"My Favorite Martian": The 1960s Sci-Fi Sitcom and Its Connection to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys and More

Herbie J Pilato

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The sci-fi TV sitcom My Favorite Martian originally aired on CBS from September 29, 1963, to May 1, 1966. The features Ray Walston as "Uncle Martin" (the alien) and Bill Bixby as Tim O'Hara, who posed as his nephew.

Both Bixby and Walston have since passed away, but not before going on to other success in the entertainment industry. Walston, who died in 2001 from Lupas, went on to make appearances on other TV shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, and on the big screen with iconic hits such as Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982). Bixby, who died in 1993 from prostate cancer, would find TV series success again with The Courtship of Eddie's Father (ABC, 1969-1971), The Magician (NBC, 1973-1974), and The Incredible Hulk (CBS, 1977-1982).

Post-Martian Perceptions

After My Favorite Martian was canceled, Ray Walston acknowledged some regret in accepting the role of Uncle Martin. He took the part because it paid well, and believed it stereotyped him as an actor. But Walston enjoyed working with Bill Bixby, and they became dear friends until their passing.

A Few Combined Bits of TV, Music, and Magic Trivia

Uncle Martin's Martian on My Favorite Martian was Exigius 12½, while the spacecraft prop utilized in the show was later purchased at auction by magician David Copperfield for $100,000 (in December of 2018.

Meanwhile, the show's theme music was performed on an Electro-Theremin by Paul Tanner, a former member of Glenn Miller's famed historic band.

As it turned out, the My Favorite Martian theme proved to be inspirational for one of rock music's most heralded geniuses: the legendary Brian Wilson. In 1965 and 1966, Wilson hired Tanner to work with The Beach Boys, the group Wilson founded with his brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, and cousins Mike Love and Al Jardine, on their benchmark hit son, "Good Vibrations."

In the End My Favorite Martin Was First

In many ways, My Favorite Martin made an indelible mark on popular culture. Besides its connection to mainstream music, the show later inspired a 1999 feature film starring Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Martin, and Jeff Daniels as Tim.

But decades before that transpired, the original TV series was one of the first science-fiction/fantasy situation comedies, airing before Bewitched (ABC, 1964-1972) and I Dream of Jeannie (NBC, 1965-1970).

However, the core difference between Martin and those shows, was that the main character of Uncle Martin was male (as opposed to Elizabeth Montgomery's witch Samantha on Bewitched, and Barbara Eden's genie Jeannie on Dream), and he worked his "magic" based on science and advanced technology.

[Note: Certain facts and information in this article were resourced from various entertainment news and media outlets including Britannica.com, History.com, HollywoodReporter.com, IMDb.com, Variety.com, and Wikipedia.org.]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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