The Topper TV show was a 30 minute fantasy / comedy series on CBS about a bank vice-president named Cosmo Topper who, soon after moving into his new home, discovered that the previous occupants who died in a skiing accident are still "living" there as ghosts! To make matters even worse, only Topper can see them and they constantly interfere in his life.
Leo G. Carroll .... Cosmo Topper
Anne Jeffreys .... Marion Kerby
Robert Sterling .... George Kerby
Lee Patrick .... Henrietta Topper
Thurston Hall .... Mr. Schuyler
Kathleen Freeman .... Katie (1953-1954)
Edna Skinner .... Maggie (1954-55)
Buck .... Neil (the Kerby's St. Bernard)
This TV series was based on a 1926 Novel by Thorne Smith that was also titled, "Topper". There was also a 1937 theatrical movie titled Topper that starred Cary Grant as one of the ghosts and a 1979 TV movie starring Kate Jackson ("Charlie's Angels"), Jack Warden ("Crazy Like a Fox") and Rue McClanahan ("The Golden Girls").
One of the most interesting aspects of Topper is that Cosmo Topper was always on edge and grumpy about pretty much everything while his ghosts were likeable and carefree in their view of "life". Whenever they tried to loosen him up it just annoyed him!
When Topper's ghosts, George and Marion Kerby, had their fatal skiing accident, their St. Bernard Neil tried to save them but ended out dying himself in the attempt. Neil unfortunately was a brandy guzzling alcoholic dog but that definitely added to the comedy of the series.
It's interesting that some later fantasy/comedy series including "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie" used perhaps the most successful aspect of Topper. All three shows had situations where a main character knew of something that had to be hidden from others or the main character might be locked up in a mental hospital. Topper saw ghosts. Darrin Stephens had a witch for a wife and Major Nelson co-habitated with a Genie!
The Topper TV show was nominated for a "Best Situation Comedy" Emmy in 1954 but it lost to the invincible, "I Love Lucy".
Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling must have had a wonderful time while appearing as the ghostly couple on Topper! You see, they were husband and wife both onscreen and offscreen and had been married just three years. Both of their careers had been floundering just a couple of years earlier and now they were extremely popular characters on a hit TV show! While both of them continued with successful careers after Topper ended, their one more attempt to work together as regular love interest characters on the 1958 series, "Love That Jill" only lasted 13 episodes. They did, however, work together again as guest stars on episodes of other TV series including "Hotel" and "Murder She Wrote".
Leo G. Carroll is also well rememembered as the director of U.N.C.L.E. on the series, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.".
This CBS series was so popular that both ABC and NBC ran reruns on their networks for two years after it ended and episodes could often be found on various channels in syndication into at least the 1970s!
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