Sunday, October 4, 2015

Creepy TV: Topper (1953)

It is one of the first fantasy-coms, a sub-genre that didn't really take off until a decade after it ended, but you'd think there'd be more interest in Topper this time of year.

A reboot of the movie of the same name, Topper tells the tale of Cosmo Topper (Leo G. Carroll), who has bought the house once owned by the late George & Marion Kerby (Robert Sterling & Anne Jeffreys). In the movie, the Kerbys' ghosts came into play when Topper bought George's car.

Topper lasted two seasons, and spent some time in syndication in the 70's. I recall seeing reruns on WOR in New York, usually as filler if a Mets game or a movie ended early. I used to believe this came from Screen Gems, which would be one of the leaders in fantasy-coms, producing a slew of them in the 60's and 70's. However, the series and the movie both came from Hal Roach's studio. Go figure.

Internet Archive serves up a sample episode, "George's Old Flame":

13 years later, 20th Century Fox adapted one of their films into a sitcom that also lasted two seasons. Chances are, though, that despite Topper being remade as a TV-movie in the 70's with Kate Jackson, most folks might remember The Ghost & Mrs. Muir more.

Rating: B-.

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