series was produced by Jack Chertok Television in association with CBS. The show was originally syndicated by Wolper pictures thence it moved to Telepictures, and later by successor-in-interest Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The Chertok Company retained ownership of all copyrights for the show as of early July of 2013; Rhino Entertainment held U.S. video rights until August 2008. Australian Entertainment Company Umbrella Entertainment acquired rights for Australia and New Zealand and released Seasons 1, 2 and 3 (in full colour) in 2007 and 2008 on DVD suitable for all region codes.[3] In 2010, MPI Home Video acquired the rights to the series for home video. As of early July of 2013, Warner Bros. held domestic and international syndication rights for the series.

Episode List[edit]

Season One[edit]

Title Original
airdate
1 "My Favorite Martin" 1963.09.29
2 "The Matchmakers" 1963.10.06
3 "There Is No Cure For The Common Martian" 1963.10.13
4 "Russians 'R' In Season" 1963.10.20
5 "Man or Amoeba" 1963.10.27
6 "The Man on the Couch" 1963.11.03
7 "A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine, and Peaches" 1963.11.10
8 "The Awful Truth" 1963.11.17
9 "Rocket To Mars" 1963.12.01
10 "Raffles No.2" 1963.12.08
11 "The Atom Misers" 1963.12.15
12 "That Little Old Matchmaker, Martin" 1963.12.22
13 "How To Be A Hero Without Really Trying" 1963.12.29
14 "Blood is Thicker Than the Martian" 1964.01.05
15 "Poor Little Rich Cat" 1964.01.12
16 "Rx for Martin" 1964.01.19
17 "Going, Going, Gone" 1964.02.04
18 "Who Am I?" 1964.02.09
19 "Now You See It, Now You Don't" 1964.02.16
20 "My Nephew The Artist" 1964.02.23
21 "Hitchhike to Mars" 1964.03.01
22 "Uncle Martin's Broadcast" 1964.03.08
23 "An Old, Old Friend of the Family" 1964.03.15
24 "Super-Duper Snooper" 1964.03.22
25 "The Sinkable Mrs. Brown" 1964.04.05
26 "Martin and the Eternal Triangle" 1964.04.12
27 "Danger! High Voltage!" 1964.04.19
28 "If You Can't Lick Them" 1964.04.26
29 "Unidentified Flying Uncle Martin" 1964.05.03
30 "How Are You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Pharmacy?" 1964.05.10
31 "Miss Jekyll and Hyde" 1964.05.17
32 "Who's Got The Power?" 1964.05.24
33 "Oh, My Aching Antenna" 1964.05.31
34 "The Disastro-nauts" 1964.06.07
35 "Shake Well and Don't Use" 1964.06.14
36 "A Nose for News" 1964.06.21
37 "Uncle Martin's Wisdom Tooth" 1964.06.28

Season Two[edit]

Title Original
airdate
38 "Dreaming Can Make It So" 1964.09.27
39 "The Memory Pill" 1964.10.04
40 "Three To Make Ready" 1964.10.11
41 "Nothing But The Truth" 1964.10.18
42 "Dial M for Martin" 1964.10.25
43 "Extra! Extra! Sensory Perception!" 1964.11.01
44 "My Uncle the Folk Singer" 1964.11.08
45 "The Great Brain Robbery" 1964.11.15
46 "Double Trouble" 1964.11.22
47 "Has Anybody Seen My Electro-Magnetic Neutron Converting Gravitator?" 1964.11.29
48 "Don't Rain on my Parade" 1964.12.06
49 "Night Life of Uncle Martin" 1964.12.13
50 "To Make a Rabbit Stew, First Catch a Martian" 1964.12.20
51 "Won't You Come Home, Uncle Martin, Won't You Come Home?" 1964.12.27
52 "The Case of the Missing Sleuth" 1965.01.03
53 "How're Things in Glocca Martin?" 1965.01.10
54 "Geshundheit, Uncle Martin" 1965.01.24
55 "Martin Report #1" 1965.01.31
56 "Uncle Martin and the Identified Flying Object" 1965.02.07
57 "A Martian Fiddles Around" 1965.02.14
58 "Humbug, Mrs. Brown" 1965.02.21
59 "Crash Diet" 1965.02.28
60 "Gone But Not Forgotten" 1965.03.07
61 "Stop or I'll Steam" 1965.03.14
62 "The Magnetic Personality and Who Needs It" 1965.03.21
63 "We Love You, Miss Pringle" 1965.03.28
64 "Uncle Baby" 1965.04.04
65 "Once Upon a Martian Mother's Day" 1965.04.11
66 "Uncle Martin's Bedtime Story" 1965.04.25
67 "006 3/4" 1965.05.02
68 "Never Trust a Naked Martian" 1965.05.09
69 "Martin's Favorite Martian" 1965.05.16
70 "The Martian's Fair Hobo" 1965.05.23
71 "A Martian's Sonata in Mrs. B's Flat" 1965.05.30
72 "The Green Eyed Martian" 1965.06.06
73 "El Señor from Mars" 1965.06.21
74 "Time Out for Martin" 1965.06.20
75 "Portrait in Brown" 1965.06.27

Season Three[edit]

Title Original
airdate
76 "Go West, Young Martian (1)" 1965.09.12
77 "Go West, Young Martian (2)" 1965.09.19
78 "Martin of the Movies" 1965.09.26
79 "Keep Me From The Church on Time" 1965.10.03
80 "I'd Rather Fight Than Switch" 1965.10.10
81 "Tim, The Mastermind" 1965.10.17
82 "Martin Goldfinger" 1965.10.24
83 "Bottled Martin" 1965.10.31
84 "Hate Me a Little" 1965.11.07
85 "Girl in the Flying Machine" 1965.11.14
86 "The Time Machine is Waking Up That Old Gang of Mine" 1965.11.21
87 "Avenue "C" Mob" 1965.11.28
88 "Tim and Tim Again" 1965.12.05
89 "Lorelei Brown vs. Everybody" 1965.12.12
90 "The O'Hare Caper" 1965.12.19
91 "Who's Got A Secret?" 1965.12.26
92 "Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow" 1966.01.02
93 "Martin's Revoltin' Development" 1966.01.16
94 "TV or Not TV" 1966.01.23
95 "Man from Uncle Martin" 1966.01.30
96 "Martin the Mannequin" 1966.02.06
97 "Butterball" 1966.02.13
98 "When a Martian Makes his Violin Cry" 1966.02.20
99 "When You Get Back Home to Mars, Are You Going to Get It" 1966.02.27
100 "Doggone Martin" 1966.03.06
101 "Virus M for Martin" 1966.03.13
102 "Our Notorious Landlady" 1966.03.20
103 "Martin Meets his Match" 1966.03.27
104 "Horse and Buggy Martin" 1966.04.03
105 "Stop The Presses, I Want to Get Off" 1966.04.17
106 "My Nut Cup Runneth Over" 1966.04.24
107 "Pay The Man The $24" 1966.05.01

DVD releases[edit]

Rhino Entertainment released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1 in 2004–2005. The third season was never released, however the season 3 release from Umbrella Entertainment of Australia was released in North America on February 5, 2008, as an import. This release is classified as 'Region 0', thus making it viewable around the world to anyone with a region-free DVD player. Rhino also released a 3-DVD box of "The Best of My Favorite Martian" in 2007 comprising episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 29, 31, 34 and 37.

In January 2010, it was announced that MPI Home Video had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1 (under license from Jack Chertok Productions).[4] It was announced at the time that they planned on releasing season 3 on DVD in the summer of 2010. However, this release never materialized and was postponed indefinitely.

On August 13, 2012, it was announced that season 3 will be released in Region 1 for the very first time on October 30, 2012.[5]

On April 4, 2014, it was announced that MPI Home Video will re-release season 1 on DVD in Region 1 on June 24, 2014.[6]

In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released all 3 seasons on DVD in Australia. These releases are all Region Free. The season 1 release includes special features such as audio commentary with Ann Marshall, a stills gallery, script, and interview with Ann Marshall. The season 3 release includes special features such as an unaired version of the pilot, behind the scenes home movies, interviews with Stan Frazen, Ted Rich, James Hulsey and Wayne Stam, audio commentary, scans of the original comic series, scripts and the shooting schedule.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 37 September 7, 2004 March 1, 2008
The Complete 2nd Season 38 May 10, 2005 September 1, 2008
The Complete 3rd Season 32 October 30, 2012 November 3, 2007

Spin-offs[edit]

Animated series[edit]

My Favorite Martians
Genre Animation
Voices of Howard Morris
Jonathan Harris
Lane Scheimer
Jane Webb
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 16
Production
Producer(s) Norm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Running time 22–24 minutes
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 8, 1973 (1973-09-08) – December 22, 1973 (1973-12-22)
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 and did appear in one episode of the television series. The pair also have a Martian pet named Okey, a sort of bouncing sheepdog with antennae. Tim also had a niece of his own, named Katy, living with them. None of the characters were voiced by the original actors; Jonathan Harris voiced Martin.
The cartoon utilized a number of scripts from what would have been season four of the live action show; as of early July of 2013, Jack Chertok Television co-owned it, with the Chertok company retaining all merchandising rights to the show. Distribution rights were held, as of April of 2013, by Classic Media as part of their Filmation holdings.[citation needed]

Episode list[edit]

Title Original
airdate
1 "Check-Up" 1973.09.08
2 "Life Style" 1973.09.15
3 "Home Schtick" 1973.09.22
4 "Wall to Wall Flower" 1973.09.29
5 "The Cleo Caper" 1973.10.06
6 "Robot Tailor" 1973.10.13
7 "Lonely Okie?" 1973.10.20
8 "Triple Trouble" 1973.10.27
9 "The Incredible Shrinking Ship" 1973.11.03
10 "My Favorite Neighbor" 1973.11.10
11 "Allergy" 1973.11.17
12 "Truant Teacher" 1973.11.24
13 "Love: Martian Style" 1973.12.01
14 "The Chump Who Cried Chimp" 1973.12.08
15 "Credibility Gap" 1973.12.15
16 "Garage Sale" 1973.12.22

Feature film[edit]

The series was also remade as a feature film in 1999 starring Christopher Lloyd as the Martian 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; the former in 1993 and the latter in 1974) and played another Martian who had been trapped on Earth since the time of the first series and wore a similar space suit from the series; his cover was now that of a Government investigator of unidentified flying objects. However, the premise was changed: Martians such as Lloyd's "Uncle Martin" are now non-humanoids with four arms, four legs, and three eyes 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, Venusian and one to "never use" (Venox 7).

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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 a set of antennae like those he wore on Martian. (Walston had saved the originals from the show.)
  • 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. Hermes Press will be issuing a 2 volume archive series of the comic in late 2011.
  • 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 titled "My Favorite Magician", an obvious allusion to both the series and The Magician, yet another Bixby series.
  • Pegasus Hobbies released a plastic model kit of Uncle Martin's space ship, along with a figure of Ray Walston as Uncle Martin, in 2011, under Chertok Television's World wide Licensing manager Peter Greenwood.
  • A special edition reprint of a classic Gold Key book was included in the 2012 Free Comic Book day event, marking the first sixties television show featured as a title.
  • Factory Entertainment is producing a bobble head Uncle Martin statue and space ship for release in 2012.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Original series:

Cartoon series: