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Bosses & Employees

BOB/CBS/1992-93 (Mr. TerHorst) - The omnipresent yet never seen boss of graphic artist Bob McKay (Bob Newhart) on the sitcom BOB/CBS/1992-93. Michael Cumpsty played the voice of Mr. Chuck TerHorst the head of parent company (American Canadian Transcontinental Communications Co.) who hired Bob to revive his "Mad Dog" comic strip about a veterinarian with the adrenal glands of a Doberman pinscher. Terhorst's voice had the habit of popping up at the most inopportune times. His voice once spilled out of a speaker on an elevator occupied by Bob Macay. After a moment, Bob timidly asked "Are...are you everywhere?" to which Mr. Terhorst replied "Well, It is my building."

BRACKEN'S WORLD/NBC/1969-70 (Mr. John Bracken) - Deep in the heart of Hollywood, California was the fictional Century Studios ruled by the mysterious movie mogul, John Bracken. Never seen, only heard via phone conversations (voice of Warren Stevens), Mr. Bracken with the help of his executive secretary Sylvia Caldwell (Eleanor Parker) ran his studio, doling out parts which could make or break the careers of a bevy of aspiring actors. The poor ratings during the first season forced some changes in the script which included bringing Mr. Bracken out of limbo and onto the television screen. Leslie Nielsen was cast as Mr. Bracken who became personally involved in the affairs of the studio and the lives of his actors. With the entrance of Mr. Bracken, came the exit of his secretary as a recurring role. The series was filmed on the lots of 20th Century Fox.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS/ABC/1976-81 (Charlie Townsend) - This detective series based in Los Angeles featured a bevy of beautiful former police women including Kate Jackson as Sabrina Duncan, Farrah Fawcett Majors as Jill Munroe, Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett and later Cheryl Ladd as Kris Munroe, Shelley Hack as Tiffany Welles and Tanya Roberts as Julie Rogers who signed on to work for the mysterious Charlie Townsend, the owner of the Charles Townsend Investigations. Each assignment began and ended in a office where the girls and the trusty John Bosley (David Doyle) sat and talked to Charlie via a conference telephone connection. You see the gimmick to the series was that you never got to see who Charlie was. The girls had the Pandora box syndrome and were always trying to figure out what he looked like from the few clues given them. The most important being the voice which was supplied by veteran actor John Forsythe. With tease shots much like in the MILLIONAIRE series, the audience got to see faint glimpses of Charlie's hands, legs, or the back of his head. Once when one of the Angels was critically wounded by gunshot, Charlie, dressed in a surgical gown and mask, visited the operating room unbeknownst to the rest of his people, but that was the extent of his exposure. Of course, John Forsythe did finally come back into the public's eye when he starred as multimillionaire Blake Carrington on the highly successful prime time soap DYNASTY/ABC/1981-89. TRIVIA NOTE: A TV cartoon version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS called THE C.B. BEARS/NBC/1977 featured three animated bears, Hustle, Dump and Boogie who solved mysteries for a faceless woman named Charlie who called them on the C. B. Radio. The motion picture remake Charlie’s Angeles (2000) starring Drew Barrymore, Linda Liu and Cameron Diaz reincarnated Charlie Townsend, but true to form per the original series, the audience and the Angels never saw Charlie (John Forsythe). For the 2011 ABC TV remake of CHARLIE'S ANGELS, Victor Garber provided the voice of Charles Townsend. See also - "The Millionaire"

THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW/CBS/1961-66 (Alan Brady) - The classic sitcom THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW/CBS/1961-66 featured a loudmouthed, pushy superstar known as Alan Brady who hosted his own comedy variety series. However, for the first two seasons of the program the TV viewing audience only saw the back of his head. The most common shots of this balding tyrant (who wore a toupee on his show) were from behind his large office desk or barber chair when he was talking to his bumbling brother-in-law producer, Melvin Cooley (Richard Deacon) or his three top comedy writers Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) and Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam). Two years after the series debuted, Alan Brady was finally revealed on the episode entitled "The Alan Brady Show." It was none other than the series creator himself, Carl Reiner. Another faceless favorite on the show was the never seen but often spoken to Marge, Alan Brady's secretary.

THE DREW CAREY SHOW/ABC/1995-2004 (Mr. Bell) - Hidden from view but very prominent was the character Mr. Hawthorne Bell, a high-level executive at Winfred-Louder Department Store in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Bell communicated via telephone (voice-over by Kevin Pollack) or through the door of his office. When scenes required Mr. Bell's presence, everything was shown from his viewpoint or his face was obscured. Mr. Bell was later fired and replaced by a very visible Mr. Nigel Wick when the store was purchased by a Dutch firm.

THE GHOST BUSTERS/CBS/1975-76 (Mr. Zero) - This supernatural comedy starred a trio of Ghost Busters who received their assignments via a tape recorded message featuring the voice of the never-seen superior, Mr. Zero. Agents Eddie Spencer, Kong and Tracy (a trained Gorilla) find their taped-messages hidden at LeChler's hardware store (inside a rubber fish or bouquet of flower's). At the end of each message Mr. Zero concludes "This tape will self destruct in five seconds." It always blew up in the face of Tracy who tempted fate by counting off the seconds.

DESIGNING WOMEN/CBS/1986-93 (Consuella) - Working in the household of interior designer Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) was an often spoken about but never-seen house maid called Consuella. According to Suzanne, Consuella has thrown hatchets at the Good Humor Man, made necklaces out of chicken necks, and even howled at the moon. Suzanne's sister Julia (Dixie Carter) described Consuella as "totally psychotic."

MADAME'S PLACE/SYN/1982-83 (R. Ray Randall) - On the late-night talk show "Madame's Place," R. Ray Randall (voice of Chandler Garrison) a TV Network Head, offered directions and suggestions to the show's host Madame (a puppet controlled by Wayland Flowers). Madame called Randall "No face" because he was never-seen but only heard over a speaker phone.

MAGNUM, P.I./CBS/1980-88 (Robin Masters) - Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Magnum, an ex-Navy intelligence officer turned private investigator living at the mansion of wealthy writer, Robin Masters located on the North Shore of Oahu Island in Hawaii. In exchange for services as a security advisor, Magnum was given a room on the estate. The character Robin Masters was never seen on the series but only heard talking via phone conversations to his British manservant Jonathan Quayle Higgins III (John Hillerman) who ran Master's extensive estate in his absence. Orson Welles supplied the voice of Robin Masters from 1981-85. In a 1986 episode (after Welles died) it was suggested by Magnum that Higgins who was always writing his memoirs on the mansion computer was actually the famed writer Robin Masters, living incognito and that the voice that we heard for the first four seasons was actually just an actor who assisted Higgins in his deception for anonymity. It was an interesting theory but Higgins (laughing) flatly denied the allegation, but it still kept the viewing audience wondering. On the final episode of the 1987 season, Thomas Magnum was shot and lay in a coma struggling for his life. Hoping to reach Magnum's subconscious mind, Higgin's dropped the remark that if Magnum died he'd never find out whether he (Higgins) was really Robin Masters. It worked because, Magnum was revived in the following season opener. Alas, they never revealed the true identity of Robin Masters. Red Crandall provides the voice of Robin Masters, heard on the telephone in later episodes.

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77 (Chuckles the Clown) - "Chuckles The Clown" was the star of THE CHUCKLES THE CLOWN SHOW aired on the fictional Minneapolis television station WJM-TV Channel 12 on the sitcom THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. The often spoken about but rarely seen Chuckles character was a running gag on the program. When Chuckles was seen he was in full makeup (played by Mark Gordon and Richard Schall). In a final surge of comedic irony, Chuckles was trampled to death by a rogue elephant in a parade. It seemed that Chuckles, the parade's grand marshal, was dressed in a giant peanut costume. That tantalizing site was to much for a hungry pachyderm to resist, and thus Chuckles was quickly de-shelled. Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) the station's news producer who had berated her fellow workers for making fun of such a serious situation, began to laugh violently during Chuckle's funeral when the silliness of the whole situation finally hit home.

THE MILLIONAIRE/CBS/1955-60 (John Beresford Tipton) - Probably the most famous television character never to be seen on the tube was that of millionaire John Beresford Tipton whose hobby was to give away one million dollars (tax-free) to total strangers. His love of chess inspired him to give away fortunes and then observe the results of his intervention. With the assistance of his personal male secretary, Michael Anthony (Marvin Miller), he dispensed his money with but one stipulation...that no attempt be made to find out who their benefactor was or the remaining money would be forfeited. During the life of the series, the "Millionaire" gave away more than seventy million dollars .The most anyone ever saw of this eccentric character was the back of his head or a waving arm or two. His deep, rich voice which weekly said, "our next millionaire" was supplied by Paul Frees.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE/CBS/1966-73 (Spy Supervisor) - This spy thriller began each episode with a confidential tape recorded message played to a government operative who belonged to the IMF (Impossible Mission Force). It usually began "Good Morning, Mr. Phelps (Peter Graves)..." followed by a biography of a sinister person or group who was about to do sometime terrible to the free world. The typical ending of the message was "If any of your force be killed or captured, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions...this tape will self destruct in 5 seconds... Good Luck, Jim." Bob Johnson supplied the voice of the unseen espionage official on the tape recordings. The series remake MISSION IMPOSSIBLE/ABC/1988-90 featured a self-destructing video laser disc player (with the same voice, of course) in place of a tape recorder. See also "Burke's Law"

MORK & MINDY/ABC/1978-82 (Orson from Ork) - The sci-fi series MORK & MINDY starred Robin Williams as Mork, a zany alien from the planet Ork who while visiting Earth reported back to his home world via mental telepathy to a rotund space executive named Orson. During his reports Mork routinely insulted Orson with wisecracks like "Yes, Oh Laser Breath" or "Your Immenseness." Orson was never seen only heard on the series. His voice was provided by Ralph James.

RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE/CBS/NBC/1957-60 (Sam, the operator) - Private detective Richard Diamond (David Janssen), an ex-cop turned private eye, used the Hi Fi Answering Service to field his phone messages (he had a phone in his car) for his private investigation business. Delivering his messages was the sultry, sexy-voiced telephone operator known only as "Sam" who sat next to her switchboard in the service's dimly lit office and answered Mr. D's calls on the fourth ring. Diamond once remarked "Oh that voice! And the only thing I know about her is what she tells me-and that ain't much!" The TV audience generally saw Sam from the waist down. What you could see of Sam was tantalizing (slit skirts, tight blouses and sweaters, a curvaceous 38B torpedo bra silhouette and those Ohhh! so luscious legs). Sexiness aside, Sam proved very helpful on occasion, warning Diamond just in the nick of time of impending dangers. A very young Mary Tyler Moore (1959) was cast as the first "Sam" (she was paid $80 per episode) and later replaced by the equally sexy legs and voice of Roxane Brooks (1959-60). TV Guide magazine featured Moore's legs in a photo shoot called "Sam Models the Latest in Hosiery." Her legs had previously appeared on a TV commercial spot featuring a dancing pack of Old Gold cigarettes.

SEINFELD/NBC/1990-98 (George Steinbrenner) - The actual owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner was lampooned on the sitcom SEINFELD as a never seen but always befuddled baseball executive (the camera filmed him from behind as he sat in a chair). He often interacted with George Costanza (Jason Alexander), a loser of an executive with extremely poor work ethic. Larry David provided the voice for the Steinbrenner role which was introduced on episode No. 82 "The Opposite" (5/19/94). Actors Larry David or Lee Bear provided the 'back' of his head.

THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS SHOW/CBS/1965-66 (Angel Supervisor) - This supernatural sitcom starred Tom Smothers in the role of a probationary angel (he was lost at sea without his water-wings) who returned to Earth to perform good deeds. He reported back to heaven to a never-seen supervisor named Ralph, (The Temporary Assignment Angel) who contacted Tom by phone.

3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN/NBC/1996-2001 (Big Giant Head) - This sci-fi comedy told the tale of four aliens who posed incognito as humans to observe the people and customs of Earth. They reported back their findings to a never seen but often spoken about character known as "The Big Giant Head" who was first mentioned on episode #8 "Body & Soul Dick." This mysterious galactic overlord was both respected and feared by the visiting aliens, (a.k.a. "the Solomon Family") headed by Dick Solomon, (John Lithgow), a Physic Professor at a nearby college. Harry Solomon (French Stewart) is the groups conduit for communicating with the Big Giant Head. In later episodes, the Big Giant Head visited Earth and took the form of William Shatner (of Star Trek fame).

TIME EXPRESS/CBS/1979 (Mysterious Benefactor) - Passage aboard the Time Express was controlled by an unknown mysterious man who was never seen. Similar to eccentric millionaire John Beresford Tipton on THE MILLIONAIRE/CBS/1955-60 who chose people at random to receive a million tax-free dollars, this mysterious benefactor chose people whose past needed second chances. Those selected were given a ticket and told to report to the Time Express for their excursion into the past. Train crew members included James Reynold as Conductor, Robert Jefferson "R.J." Walker; William Edward Phipps as E. Patrick Callahan, the engineer and Woodrow Parfey as the Ticket Agent. An eerie, supernatural train designed to carry its passengers back in time to important moments in their past  was based at the Los Angeles Union Station and departed from gate "Y," Track 13. On board host/hostess Jason and Margaret (Vincent Price and his wife, Coral Browne) supervised each passenger's trip as they moved through the misty corridors of time.

TWIN PEAKS/ABC/1990-91 (Diane, the secretary) - Diane was the often mentioned but never seen secretary of FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), an obsessive-compulsive investigator who loved good coffee, cherry pie and talking into his hand-held tape recorder. Acknowledging his secretary Diane as he spoke into his recorder, agent Cooper transmitted all of his thoughts ("There's a hint of Douglas fir needles in the air"), ideas and clues on the murder case of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a high school homecoming queen. Whether Diane really cared about all his comments on Douglas Firs, and Mmmmmm! good cups of coffee, I guess we'll never know. An example of Dale Cooper speaking into tape recorder: "Diane, its 6:18 AM...I'm holding in my hands a small box of chocolate bunnies..." For those fans of the show who are interested in hearing more of Agent Cooper's observations there's Diane...the Grammy winning "The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper" (performed by Kyle Maclachlan), an audiotape produced by Simon & Schuster Audio Cassettes. In addition, the book "The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes," we were given further background into Cooper's special form of note taking. An entry in the "Autobiography" for January 10, 1978 reads: "Diane, I hope that you will not mind that I address these tapes to you even when it is clear that I am talking to myself. The knowledge that someone of your insight is standing behind me is comforting."


 

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