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Off-Screen Narrators

BATMAN/ABC/1966-68 (Batman Narrator) - Each episode of the fantasy adventure BATMAN was narrated by William Dozier, the program's executive producer. With a questioning and menacing tone, the narrator would follow the storyline and drop corny ad libs along the way. The show ended with the classic signature closing invoking the viewers to tune in "Same time...Same Bat Channel!"

THE BROTHERS GARCIA/NIK/2000-02 (Larry Garcia) - Colombian born comic John Leguizamo narrates the program as the never seen but now grown up Larry Garcia (ala an Hispanic Wonder Years). Larry Garcia (Alvin Alvarez) is an imaginative 11-year-old loner who lives with his Mexican-American family in San Antonio, Texas.

CRIME & PUNISHMENT/NBC/1993 (The Interrogator) - James Sloyan provided the voice of the unseen "Interrogator" who interrupted characters (victims. criminals. police) in mid-action to ask them questions on this short-lived six episode police drama.

FACE TO FACE/NBC/1946-47 (Voices behind the scene) - This art quiz program featured an artist (Bill Dunn) who drew pictures of unseen persons guided by clues he received from conversations heard from behind curtains or over a telephone. .When completed, the sketch was shown to the studio audience. Eddie Dunn was the interviewer/host of the series.

FARAWAY HILL/DUM/1946 (Voice off screen) - The first network television soap FARAWAY HILL about a wealthy widow, Flora Campbell (Karen St. John) who retired to the country to escape the pressures of everyday living, featured an unseen female narrator who guided the viewer through the program events with her off-camera comments. This was a technique carried over from radio where the narrator helped summarize and question events in the plot.

TRIVIA NOTE: THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW/CBS/1967-78 did a satirical take-off of soap operas called AS THE STOMACH TURNS set in the fictional town of Canoga Falls where Carol played the town bitch. At the end of each sketch an off-camera voice (Lyle Waggoner) would speculate on the outcome of the characters actions by asking questions that began with "Will...? and followed by "Tune in next time for another episode of "As The Stomach Turns."

THE INNER SANCTUM/SYN/1954 (Mr. Raymond) - This TV spin-off of the spooky radio program "The Inner Sanctum" featured the unseen announcer Mr. Raymond (voice of Paul McGrath) who narrated mystery tales amidst the trademark sound of a creaky door.

SING IT AGAIN/CBS/1950-51 (The Phantom Voice) - Before NAME THAT TUNE there was SING IT AGAIN, a musical quiz program where contestants from the studio audience tried to identify songs from only a few notes. The home audience segment featured "The Phantom Voice." The host Dan Seymour (1950-51) & Jan Murray (1951) placed four telephone calls during the program telecast. If the home viewer could identify a famous celebrity's voice, they were awarded a fifty dollar savings bond, and on occasion a possible jackpot of $15,000 was offered.

THE WALTONS/CBS/1972-81 (John Boy Walton) - This rural family drama set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Jefferson County, Virginia during the Depression was based on the childhood reminiscences of the series' creator, Earl Hamner, Jr. who though not seen would narrate the opening and closings of each show. His voice was supposed to be John Boy Walton as an older man who was recalling stories about his family when they lived atop Walton Mountain in the 1930-40s. Richard Thomas played the part of the younger John Boy, an aspiring writer who chronicled all the family's events.

THE WHISTLER/SYN/1954-55 (The Whistler) - This suspense anthology about people in crisis was hosted by an unseen narrator known only as "The Whistler," whose signature was a distinctive musical whistle (whistled by Dorothy Roberts). Bill Forman provided the voice of this mysterious faceless stranger who began each program with the following introduction "I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terror of which they dare not speak" The series was based on the 1942 radio program of the same name. The WHISTLER theme was composed by Wilbur Hatch.

THE WONDER YEARS/ABC/1988-93 (Kevin Arnold) - Set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the WONDER YEARS told the adventures of a 12-year-old Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) who struggled with his emerging adolescence; his bully older brother, Wayne (Jason Hervey); his seemingly stern father, Jack (Dan Lauria); and his continuing romance with Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper (Danica McKellar), a beautiful young girl next door. Actor Daniel Stern, provided the adult off-screen voice of Kevin Arnold who nostalgically related his youthful days at Hillcrest Grammar School and later Robert F. Kennedy Junior High. Daniel Stern later parodied his voice-over narration on the sitcom THE SIMPSONS when a grownup Bart reminisced about his childhood.

THE WONDERFUL JOHN ACTON/NBC/1953 (John Acton) - Set in Ludlow, Kentucky, this rural family drama told the stories of the Acton's, an Irish family living along the Ohio Valley in the year 1919. The series was narrated by Luis Van Rooten as the unseen grandfather Kevin Acton who reminisced about his childhood growing up in a small American town. Ronnie Walken played Kevin as a young man.


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