The Unfilmed Scripts of My Favorite Martian


The pilot script for My Favorite Martian was dated Oct 1,1962, and filming took place in December of that year. CBS-TV bought the pilot in January 1963 and producer Jack Chertok assembled a team of writers to work on the first 13 episodes.

As with any new television series, decisions would have to be made about character development and the directions that the stories would take. In the case of "Martian", getting through such uncharted territories often resulted in making numerous revisions as the TV series evolved and that would create some inconsistencies in later plots.  

One of the earliest scripts, "How to Be A Hero," by Ed James and Seaman Jacobs, dated April 19, 1963, introduced the character of Jennifer, slated to be Tim’s girl friend. The role was played by actress Kathy Kersh and in a network press release dated Aug. 20, 1963, it claimed that her character would be a regular part of the show, but that was not to be the case. "How to be a Hero" aired Dec.29, 1963, and was the only appearance of the character of Jennifer.  

According to writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz, CBS had looked at a number of early scripts for "Martian" and asked him for his opinion. Mr. Schwartz felt that the scripts he had read dealt only with Uncle Martin helping Tim with the reporter’s everyday problems, rather than focusing on the Martian’s attempts to repair his ship while he observed life on Earth. Mr. Schwartz’s view prevailed, resulting in the revision of a number of early scripts.

In a September 22, 1963 interview in The Toledo Blade, an Ohio newspaper, Ray Walston said, "…we threw away about 10 scripts …because they bordered on the stock situation comedy." And in a December 1, 1963 interview in the Hartford, Conn. Courier, Bill Bixby said, "…We’re really just starting to get into the best scripts because it’s taken this long for the writers to start writing for our particular set of actors…."

Here are summaries of two early unused scripts from this pre-production period which may serve as examples for stories that did not make it to film:

"Do Me A Favor—Don’t Do Me Any Favors" (May 9, 1963)

"The Unsuitable Suitor" (June 13, 1963)

Here are additional summaries of unused scripts which were written while the show was already on the air:

"Two to Get Ready" (Jan 7, 1964)

"Be Prepared" (Aug. 10, 1965)

In another point of information, the CBS network wanted to change the opening credits of the show to feature footage from the pilot during which the Martian’s ship crosses the sky and lands. Then it would cut to Uncle Martin outside the ship who would point at the camera and Ray Walston’s name would appear. Next we’d see Tim rushing to the ship and then a close-up shot of him and Bill Bixby’s credit would appear. But the network was overruled and the original animated credits were used for each season, with the only change being to add color to the animation for season 3.*

*(very special thanks to Peter Greenwood for this information.)

TEXT ©2007-2011 JH Harison

Photos © Jack Chertok Productions, Inc.


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