List of unseen characters

From Academic Kids

(Redirected from Unseen characters)

Television shows and stage plays sometimes include continuing characters who are never seen or heard by the audience, but only described by other characters. Radio shows and plays also feature characters who never speak, and books feature characters who are merely referred to.



Unseen characters in television

Hidden characters appear in all varieties of fiction, but their prevalence is in televised programs. These can run for much longer than a movie or play (which are usually only a couple of hours), and unseen characters can take on special qualities. There are several levels of 'unseenness'. The most complete is never seen, only mentioned (sometimes pointed to, off screen). This means that any qualities of the character are only in the form of descriptions given by the other characters. The second most complete is heard but not seen. This allows the character to speak for him or herself, but allows the viewers to construct their own image of what the character looks like. After that are partially seen characters, such as Dr. Claw in Inspector Gadget, the only part of whom ever shown was his mechanical right arm. Other parts of characters can be shown, like many adult supporting characters in cartoons, who are only ever shown from the waist down to bring the perspective on the child-size stars: the typical example was Mammy Two-Shoes in Tom and Jerry. Cow and Chicken show makes a parody of this and other unseen characters by showing Mom and Dad only from the waist down and making it evident, from the shadows they cast (and then eventually showing), that it's because their bodies actually end at the waist.

Missing image
Mitsune "Kitsune" Konno and Andrew "Andy" Capp, both of whom have their eyes hidden.

Television show creators can become quite creative. An interesting tactic along the 'unseen character' line is that of the character who never talks, such as Teller of Penn and Teller, or Claribell the Clown in Howdy Doody. Included in this group would be Morn from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who, while never shown speaking on screen is referred to by other characters as an incessant chatterbox and the program sometimes cuts away just as he is drawing breath to speak.

Often the last level of unseenness in a character are parts of the face. In anime, it is quite common to have an unseen character whose eyes are not shown, such as hidden by the shadow from the character's hair or squinting in a 'foxlike' expression. Because many manga designs depend on eyes to express emotion, it creates an ambiguity in the character's actions. Eyes can also be hidden by conventional means, such as Andy Capp's hat, or the helmets of Beetle Bailey or Judge Dredd. Going the other way, the lower half of the face can be hidden, such as Wilson Wilson in Home Improvement or The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

A different (and somewhat more rare) kind of hidden character is a hidden object or Macguffin, which may be the focus of a plot line but (may) never actually be seen. Hidden objects include the mystical 'fourth elemental flavor of ice cream' in Codename: Kids Next Door, the contents of Rabo Karabekian's potato shed in Bluebeard, and the contents of the suitcase in Pulp Fiction.

Television shows: examples

Heard but not seen

  • Andy Capp's mother-in-law
  • Peg's mother in Married... With Children. Knowing Al's criticism of her, we know she is THAT fat. Twice viewers have heard her shake herself dry (creating an impromptu earthquake) and nearly crumbled the foundation of the house for trying to turn (pieces of the ceiling fell for clues) . Plus, at the end of one episode, the viewer sees a giant shadow coming at Al & his friends (with Al shaking his fist at her, irritated).
  • Captain Mainwaring's wife Elizabeth, in Dad's Army (only her footsteps were heard. A pronounced, downward 'bulge' is seen in the mattress above Cpt. Mainwaring, in a sleeping compartment on a train, suggesting she is a 'heavy' woman.)
  • All adults on Charlie Brown animated cartoons (they speak unintelligibly, their voices emulated by a muted trumpet). In some of the earliest drawn cartoons, however, they could be heard speaking intelligibly, although they were never seen.
  • John Beresford Tipton in The Millionaire
  • White Fang and Black Tooth in The Soupy Sales Show
  • Magic Voice on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (presumably a computer)
  • The Thing Upstairs in The Trap Door
  • Orson, Mork's boss who he reported to at the end of every episode in Mork & Mindy.
  • Curtis's cousins in the comic strip Curtis. (We hear of his vague details of them, though, during Thanksgiving week.)
  • Dilbert's father in the comic strip Dilbert (However, in the TV series, we do see a part of him in one episode)
  • Al, the cook at "Al's Wait & Eat" in ReBoot.
  • Dr. Kelso's wife Enid in Scrubs
  • Margeret, Roy the shopkeeper's wife in Little Britain
  • Dirty Joe, from The Cramp Twins
  • Dr. Kahn, from Salute Your Shorts
  • Roger Bender's overbearing wife Ruth on Now and Again (voiced by an uncredited Christine Baranski).
  • The Mysterons in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
  • During the first two seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise, a mysterious figure from a distant century (dubbed "Future Guy" by fans) is heard but not seen in several episodes dealing with the Temporal Cold War, and his identity is never revealed.
  • In the original TV series Mission: Impossible, the unidentified government official who gives Mr. Briggs (later Mr. Phelps) his assignment via self-destructing audio tapes and other devices.
  • Donnie, a resident of Sunnyvale Trailer Park on Trailer Park Boys, who can be heard often yelling out the profane exclamation "What in the f***!?" even during scenes where he can not possibly be present.

Seen but not heard

  • Maggie Simpson on The Simpsons. Speaks very seldom, and even then not intelligibly. Even as a teenager, in the prediction of Lisa Simpson's future, she never got as far to say a single word. In a Halloween Special episode, she once said "This is indeed a disturbing universe" but it was in an adult man's voice. At the end of the episode 'Lisa's First Word' she says "Daddy" after Homer leaves the room, none of the characters hear her do this.
  • Morn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A frequent, well-known patron to Quark's bar, Morn is reputed to be quite talkative, but has never been shown to speak a single word. Morn is a homage to the character Norm on Cheers.

Neither seen nor heard

(may be partially seen on rare occasions)

  • Admiral Hunter in Robotech. Scott Bernard made frequent reference to him in the New Generation segment of Robotech and Admiral Hunter is, of course a much older version of Rick Hunter, the main character from the Macross segment. As the three original segments of the show were originally unrelated anime series, this was simply one of the ways the show was re-written to tie the three shows together.
  • Al of Al's Pancake World in Gilmore Girls.
  • Abigail in Abigail's Party (originally a stage play)
  • Godot in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (originally a stage play)
  • Maris Crane, wife, and later ex-wife, of Niles Crane, on Frasier. While the producers once planned to reveal her, the list of Maris' unusual attributes and characteristics became so long that -- despite plotlines as far-reaching as a murder -- Maris was ultimately kept offscreen.
  • Muriel Yates, wife of Derek Yates, on Me and My Girl
  • Lewis Wyborn, husband of head nurse Margaret in Becker
  • Bob Sacamano, Kramer's friend from Seinfeld.
  • Lomez, Kramer's friend from Seinfeld.
  • Cousin Jeffrey, Jerry's never-seen cousin, whom Uncle Leo was always raving about, in Seinfeld. He worked for the NY Parks Department. He once got Jerry tickets to a Paul Simon concert, and a glasses-less George once claimed to see Jeffrey kissing Jerry's girlfriend. It turned out to be a horse.
  • 'Er Indoors, Arthur Daley's wife in Minder
  • Mrs Axelby, Mrs Slocombe's friend in Are You Being Served?
  • Iola Boyland's mother and father (referred to as "Mother" and "Daddy," respectively) on Mama's Family.
  • Diane, Agent Cooper's secretary, on Twin Peaks
  • Sheridan, Hyacinth Bucket's son in Keeping Up Appearances
  • Truly's and Clegg's ex-wives in Last of the Summer Wine.
  • Mrs. Columbo, wife of Inspector Columbo in Columbo (a spin-off series entitled Mrs. Columbo was disowned by the makers of the original)
  • Marion and Geoff in Marion and Geoff (In the series, the only character who appears is Keith, the pathetically optimistic ex-husband of Marion, and still best friend of Geoff who is now Marion's husband. However, an extended prequel, A Small Summer Party, was later made in which Marion and Geoff do both appear.)
  • Naota Nandaba's older brother Tasuku in FLCL
  • Phantom Dennis (a ghost) on Angel (does appear on-screen, but is invisible and inaudible)
  • Alex, the suicidal common friend of The Big Chill (played by Kevin Costner, but left on the cutting room floor)
  • Consuela, Suzanne Sugarbaker's housekeeper on Designing Women
  • Kitty Chumley, Sir Bernard Chumley's sister on Little Britain
  • Father Bigley, who had many physical abnormalities described in passing over the course of several episodes of Father Ted. He was deliberately created as a composite for the viewer.
  • Beverley Macca, the ex-girlfriend of Dave in The Royle Family.
  • Carol, Alan's wife in I'm Alan Partridge.
  • Also in I'm Alan Partridge, Fernando and Denise, Alan's children.
  • Headless Horseman, from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  • Won Ton, the hospital chief in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
  • The ship's chef in Star Trek: Enterprise (only his legs and hands were ever shown). (Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker posed as Chef in a holodeck simulation during the final episode of the series.)
  • Samantha the score-keeper in I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue, a long-running Radio Four comedy series.
  • Serge Monsoon, Edina Monsoon's son on Absolutely Fabulous, is seen once in 'Gay' which was shown one Christmas.
  • Al's Mother in Home Improvement
  • Mrs Alf Ventress in Heartbeat.
  • Tibor, Homer's scapegoat at the powerplant in The Simpsons.
  • Joan Mavis Trotter, Del Boy's beloved mother in Only Fools and Horses. Del often recalls his Mum giving 'advice' to his brother Rodney, although this is usually to bribe Rodney into doing something dodgy. We hear an overvoice of Del's mum in the episode "Time on our Hands".
  • Also on Only Fools and Horses, Monkey Harris and Paddy the Greek, both mentioned as contacts of Del.
  • Old Man Sedgwick, Stinky Peterson and other members of Possum Lodge on The Red Green Show
  • The Gooch, Arnold Jackson's long-time nemesis on Diff'rent Strokes.
  • Charlie, the proprietor of Charlie's Restaurant on Sesame Street. In this long-running sketch, Grover works at Charlie's Restaurant as a waiter who always gives poor service to a blue Muppet known as "Fat Blue".
  • Mr Pullin, an elderly (and frequently suggested to be incontinent) character on The Archers.
  • Bluster Kong's mother in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon.
  • The Council in the first season of War of the Worlds, with whom their earthbound counterparts, the Advocacy, always made frequent contact (mainly to inform them of their positive progress).
  • Naara, Piral, and Jaina, Degra's family on Star Trek: Enterprise
  • General Casey, the commander of the MACOs on Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Danny from The X Files. A friend of Fox Mulder who provides information and runs various background checks.
  • Phil Petrillo, son to Sophia Petrillo and brother to Dorothy Zbornak on the Golden Girls. Phil is often referred to as a cross-dresser who lives with his wife and many kids in a trailer park in New Jersey.
  • Charles (later Charlie) Nylund, Rose Nylund's late husband on the Golden Girls.
  • The mother of Nick Swainey, neighbour to Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave.
  • Detective Quandt's superior on Ein Mord für Quandt (a German detective show).
  • Maureen, the supposed wife of Leslie Norris, the absent-minded barman from Harry Enfield's Television Programme. Leslie is forgetful to the point that he is frequently reminded that he isn't married, often after he has hailed his good lady wife to assist him in the running of the normally empty bar.
  • The Prime Minister, the head of the British government in Yes, Minister, eventually succeeded by Jim Hacker for Yes, Prime Minister
  • Mr. Butsavich, Doug's principal in Doug.
  • Principal John Lazarus of Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • Vern, neighbour of Ernest P. Worrell in the various "Ernest" productions.
  • Mrs. Raven's triplets in My Hero. She is sometimes seen arguing with them over the phone.
  • Larry Montello's father and sister on Leave it to Beaver. His mother often mentions his father as being out of town on business; his sister is less often mentioned, but is also never seen.
  • Edna, the on-and-off girlfriend of Antonio, on the sitcom Wings. She supposedly has an unusually large face, which is always mentioned when she is referred to and earns her the moniker "the big-faced girl". The closest we ever come to seeing her is once when Antonio is talking to her and she remains silent, off-camera; other characters walk by and react to her strangely proportioned face.
  • Numerous characters in Samson en Gert: Bobientje, Marlèneke, Jean-Louis Michel, Fred Kroket, Alberto's mother, Marie, Boer Teun and Basil.
  • Mr. Shotz, the boss of Shotz Brewery, on Laverne and Shirley. His voice is only ever heard over the loudspeaker.
  • Chloe Montez in The Weekenders, often mentioned as getting herself into all sorts of trouble.
  • Lennie Briscoe's ex-wife in Law & Order, often brought up by him.
  • Lars Lindstrom, husband of Phyllis, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When the character of Phyllis got her own spin-off show, the pilot episode revolved around the death of Lars.
  • Tammy, Ricky's mother and Ray's ex-wife on Trailer Park Boys.
  • Jonathan, inspector Lea Sommer's boyfriend on the German detective series Die Komissarin
  • Eddy's Brother on Ed, Edd n Eddy. Best known for achieving everything Eddy miserably fails at on a constant basis. Feared by many kids of the cul-de-sac.

Heard but never completely seen

  • Karen's husband Stan on Will & Grace. All we ever see of him is his feet when they are in the bath and Karen gets a call from Grace, and his hands when Karen and Will are working on legal issues in the islands. He is obese, and has worn a toupee since his teens. Over the course of the series, Stan has been jailed, taken a mistress, died and then revealed that he faked his death.
  • Carlton, the doorman on Rhoda (You sometimes saw parts of his body, but never his face. Once you could see his whole body, but his face was covered by a gorilla mask. Additionally, a cartoon version of Carlton was seen in a 1980 animated TV special.)
  • Charlie Townsend, the head of the detective agency on Charlie's Angels (Charlie is frequently seen from behind, except in the series finale where he appears in surgeon's mask and outfit. He is also seen from a distance in the 2000 film version.)
  • Mom and Dad in Cow and Chicken. They are only ever seen from the waist down. In fact, Cow and Chicken makes a big joke of the idea of the Unseen Character, as it repeatedly implies that Mom and Dad genuinely have no upper body (in an episode after Cow woke up from nightmare that had Weasel & Babboon in I Am Weasel as well as the common generic character Red Heiny). In the pilot episode, they are actually revealed as having no upper body.
  • J. P. Pembrook in Fox Trot (only hands visible resting on desk)
  • Bill Brasky from a series of sketches in the 1996-1997 season of Saturday Night Live, whose only description is from the outlandish exaggerations given by a group of drunken businessmen and a closing shot in the sketches with the back of Brasky's head at a high angle, giving the impression that the man is a giant.
  • Big Al in Police Squad! and The Naked Gun (he is so tall his face is always cut off by the top of the screen)
  • "Nanny" in Muppet Babies (generally only her striped socks are seen, since the series is presented from a child's-eye view)
  • Miss Sara Bellum in The Powerpuff Girls (her face is either above the screen like Big Al's or otherwise obscured)
  • Dr. Claw in the Inspector Gadget cartoon series, who is always seated in a high-backed chair, facing away from the camera; only his fore arms and hands are ever seen. Doctor Claw was eventually seen in the motion picture, however he remained absent for the entire cartoon. This is a deliberate spoof of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the villain in the early James Bond films, whose face was never seen until the fifth movie in the series; You Only Live Twice.
  • Victor Lewis-Smith in Inside Victor Lewis-Smith (possibly the only series whose star is never seen clearly; he or a body double appears wreathed in bandages after a car crash in the opening scene; he is also seen in highly distorted close-ups while making crank phone calls)
  • "Troy", the extra-terrestrial father in Out of This World. Voiced by Burt Reynolds.
  • David Tatsyrup on The League of Gentlemen (while he is seen as a normal human character at the end of the first series, he has become some kind of unseen beast in the attic of the local shop come series two)
  • Amber Klein, Marsha's daughter in Spaced
  • Mammy Two-Shoes in Tom and Jerry cartoons.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Turner, Timmy's parents in The Fairly OddParents, who were always shown with their faces obscured on the Oh Yeah! Cartoons series; in the later Fairly OddParents series, they were fully visible.
  • Roy Mallard, played by Chris Langham: presenter of the spoof documentary People Like Us. A slight send-up of the "unseen character" concept, as some part of him (often one hand) gets in shot in every episode. In one episode, his full-length reflection is seen in a mirrored window.
  • R.L., Kell's boss in Kevin and Kell. Only his drooling muzzle is usually ever seen. His whole body was recently shown, but his face was still hidden by a wrestler's mask.
  • Sham-Fu the Magician, from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.
  • Barbara the Trans-sexual from the League of Gentlemen. Never see her face.
  • Sam, the operator at the Hi-Fi Answering Service, on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Voiced by Mary Tyler Moore when introduced, she was usually shown only from the legs down as she exchanged innuendo on the phone with Diamond.
  • The bottom half of Kevin, the french stripper from Weebl and Bob has never been seen.
  • The complete face of South Park's Kenny McCormick was always hidden under his orange hood (and his voice muffled) until the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
  • Vera Peterson, wife of Norm Peterson, on Cheers. She was only heard a few times, but was talked about a lot. (She twice appeared on screen. However, on the first occasion, was hit with a cream pie which covered her face entirely before her face could be seen. And on the second occasion, viewers could see only her legs, through the bar's front window, as she stood and sat on the steps that led down to the entrance to the bar.)
  • Cobra Commander from the G.I. Joe show. His face is always hidden, either by a hood that only reveals his eyes, or by a silver-coloured mask that doesn't even reveal his eyes.
  • Casey Jones from the 1987 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was always wearing a hockey mask over his face.
  • All Kryptonian characters, except Clark Kent, on Smallville.
  • Eddie McDowd as a human on 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. He was seen before changing into a dog in the first episode, but his face was always obscured or turned away from the camera; also, his voice was not heard until he was a dog.
  • Most of the time, the parents of the Kids Next Door fall under this category (one distinct exception was Numbuh One's dad, who was shown in two eps).
  • The Man In Black, from Halloween 5 -we don't get to see his face until the next movie.
  • Randy Klien on Unfabulous. His face is never seen exept in one episode.
  • The upper half of Andy Capp's face.

Unseen characters who were spoken of for a long time and then eventually seen

  • Alistair Crane on the NBC soap Passions
  • Robin Masters, the novelist who hires Thomas Magnum on Magnum P.I.. (Masters' voice is provided by Orson Welles in a number of episodes, however the final episode revealed that one of the main ongoing characters of the series was actually Robin all along, however viewers are left wondering if this is true.)
  • Mary Jane Watson in the Spider Man comic book series
  • Frasier's mother, on Frasier (though she did appear in Cheers)
  • Number One on The Prisoner (debated)
  • Fran's father, Morty on The Nanny who was unseen or heard from until the final season, when he suddenly appeared during the final season of the show, played by Steve Lawrence. Previously, all you saw was the toupee on the back of his head.
  • Emily, the "other sister" on Empty Nest, who was often spoken of, but never seen or heard during all the early years the show was on the air. Then several seasons later, Kristy McNicholl's character left the show, and Emily suddenly appeared and became a regular on the show.
  • Haydon in the comic and novelizations of the aborted Robotech series Robotech II the Sentinels. He was finally revealed in the Jack McKinney novel End of The Circle as a godlike being trying to reach the next level of existence.
  • The Big Giant Head on 3rd Rock from the Sun was unseen for several seasons but finally appeared, played by William Shatner.
  • "Daddy" from Keeping Up Appearances. He is almost perpetually asleep, however, thus maintaining a certain air of 'unseenness'.
  • Management on Carnivàle. It was revealed that he was a legless, one-armed Russian named Belyakov who fought in the first World War, who stayed behind a curtain until late in the second season, when he lured Ben & Scudder into his trailer & attempted to stab Scudder to lure Ben into killing him to pass on all his worldly knowledge as a "creature of light".
  • Violet and Bruce from Keeping Up Appearances. Hyacinth frequently talked to Violet on the phone (with Hyancinth's side of the conversation being the only one which was seen) about Bruce. Both were finally seen in latter seasons of the show.
  • Mr. Humphries' mother from Are You Being Served?. Mr. Humphries could frequently be seen talking to his mother on the phone. Mrs. Humphries finally made two appearances: one in a later episode of the show and a second on the PBS special, The Best of Are You Being Served?, both times being played by John Inman, the same actor who played Mr. Humphries..
  • Clive from Men Behaving Badly. An old friend of Gary's, he was mentioned several times, and finally appeared at Gary and Dorothy's wedding, albeit behind a camcorder.
  • Sir Royston Merchant from Drop the Dead Donkey. As the tycoon owner of Globelink, he was mentioned in practically every episode, but never seen. Phone conversations with him sometimes took place, but could only be heard from the side of one of the characters. He was finally seen in the very last episode of the series, when Gus Hedges broke into his house to confront him. He was played by Roger Hammond.
  • Field Marshal Haig, being a prominent figure of the First World War, was mentioned several times in the series Blackadder Goes Forth, and was actually seen in the final episode, played by Geoffrey Palmer.
  • Wilson, the Taylors' wise neighbor, in Home Improvement, who is usually seen with the lower half of his face obscured by his picket fence or other prop. His face is seen only in the very final moments of last episode, as the actors of the series take a bow in sequence. Played by Earl Hindman, who once appeared on a talk show with a miniature fence to hide his face.
  • The Ugly Naked Guy, a fat and ugly nudist living opposite Monica and Rachel's apartment in Friends. The gang always commented on what they saw him do through the apartment's window. He was finally seen when he moved out and Ross visited him to persuade him into giving him his apartment. Even then, we only saw his (naked) back and he did not speak.
  • Mr. Bell on The Drew Carey Show (Seen only in his final "appearance")
  • Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald, on the soap opera Passions. She was seen after five years of references.
  • Jenny Piccalo on Happy Days was only talked about before she became a series regular.
  • Mr & Mrs Grimes, who are Bill & Ben's next door neighbours on British sitcom 2point4 Children. Initially, apart from their foreheards over the garden fence, they were never seen in the show, only their vocies were heard. They eventually appeared in later series of the show.
  • Tochiro Oyama in the 1977 animated series Space Pirate Captain Harlock. The architect of Captain Harlock's pirate ship Arcadia and the father of Maya, the young girl Harlock pledged his life to protect, Tochiro's grave is visited in the first episode and Harlock often spoke briefly of his great friend in his more reflective moods. Some of these reflections took the form of a silent vigil in the ship's massive computer room. Tochiro is also sometimes referred to as the forty second soul on the Arcadia although the enemy has only ever counted forty one living beings aboard. Tochiro was finally seen and referred to by name in a flashback during the episode Mystery of the Arcadia. It is also revealed as to why the Arcadia seems to have a mind of its own. Tochiro, upon his death, found a way to transfer his soul into the ships computer. A totally different version of this event was seen in the 1979 movie version of Galaxy Express 999 in which Harlock and crew made guest appearances. Tochiro appeared as a living, active character and crewmember in subsequent Harlock anime placing those somewhat roughly before the events in Space Pirate and Galaxy Express 999.
  • Ziggy from Quantum Leap. As the computer that works out what Sam needs to do in order to 'leap', Ziggy is mentioned in every episode by Al, who communicates with Ziggy via a hand-link device. In the first three series the show is nearly always seen from Sam's perspective with Ziggy and the rest of the 'present day' remaining off-screen. At the start of Season four Sam briefly 'leaps' back home and Ziggy's interface console and voice are seen and heard directly.
  • George Devereaux, late husband of Blanche Devereaux on the Golden Girls. George appeared to Blanche in a dream where he explains that he faked his death.
  • George Jefferson finally appeared on All in the Family two seasons after his wife, Louise, began as a regular on the series. George was mentioned numerous times before his first on-screen appearance. (Later, the characters received their own spin-off series, The Jeffersons.
  • Carl Reiner's character of Alan Brady was heard but not seen fully (once he appeared with his back towards the camera and a second time with shaving cream on his face) for the first 2 full seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show. He eventually became a semi-regular.
  • Ally on Just Shoot Me, Maya's former classmate and Jack's wife and then ex-wife, was spoken of often (and occasionally spoken to on the phone) but not seen until she demanded a job at Blush in exchange for putting an end to the long, drawn-out divorce settlement.
  • Cliff's mother on Cheers. She was mentioned many times before finally appearing in season 5.
  • Jabba the Hutt in the original version of Star Wars; he later appeared in Return of the Jedi. A new scene was introduced in the special edition of Star Wars which featured Han confronting Jabba on giving him more time to pay him back.
  • Lionel Starkweather, the director in the video game Manhunt. His voice is heard numerous times throughout the first half of the game, but he is never actually seen until the very end.
  • Aloysius Snuffleupagus is one of the Muppet characters on the long-running educational television program for young children, Sesame Street. For many years, Big Bird was the only character on the show who saw him (he only came along when Big Bird was alone). The other characters teased Big Bird when he said he had seen the Snuffleupagus, because they didn't believe there was such an animal, often despite evidence to the contrary (such as an oversized teddy bear that Snuffy had left behind). This was modeled in part on the imaginary friends some young children have.

Stage plays: examples


  • Uncle Joey in Back to the Future (except as a child in 1955)
  • The hunter in Bambi
  • Charlie in Charlie's Angels (the back of his head is seen closely and his full body is seen from a distance in the first film, and not at all in the second.)
  • Guffman in Waiting for Guffman
  • The truck driver in Duel
  • The truck driver in Joy Ride
  • Henne in Kein Pardon ( -- Throughout the movie, the main character's relatives speak fondly of him. In the last scene, Henne is greeted by the door just when the screen begins to blacken, so he is not seen even once.
  • Oscar -- The entire movie revolves around the title character, a chauffeur. But he makes his appearance only in the last scene.
  • Bill in Kill Bill vol. 1 -- only his arms or legs are shown. He is later seen full-bodied in Kill Bill vol. 2.
  • Emperor Palpatine in the original Star Wars trilogy. He is mentioned in A New Hope, seen as a hologram in The Empire Strikes Back and finally shown, in person, in Return of the Jedi. The character has appeared in person in all the prequel movies.
  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the most famous James Bond villain, is seen only in silhouette or from the back in his first appearances in From Russia With Love and Thunderball. He is finally seen in You Only Live Twice.
  • Weapons dealer Max in the movie Mission Impossible was talked about for a time until it was revealed that Max was a woman - to be precise, Vanessa Redgrave. Initial credits in the movie menction "and Vanessa Redgrave" without specifying her character.
  • The Blue Voice (voiced by Fenella Fielding) in the 1972 feature film of The Magic Roundabout, Dougal and the Blue Cat, was the disembodied voice situated in the treacle factory who gave orders to Buxton (the blue cat of the title) to take over the colours of the world, and replace them all with the colour blue. It is rumored that she was based on Margaret Thatcher, and the character is a political comment about the beginnings of Thatcherism - the colour blue being the colour of the Conservative Party.

Comic strips and graphic novels

  • The Adversary in Vertigo comics's Fables
  • The "little red-haired girl", Charlie Brown's crush in Peanuts -- eventually revealed in the 1977 television special Life's a Circus, Charlie Brown, but never shown in the comic strip itself (except once in silhouette).
  • Charlie, Rosalyn's boyfriend in Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Andy Capp's mother-in-law.
  • J.P. Pembrooke, Roger Fox's boss in FoxTrot.
  • Charlie Noodles (mentioned but never seen) and Stella (face never seen) from The Goon.
  • Mrs Feeny, the next door neighbour, and her little dog, who Garfield likes tormenting. Mrs Feeny keeps phoning Garfield's owner Jon telling him what his pet has done to hers.
  • Ellen, a girl Jon Arbuckle keeps phoning to try to get her to go out with him in Garfield.
  • Lord Deadcross in the Astro Boy manga, where his face was always out of view or masked.
  • In Maison Ikkoku, the face of the late husband of the boarding house's manager is obscured in flashbacks and photographs.

Radio Programs

Though no characters are ever seen in any radio programming, at least one recurring character was never heard: Duffy, the owner of Duffy's Tavern, a popular, long-running show. Every episode, Duffy telephoned Archie, the bar's manager. Listeners heard only Archie's side of the conversation.


  • Big Brother and Emmanuel Goldstein. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, it is not clear if either actually exist (or existed) as a person, or are images crafted by the state, or the personification of the Party and its enemy, respectively.
  • Dulcinea del Toboso (and her alter ego Aldonza Lorenzo) in Cervantes' novel Don Quixote. Don Quixote falls in love with peasant Aldonza and imagines she is a princess, Dulcinea. Although in stage and film adaptations there is usually someone acting as Dulcinea, neither Dulcinea nor Aldonza really appear in the original novel.
  • The main villain (Sauron) of the Lord of the Rings book. Although the book is named after him, he is never seen in the novel, and his movements and tactical thoughts of the war are assumed by his enemies. For this reason it is not known if he had a corporeal form during those events, and his nature is not explained. Finally, in 1977 with the publishing of the Silmarillion, by Tolkien, his major roles in the history of Middle-earth became known, as well as his nature (a Maia, a kind of lesser deity).
  • Mudd aka The Dead Man in Yossarian's Tent. In the novel Catch-22, Mudd drops his things off in Yossarian's tent, gets assigned to a mission before he checks in, and is killed in combat. No one who saw him survived, and since he never 'officially' arrived, his possessions cannot be disposed of.
  • The Soldier in White. Another Catch-22 character, he's seen in the hospital, completely encased in plaster. We know nothing about him, and it is speculated that there is actually no one under all the bandages.
  • Eccentrica Gallumbits, the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books. She is referenced in every book in the series but never actually appears in any of them. The BBC TV version of Hitchhiker's does include a detailed diagram of her erogenous zones.

Monkey Island

The Adventure Game-series Monkey Island also has an array of unseen characters.

  • Dominique, the elusive barber-pirate, was first mentioned as being Guybrush Threepwood's barber in The Secret of Monkey Island and later as having worked with the Barbery Coast pirates in The Curse of Monkey Island before leaving due to artistic differences.
  • Elaine Marley's (apparently deadbeat) parents. She was raised by her grandfather Horatio Torquemada Marley before he disappeared.
  • Guybrush Threepwood's parents (debatable, two characters in Monkey Island 2 claim to be Guybrush's parents, but they only appear when Guybrush has either been knocked on the head or hexed by LeChuck).
  • The Gamblers' Club door-man who asks Guybrush three questions before revealing the winning number for the Wheel of Fortune. The player talks to him and sees his hand and arm (both of which are quite big) but never sees his face.
  • Mêlée Town elders.
  • Members of the Plunder Island Naturalists' Society. The player reads several small plaques left by them and even find the remains of one inside a snake.

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