Puneet Varma (Editor)

My Favorite Martian

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Theme music composer
Country of origin
United States

Created by
John L. Greene

My Favorite Martian

Ray WalstonBill BixbyAlan HewittPamela Britton

My Favorite Martian is an American television sitcom that aired on CBS from September 29, 1963, to May 1, 1966, for 107 episodes (75 in black and white: 1963–65, 32 color: 1965–66). The show starred Ray Walston as Uncle Martin (the Martian) and Bill Bixby as Tim O'Hara.


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


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 rocket-powered aircraft had nearly hit the 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; he can freeze people or objects; and he can 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 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 (a squirrel is 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 (and former WAVE as revealed in season 1 episode 1) 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. 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. However, by the end of the second season the show had dipped to #24. Still, the series was doing well enough to be renewed for a third season. Ratings dipped even further in the third season due to redundant stories, usually involving Martin's time machine, and the series was canceled.

"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.


  • Ray Walston as Uncle Martin O'Hara (the Martian)
  • Bill Bixby as Tim O'Hara
  • Pamela Britton as Mrs. Lorelei Brown
  • J. Pat O'Malley as Mr. Burns, Tim's boss (first season)
  • Ann Marshall as Angela Brown, Mrs. Brown's teen-aged daughter (episodes 1, 2, and 5 of the first season)
  • Alan Hewitt as Detective Bill Brennan (second and third seasons)
  • Roy Engel as Police Chief (third season)
  • Music

    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. 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." Greeley also scored the series; an album of his music from the first two seasons was released by La-La Land Records in 2007 (dedicated to the composer, who died while the album was being prepared).

    Production and distribution

    The series was produced by Jack Chertok Television in association with CBS. The show was originally syndicated by Wolper Pictures, then 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 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 color) in 2007 and 2008 on DVD suitable for all region codes. In 2010 MPI Home Video acquired the rights to the series for home video. As of early July 2013, Warner Bros. held domestic and international syndication rights for the series.

    DVD releases

    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). 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. It was subsequently released on October 30, 2012.

    MPI subsequently re-released season 1 on June 24, 2014. and season 2 on December 23, 2014.

    On October 20, 2015, MPI Home Video will release My Favorite Martian- The Complete Series' on DVD in Region 1.

    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.

    Animated series

    An animated series, My Favorite Martians, was made by Filmation and was broadcast as part of the Saturday morning programming on CBS from September 8, 1973 to December 22, 1973 for a total of sixteen episodes. 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 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 2013, by Classic Media as part of their Filmation holdings.

    Feature film

    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).


    The TV series was adapted into a comic strip by Dan Spiegle, distributed by Gold Key Comics. It ran between 1963 and 1966 for nine issues.

    The first seven episodes of season one had an error in the copyright date. This appeared in the final few seconds of these episodes and was shown as MCMXLIII (1943) instead of MCMLXIII (1963). This was corrected in episode eight.

  • Ray Walston and Bill Bixby were reunited in the series The Incredible Hulk (another series in which Bixby starred) in the season three episode "My Favorite Magician", in which Walston plays an aging magician.
  • In the end title theme music for the film Spaced Invaders (1990), a Halloween comedy involving incompetent invaders from Mars, one of the Martians hums the first bars of the theme from My Favorite Martian.
  • Ray Walston appeared in a television commercial for AT&T in 2000. The conversation makes it evident to those who remember the 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.
  • 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 Worldwide 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 1960s TV show featured as a title.
  • References

    My Favorite Martian Wikipedia

    Similar Topics