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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 7:47am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

What faceless characters are there on TV? Can we come up with a list?

You can have heard their voice, but what characters' faces have we not seen? 

I can think of three:

Robin Masters from MAGNUM, P.I.
Charlie from CHARLIE'S ANGELS
Dr. Claw from INSPECTOR GADGET
Nanny from MUPPET BABIES

First one is tough. We heard Masters' voice, but we never saw his face. Or did we? It was strongly implied John Hillerman's Higgins was Robin Masters. If that is true, and we'll never know, then I guess we saw his face.

Charlie's face was never shown, right?

Dr. Claw's face was never show in INSPECTOR GADGET, but they produced an action figure - and so were forced to create a look. A cash-in action figure isn't canon, though, right?

I don't believe the face of Nanny in MUPPET BABIES was ever shown.

Over to you all.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Vera, Norm’s wife on CHEERS. Her legs appeared in one episode and I don’t think we EVER heard her voice. 

Howard’s mom on BIG BANG THEORY. 
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The teacher in all those CHARLIE BROWN specials. 
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 8:22am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Charlie and Robin Masters are definitely at the top.

How about Wilson from HOME IMPROVEMENT. Never showed his full face, I'll leave it up to the panel if he qualifies.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 8:25am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

oh, just remembered Carlton the doorman from RHODA.
Did he ever show his face?
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John Byrne

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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Mary Tyler Moore on David Jansen's old RICHARD DIAMOND series. She played his secretary ("Sam" as I recall) but only her legs were ever seen.
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John Byrne

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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 9:09am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

How about Wilson from HOME IMPROVEMENT. Never showed his full face, I'll leave it up to the panel if he qualifies.

••

Those who are curious can see his face as "Mr. Brown" in the original version of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 9:23am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Was Niles' wife ever shown on FRAISER?
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Thad Studebaker
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

How about Wilson from HOME IMPROVEMENT. Never showed his full face, I'll leave it up to the panel if he qualifies.

••

This who are curious can see his face as "Mr. Brown" in the original version of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3.

***

He is also in the movie SILVERADO, playing the part of the manager of the land office. The villain and his henchmen attack the office, giving us a “Hey! That’s Wilson!” Moment. 

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Only appeared on-screen in two episodes, but the oft-referenced Ugly Naked Guy from FRIENDS
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 11:45am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

"Vera, Norm’s wife on CHEERS. Her legs appeared in one episode and I don’t think we EVER heard her voice."

---

I could swear that her voice is heard at the end of a Thanksgiving episode when it cuts to the ending credits.

(update: just looked it up and I was right (she was heard a few times, in fact) - but now I've learned that Vera's voice is played by George Wendt's real life wife!)

Fun thread - I'm actually surprised that this topic never came up in all this time.
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John Byrne

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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 12:01pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

We could run a parallel thread about "faceless" characters who were "fixed" in other media. INSPECTOR GADGET's Claw in the movie. THE SPIRIT's Octopus in the film abomination. Stretching a point, Judge Dredd in Stallone's impersonation. And maybe every movie superhero who sheds his mask at every opportunity.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Yes, I'd like a thread such as that. 

I had a lot of fun years ago imagining - and even drawing - the faces of faceless characters. 

I had a debate about Dredd when I was a teenager. Someone had asked me what colour hair I thought Dredd had. I went one further and said, "Maybe he doesn't have any hair!" It's fun to think about these things.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 2:30pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Niles' wife, Maris, was never seen (or heard) on FRASIER.

I seem to recall seeing a photo of George Wendt with Bernadette Birkett(probably 'TV Guide'), and she looked about as 'un-Vera-ish' as possible!

'Carlton the doorman' on RHODA(voiced by Lorenzo Music, later known for voicing Garfield) was such a popular character, CBS later aired an animated pilot about him.

Charlie on CHARLIE'S ANGELS was never shown from the front, but at times, a heavyset guy with curly hair was filmed from behind, sitting in an office chair, as Charlie called in to the Angels(accompanied by John Forsythe's voice; when I was a kid, there were a few in school who still watched reruns of 'Angels',  who didn't get that it was Forsythe, even though it was his voice...and even though some of them watched DYNASTY! The 'face' didn't match, so it just couldn't have been him, 'they just sound a lot alike'. The 'stand in' looked to me like the back of Avery Schrieber!




Edited by Brian O'Neill on 03 December 2017 at 2:31pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Oh, Columbo's wife.

Yes, I know there was the spin-off (KATE LOVES A MYSTERY) where Columbo's wife was played by Kate Mulgrew, but there have been many magazine articles over time which have stated that aspects of that series clearly contradict the anecdotes Columbo told about his wife in his own series.

To use comic terms, KATE LOVES A MYSTERY is surely an "Earth-Two" tale to Columbo's "Earth-One" adventures. Well, that's my theory.

As far as I can recall, and I'm happy to be corrected if wrong, Columbo's wife was unseen in his series.

There's also a show (British) called MINDER. George Cole played importer-exporter/businessman/car salesman Arthur Daley. He often referred to "her indoors" about his wife, but I am not certain his wife was ever shown.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 03 December 2017 at 5:56pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 6:20pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

You're right, Columbo's 'missus' was never seen in the original series. I think she was the murder victim in one of the later episodes in the '90s.

Nobody cared about 'Mrs. Columbo', (the original titleof the 1979 show), so eventually(before giving up completely), the writers changed her last name to 'Callhan', and just pretended no one had ever thought of the 'Columbo' tie-in. That's where the 'Kate Loves A Mystery' title came from.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 8:20pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

There were some Peanuts specials in which adults were shown and/or heard, but I think the teacher on Peanuts was most kids introduction to  the concept of an unseen characters.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 8:22pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The Imperious  Leader from Battlestar Galactica was only shown from behind. There were cards showing the character's front, but the director disliked the look so only included the over-the-shoulder shots.

Orson form Mork and Mindy.


Edited by Steven Myers on 03 December 2017 at 8:25pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 03 December 2017 at 10:37pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

The opening credits of Mork and Mindy showed Mork entering his spaceship as he was watched by (presumably) high ranking Orkan(also shown from behind). I'm not sure if any of them were supposed to be Orson.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 6:48am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

You're right, Columbo's 'missus' was never seen in the original series. I think she was the murder victim in one of the later episodes in the '90s.

***

What the fuck?! 

Tell me you're kidding. And tell me that Columbo didn't investigate his wife's death (surely police rules would not allow that).
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Well, to push it a little too far...

Using the example of Star Trek Voyager's Doctor, I guess we never saw the real face of Robot B-9 on "Lost in Space." Similarly, we never saw a face for KITT on "Knight Rider".

In all the Fantastic Four cartoons, we never saw the real face of Dr. Doom (or at least, not that I ever recall.)

We never saw the face of boss on the old cartoon "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids."

If the Tom and Jerry cartoons count, we never saw the face of the maid... or most humans. That may not count because those were movie shorts SHOWN on TV... and later cartoons by Hanna Barbera did have humans with faces.

We never saw Metallus' face on "Space Ghost". Although one episode did seem to imply that he didn't HAVE a face... or even a head. Moltar never showed his face either.

In "Mission Impossible", we never saw the face of the gentleman who assigned jobs to Jim Phelps.

Since I AM going too far... we never saw Johnny Olson ("The Price Is Right") or Don Pardo ("Saturday Night").
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

In the original Tom and Jerry cartoons, the maid was a stereotypical 'black mammy' type character. When the cartoons were sold to TV, the maid was sometimes redrawn as white(with a stereotypical 'Oirish' brogue), or the cartoons were edited to only include shots of her legs (shades of the Mary Tyler Moore example mentioned upthread). Sometimes, her dialogue was cut out, but, most often, all traces of the character were cut out. I never saw the original maid character in any of the cartoons I watched on TV as a kid.
Edited to note that everything above was typical for American showings of the cartoons. In the UK, the cartoons weren't altered til much later.


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 04 December 2017 at 11:54am
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 12:03pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

You're right, Columbo's 'missus' was never seen in the original series. I think she was the murder victim in one of the later episodes in the '90s.

***

What the fuck?! 

Tell me you're kidding. And tell me that Columbo didn't investigate his wife's death (surely police rules would not allow that).


The episode was called 'Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo'. And  you're right, rules wouldn't have allowed him to investigate her death...so, instead, he faked her death, tricking the revenge-motivated killer, who tried to poson them with tainted marmalade, into thinking that he had just returned from his wife's funeral when the killer visited him, and that he had just eaten the stuff himself...which prompted the confession.


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 04 December 2017 at 12:09pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 1:09pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Ah, I see. Thanks. I'll have to look out for that one. 
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 2:00pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Edited to note that everything above was typical for American showings of the cartoons. In the UK, the cartoons weren't altered til much later.

***

I can recall the maid character appearing in Tom and Jerry when watching it on TV (in the UK) and finding her black legs and voice somewhat exotic, having been brought up in decidedly white, middle-classed seventies Surrey. It was only as I grew up, I realised how problematic the character was.
 
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