One of the best ways you can end either a show or a series is to have all the characters all come together in such a way that summarizes the entire show. The order in which they appear is generally minor or tertiary characters first, then characters that were more important take their bows, and the progression repeats until the major characters take their bow.
This procedure originated as common theatre courtesy from the cast, so that the audience may show their appreciation for the cast, and the cast to the audience for taking their time to watch them. This practice later migrated to other forms of media, with live-action TV series and films (being evolutions of the theatre medium) being the most common. Animated media and video games can also do it, but this is less common.
See also Credits Medley
, another way of summing up a show with elements throughout. In fact, they're commonly played during Curtain Calls. Everyone Comes Back Fantasy Party Ending
is a subtrope.
Anime and Manga
- This happens at the end of the music video for Madonna's "Like a Prayer". Significant in that you don't realize until this point that the tense (and controversial!) video was all just a play, and the curtain call can actually serve as Nightmare Retardant.
- An infamous moment in the history of Professional Wrestling: The Kliq (some of whom were heels and some faces) broke kayfabe on Nash & Hall's final night in the WWF, celebrating in the ring and taking bows in front of the audience at Madison Square Garden. It's actually called "the curtain call" in pro wrestling history.
- Nearly every single theatre show, as mentioned above, as it's common courtesy for a theatre troupe to do this so as to allow the audience to applause and for the cast to show their appreciation.
- The Shakespearean romantic comedy "As You Like It" incorporates this as part of the story, where all good characters make an appearance for their marriage and subsequent end of the play.
- While most theatrical productions have this, occasionally the director will decide to skip it for emphasis. The first Broadway production of 1776 had no curtain call. The 2006 Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera also nixed the curtain call.
- EarthBound and MOTHER 3 both have curtain calls played out in cast rolls when the game ends and before the credits.
- Final Fantasy VI has a Curtain Call that plays as the characters escape Kefka's Tower in which a vintage-style photo screen names each of the characters as well as objects symbolizing them then the screen shows each of the characters doing their part in the teamwork needed to escape.
- The second Mario Party game ended with the playable characters (and Bowser) coming on stage to wave to the players.
- The final scene of Odin Sphere, literally called Curtain Call.
- During the credits of both Persona3 and Persona4, silhouettes of all playable characters are shown together with their Persona.
- DynamiteHeaddy, being set as a puppet show/stage play, has a sequence where all the enemies and characters in the game come out with their names displayed near them before the credits.
- Justice League Unlimited ended on a Curtain Call combined with And the Adventure Continues in its Grand Finale with all the members of the Justice League running/flying down from the steps of Metro Tower in order of importance. In a note of Book Ends for the whole DCAU franchise, Batman is the very last hero seen on screen; he was the very first hero of the DCAU.
- At the end of Turner Feature Animation's Cats Don't Dance, studio mogul L.B. Mammoth commands the photographers, "Get a picture, boys. These kids are going to be big." All the significant animal characters from Farley Wink's Animal Agency are in the shot. Missing, of course, are the villainous Darla Dimple and her lackey, Max.
- Luanne's wedding on King of the Hill, when everyone, even the most obscure characters, showed up.