Cheryl is a proud babyboomer who enjoys writing about classic television shows and films.
Uncle Martian (Martin)
MY FAVORITE MARTIAN aired on CBS from September 1963 until May 1966. In those 3 years, there were 107 episodes with Ray Walston as the visitor from Mars come to earth. Bill Bixby portrayed Tim O’Hara the young man who befriended the alien. For many years I thought Tim was calling the alien uncle Martian but later learned he was actually saying, uncle Martin. As a young elementary schools age girl, I assumed that the antenna's on uncle Martin’s head proved he was really from Mars and I did not initially understand that Ray Walston was only an actor playing a role. The 75 episodes of the first two seasons, were in black and white, and the 32 episodes of the final season of the science fiction sitcom were in color.
Uncle Martin is a 450-year-old anthropologist from Mars whose spaceship is spotted by Tim O' Hara when it crash lands on earth. O'Hara, is a young newspaper reporter for The Los Angeles Sun, who is on his way home from Edward's Airforce Base where he had just reported seeing a UFO. and now he has watched that same aircraft crash. Tim takes the extraterrestrial home and tells everyone that he is his Uncle Martin.
The Martian has special powers that he reveals to no one except Tim. because e wants to avoid the media frenzy that would take place if he is discovered to be from Mars. Tim decides to try to repair the alien's spaceship and agrees to keep the secret while doing so, Uncle Martin can raise and retract the two retractable antennae that are in the back of his head and he also could become invisible. I was absolutely fascinated with these two abilities and he had quite a few more. He could speed up the actions of himself and others, was telepathic and could communicate with animals, and read minds. Uncle Martin could influence people's actions, freeze objects and humans, and also levitate objects by using his index finger.
An inventive Martian and appreciative Walston
Uncle Martin was an inventor, who made a time machine that transports both himself and Tim to many past places including England in the Middle Ages. One time when they returned to the present they brought back Jesse James and Leonardo da Vinci. Uncle Martin also made a device that turned a squirrel into a human by rearranging the animal's physical molecules. The Martian also created a device that caused levitation without his using his index finger. Early on Ray Walston seemed to appreciate the opportunity to portray Uncle Matin as he said the following in a 1963, interview with The Troy Record: “Some of my friends thought I was getting into a rut when I accepted the Martian, but I didn’t believe that. Although it means playing the same role week in and out, the potential for a variety of situations is so great, that it offers not only an interesting challenge but an opportunity to try new techniques, new tricks and maybe learn ”
A change of opinion
In 1986during a conversation with the News-Pilot of San Pedro, California Walston decades later Walston ad a different view about MY FAVORITE MARTIAN. “I wish I’d never heard of Martians and spaceships. I hate that show; it nearly finished my career. If I’d known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been involved with that show for anything in the world. I would have said, ‘Absolutely not!’” Ray Walston was introduced to younger generations when he appeared as a teacher Mr. hand in the movie as well as the television series both named FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. The actor also was in the TV series PICKET FENCES. In spite of how Walston seemed to turn on his beloved character it is is role as Uncle Martian (Martin) that most of his fans remember fondly. Rau Walston passed away at age 86 of natural causes in his home on January 1, 2001.
High production costs were the reason MY FAVORITE MARTIAN only last for 3 seasons. Not long ago the sci-fi series was in syndication on the COZI network but now is not listed so check your local listings. Bill Bixby went on to star in TE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE's FATHER and later TE INCREDIBLE HULK., he was also in a number of movies including DOCTOR YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING, CLAMBAKE, RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE, and Speedway. On November 1, 1993, Wilfred Bailey Everett "Bill" Bixby III collapsed on the set of BLOSSOM and later died from complications of prostate cancer at age 59. There is no record of the actor speaking publicly regarding how he felt about MY FAVORITE MARTIAN.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 13, 2021:
This was one of my favourite TV shows as a child, Cheryl, and I even watched reruns of most episodes again earlier this year. It was a feel good show and a lot of fun. Thank you for sharing.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on August 13, 2021:
Yes it was pretty cute.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 13, 2021:
I remember hearing about that show but never watched any of the episodes. I guess I was busy doing other things in those years. It sounds like it would have been cute to watch.