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Friends, Neighbors & Relatives

DAVIS RULES/ABC/CBS/1991-92 (Miss Kelly) - The gorgeous but never seen next-door-neighbor of former Marine William "Gunny" Davis (Jonathan Winters). Gunny was constantly looking out the kitchen window at Miss Kelly and using his fertile imagination to support his lurid little fantasies about his attractive neighbor.

DIFF'RENT STROKES/NBC/1978-86 (The Gooch) - On the sitcom DIFF'RENT STROKES/NBC/ABC/1978-86 Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman), an eight-year old black boy was always picked on by a school bully (never-seen), no matter what grammar school he attended. Arnold referred to his tormentor as "The Gooch."

FRIENDS/NBC/1994-2004 (The Ugly Naked Guy) - Unseen (by the viewing audience) nudist neighbor of roommates Monica Geller (Courtney Cox) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) introduced on the episode "The One with the Sonogram at the End" (9/29/1994) on the twenty something sitcom FRIENDS/NBC/1994-2004. The Ugly Naked Guy lived in a nearby apartment and could be spotted on occasion by Monica, Rachel, and friends. When across-the-hall friend Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) said "Ugly Naked Guy's got a Thighmaster" the others cried "Eeaach!" Other observations from their window revealed "Ugly Naked Guy's laying kitchen tile"; Ugly Naked Guy's lit a bunch of candles"; and Ugly Naked Guy's got gravity boots." Once during Thanksgiving dinner friend Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) looked out the window and said "Ugly Naked Guy's taking his turkey out of the oven. He's not alone. Ugly Naked Guy's having Thanksgiving dinner with Ugly Naked gal!" When Rachel Green's mother (Marlo Thomas) visited the apartment, she glanced out the window and cried "There's an unattractive man in the nude playing the cello." Rachel replied "Just be glad he's not playing a smaller instrument." Ross Gellar later moved into the Ugly naked guy's apartment when he relocated.

TRIVIA NOTE: On the comedy program IN LIVING COLOR black comedian Jamie Foxx created a character called Wanda the Ugly Woman. Wanda was so ugly (truly an insult to the eyes) that men literally began shivering in their shoes as she approached them. Wanda greeted each potential date with the catchphrase "I'm gonna rock your world!" Yeah, but you got to catch me first. Yuck! See also COOKS & COOKBOOKS: "Cooking with Friends"

THE GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN SHOW/CBS/1950-58 (Uncle Harvey) - The never-seen Uncle Harvey, a relative of comedienne Gracie Allen is a frequent occupant of San Quentin Prison. In fact, every time his name is brought up, he is in jail. Another never-seen but often spoken about character was Gracie's mother who lives in San Francisco. Her phone number was Market 1-0048.

Neigbhbor Tim Talks to Wilson

HOME IMPROVEMENT/ABC/1991-99 (Wilson, the next-door neighbor) - The Detroit based sitcom HOME IMPROVEMENT featured Tim Allen as Tim Taylor, the star of a local how-to-program called "Tool Time." Tim often talked to his philosophical next-door neighbor called Wilson (Earl Hindman) whose face was never quite fully seen through the tall picket fence that separated their homes. This backyard mystic passed along advice like "I'm afraid that reality as we know it, is someone else's dream." Another often referred to but never seen character was mother of Al Borland (Richard Karn). Tim Taylor often made fun of Al's mother on his fix-it show especially jokes about her overweight condition. When Al canceled his wedding, the TV screen shook when his mother fainted in another room.

TRIVIA NOTE: The reason Wilson's face is unseen is based upon Tim Allen's recollection of not being able to see his own neighbor when he was a boy as he was too short to see over the fence. It also added an air of mystery to his neighbor. The counseling aspect of Tim Taylor talking to his neighbor, Wilson is a direct throwback to the sitcom THE LIFE OF RILEY/NBC/1949-58 when William Bendix as Chester A. Riley took his problems to the neighborhood mortuary worker, Digby "Digger" O'Dell (played by John Brown).

HOT L BALTIMORE/ABC/1975 (Moose) - Among the many zany residents of the Hot l Baltimore was Moose, Mrs. Bellotti's heard but never seen 26 year-old son. He enjoyed playing such pranks as buttering the Hotel hallways and gluing himself to the ceiling.

THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW/CBS/1952-70 (Mr. Dunahee) - One of the many characters created by comedian Jackie Gleason on his comedy variety series was that of "Joe the Bartender," a portly saloon keeper who chewed the fat with his customers. One of his regulars was Mr. Dunahee, a never seen or heard but always acknowledged patron. At the beginning of the sketch the camera (as Mr. Dunahee) would push its way through the bar's swinging doors where it always found Joe the bartender singing the tune of "My Gal Sal." After the customary greeting, Joe poured Mr. Dunahee a beer. Joe would always stick his finger in the beer to stop the head of foam from streaming over the top of the glass. Though never seen, Mr. Dunahee was the catalyst for the bar room chit-chat to follow, where Joe would respond to supposed statements from Mr. Dunahee and philosophize about the news in The American Scene Magazine that he read in between customers. Crazy Guggenheim (Frank Fontaine), the bar's resident zany often came to visit with Joe and Mr. Dunahee and usually sang them a song accompanied by the music from the juke box. At the close of the sketch, Mr. Dunahee (the camera pulled away from the bar) would leave the saloon (his beer glass close to empty) and Joe would again begin to sing "My Gal Sal."

TRIVIA NOTE: Jimmy Proces' bar in Brooklyn, the neighborhood bar from Jackie Gleason's childhood, inspired the Joe the bartender skits. The name of Mr. Dunahee was inspired by the name of Jackie Gleason's apartment superintendent when he was a child in New York City.

MAGGIE/ABC/1981-82 (Teenage son of Maggie Westin) - Based on the humorous books of Erma Bombeck, this sitcom portrayed the life of a harried housewife, Maggie Weston (Miriam Flynn) as she coped with her husband and her three children in the suburbs outside of Dayton, Ohio. L.J. was the 16 year old son of the Westins who was referred to but never seen or heard on the program. He was always in the bathroom. Now what would a healthy teenage boy be doing in the bathroom all the time?

MARTIN/FOX/1992-97 (Big Shirley) - Martin Payne's buddy Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II) dated a woman referred to as "Big Shirley." She is Cole's sweetheart and although built like a refrigerator, the camera never shows the viewing audience anything above her bust-line.

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77 (Lars Lindstrom) - Cloris Leachman starred as Phyllis Lindstrom, a self-centered busybody who rented out part of her large Minneapolis home. When not berating her tenants, Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) and Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), she was bragging about her husband Lars Lindstrom, a dermatologist. For all the script references about her husband, Lars was never seen on the series. Phyllis moved to San Francisco with her own spin-off series PHYLLIS/CBS/1975-77 when her husband Lars died.

SEINFELD/NBC/1990-98 (Cousin Jeffrey & Bob Sacamano) - Two characters who were mentioned but never seen on the program were Jerry's Cousin Jeffrey and Cosmo Kramer's friend, Bob Sacamano. Explaining why these characters were never seen, Jerry Seinfeld, the star of the series remarked "They've (Cousin Jeffrey and Bob Sacamano) become too large in our imagination for anyone to fill those shoes"). Bob Sacamano is a friend of Cosmo Kramer who occasionally talks about him to his friends. Some of the stories told about Bob included his short stint as a worker in a condom factory; the one where Bob tired to undergo shock treatment, but it didn't work because his synapses were too big; the time when he went to the hospital for a simple hernia operation but consequently, he now talks with a high pitched voice; and the time Bob stayed with Kramer for one and a half years. Bob has also had rabies, and sold fur hats . Here is a script snippet from the show:

Some Sacamano Dialog

Elaine: So Kramer what am I supposed to do? If I don't have that fur hat by four o'clock they're gonna take me down like Nixon.
Jerry: (after staying at Kramer's) You know my friend Bob Sacamano?
Elaine: I thought he was Kramer's friend.
Jerry: Well, he called last night about 3 a.m. we got to talking, he sells Russian hats down at battery park, forty bucks.
Elaine: Forty bucks? Are they Sable?
Jerry: No, but the difference is un-noticable.
Kramer: Oh yea, I like this idea.

Another mentioned by never seen character on the series was Kramer's friend Lomez, an Orthodox Jew. He organizes the Jewish singles night which Kramer attended. Lomez also trade some steaks for stereo speakers and he sold Kramer his hot tub.

VERN (Unseen Neighbor) - The long-suffering next-door neighbor of Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) in commercials produced by the Carden-Cherry advertising agency during the 1980s. Vern was never seen or heard only spoken to by the TV pitchman Ernest P. Worrell whose broad teasing grin, rubbery face and large ears protruding from beneath his trademark baseball cap would pop into Vern's home unannounced, usually when Vern was eating breakfast or taking a bath with his rubber ducky. The commercial's format was simple. Ernest sang the praises of the sponsors products and good ol' Vern just listened. Ernest speaking with a southern drawl began his sales pitch by saying "Hey, Vern!" and ended the 30 seconds spots with his imbecilic "Know whut I Mean?" Vern & Ernest were the stars of more than 2000 regional commercials which were made for about $7,000-10,000 each. The characters were created by ad man John Cherry. See also  ADVERTISING MASCOTS: "Ernest P. Worrell"

STANLEY WALKER (Unseen Husband) - On the sitcom WILL AND GRACE/NBC/1998-2006, Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) a wealthy socialite with a drinking problem often mentioned her husband Stanley Walker. Stanley, of course, was the source of all her money and she would often gossip that she had to have sex with her overweight husband to get jewelry and other nice things. The act of sex with Stanley was apparently not very much fun for Karen but she continued to do him because she liked living large. However, when Stanley died, Karen was heartbroken. It was only then that Karen looked beyond the money and realized she had truly loved Stanley. She missed Stanley so much that Karen started looking for a new lover at www.whalewatcher.com (a dating service for fat people).

[Karen answers phone]
Karen:

Grace Adler Designs. Oh, hi, Stanley! No, I'm not doing anything. Sure, ok, you wanna start now? Ok. Yeah, I'm naked. Mmmhh, uhuh, hmm, mm. Oh, already? Well, good for you!

  (she takes a look at her watch)
Karen:

Great! Ok, sweetie, well, call me later! OK! (she hangs up the phone)

 

[At Stanley's Funeral]

Will: Stanley Walker was a great man.
Grace: A nice man.
Jack: A FAT man.
Will: He was a decent man.
Grace:  A kind man.
Jack: A surprisingly good dancer.


 

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