While on our Yarn Tour, Colleen and I had an interesting conversation about unseen characters on popular TV shows. We think it started with Carlton the Doorman on “Rhoda”.
Others we came up with were Maris, from “Frasier”, Norm’s wife Vera on “Cheers”, Howard’s mother on “Big Bang Theory”, and all the folks back home on “M*A*S*H”. These were well-drawn characters, we felt familiar with them and could anticipate their reactions. Maris, in my opinion, may have been the greatest of them all. I could picture Maris in great detail, and it was easy to understand Niles’s love/hate relationship with her.
It also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars on actors, very likely, although both Carlton and Howard’s mother do have voices. I know Carlton (Lorenzo Music) went on to voice Garfield the Cat, of all things!
I rarely enjoy seeing the movie if I have read the book. I find that the visual version then becomes the version of the character that is stuck in my mind, regardless of how I interepreted the character upon reading. That’s one of the great joys of the unseen character, as far as I’m concerned. I know what Radar’s mom looks like. Please don’t tell me otherwise.