Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: My Favorite Martian

The sixties was full of cult tv shows but none were quite like My Favorite Martian. Whilst it had the same formula as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie it managed to provide the audience with something different over three seasons (107 episodes) between 1963-1966.

The set up to the show reads like the Green Lantern with Exigius 12½ (Ray Walston), an anthropologist from Mars, crashlanding on Earth with no way to get back. Exigius 12½’s crash was caused by a near mid-air collision the X-15 rocket powered aircraft. As it turns out The Los Angeles Sun’s reporter Tim O’Hara (Bill Bixby) witnesses the spacecraft going down and decides to investigate.

Tim rescues Exigius 12½ and takes him to live with him and tells everyone he is his Uncle Martin. This leads to a serious off odd-couple like gags with Uncle Martin refusing to reveal any of his Martian traits to people other than Tim in order to avoid being discovered and Tim agrees to keep Martin’s identity a secret while the Martian attempts to repair his ship.

Tim and Uncle Martin live in a garage apartment owned by their crazy 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.

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; he can freeze people or objects; and he can speed himself (and other people) up to do work.

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 and the early days of Hollywood, and brings 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 – this was used to make a squirrel 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.

 

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