My Favorite Martian
A human-looking extraterrestrial in a one-man ship crash-lands near Los Angeles. The ship's pilot is, in fact, from Mars and is now stranded on Earth. A young newspaper reporter, Tim O'Hara with the Los Angeles Sun, was on his way from Edwards Air Force Base (where he had gone to report on the flight of the X-15) back to Los Angeles when he spotted Martin's ship coming down.
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 and become invisible; he is telepathic and can read minds; he can levitate objects with the motion of his finger; and he can communicate with animals.
Martin also builds several advanced devices, such as a time machine which transports Tim and the Martian back to Medieval England and other times and places, such as St. Louis in 1849, the early days of Hollywood, or bring Leonardo da Vinci and Jesse James into the present. Another device he builds is a "molecular separator" which can take apart the molecules in a physical object, or rearrange them (a squirrel was made into a human). Another device can take memories and store them in pill form to "relearn" them later. Another device can create temporary duplicates.
Tim and Uncle Martin live in an apartment house run by a congenial but scatterbrained landlady, Mrs. Brown, who often shows up when not wanted. She later dates a plain-clothes police officer, Detective Brennan, who dislikes Uncle Martin and is highly suspicious of him.
- Uncle Martin (the Martian), played by Ray Walston
- Tim O'Hara, played by Bill Bixby
- Mrs. Brown, played by Pamela Britton
- Mr. Burns, played by J. Pat O'Malley, first season only, as Tim's boss at the newspaper
- Detective Bill Brennan, played by Alan Hewitt, second and third seasons only
An animated series, My Favorite Martians, was made by Filmation in 1973, starring Tim, Martin, Mrs. Brown and Detective Brennan (Brennan was considerably different). To appeal to a younger audience, Uncle Martin was joined by a Martian boy named Andromeda (nicknamed "Andy") (the character appeared once in the TV series), who only had one antenna and thus lesser powers than Uncle Martin. The pair also had a Martian pet named Okey, a sort of bouncing sheepdog with antennae. None of the characters were voiced by the original actors, and Jonathan Harris voiced Martin.
The series was also remade as a film in 1999 starring Christopher Lloyd as Martin and Jeff Daniels as Tim. Ray Walston also featured in the film. However, the premise was changed: Martians are three-armed, three-legged, three-eyed, and use a "gumball", which will also work on humans, to assume human form.
Ray Walston did a commercial, a long distance service promotion for AT&T, around the year 2000. The conversation makes it evident to those who remember the TV series that he is playing the role of Uncle Martin, still on Earth. He's asking if the rates AT&T offers also apply for phoning fellow Martians living in the United States.