My Favourite Martian

1963 | United States

En route to his office, LA journalist Tim O'Hara witnesses the crash landing of a space ship. On further investigation he discovers that the UFO's pilot has survived the crash and is in fact an anthropologist from the planet Mars. O'Hara takes the stranded Martian home in order that he may carry out repairs to his spaceship, and this gives rise to a number of comic situations as the journalist tries to hide the truth from friends and nosy neighbours, during the alien's elongated stay. 

O'Hara was played by Bill Bixby who would go on to star in a number of TV roles, most notably The Magician and David Banner, the mild mannered but troubled alter-ego of The Incredible Hulk. Ray Walston, a star of the movie South Pacific played the Martian (referred to as O'Hara's Uncle Martin), the human looking alien with the ability of levitating objects, turning invisible and reading minds. At the time the series began there was much enthusiasm and interest in America's Apollo space programme that would eventually put man on the moon, and this probably contributed to the shows success as it shot to the top ten of the Nielsens ratings. 

A spin-off animated series of 16 episodes was made between 1973-5 and in 1999 a movie version starred Christopher Lloyd was released to lukewarm reception (and that was being generous). Walston made a cameo appearance in the movie.

Published on January 9th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.