Topper (TV series)

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Topper
Topper TV series video cover.jpg
Cover of Alpha Video's DVD of the Topper TV series
Genre Fantasy sitcom
Written by Thorne Smith (original novel)
Robert Riley Crutcher
Stanley Davis
Donn Mullally
George Oppenheimer
Elon Packard
Norman Paul
Joel Rapp
Stephen Sondheim
Robert Thomsen
Directed by Richard L. Bare
Leslie Goodwins
James V. Kern
Lew Landers
Paul Landres
Leslie H. Martinson
Philip Rapp
Starring Leo G. Carroll
Lee Patrick
Robert Sterling
Anne Jeffreys
Theme music composer Roy Ingraham
Charles Koff
Edward Paul
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 78
Production
Producer(s) John W. Loveton
Bernard Schubert
Location(s) Hal Roach Studios, Culver City, Calif.
Cinematography Gert Andersen
Kenneth Peach
William P. Whitley
Editor(s) Nick DeMaggio
Chuck Gladden
Running time 24 minutes
Release
Original network CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 9, 1953 (1953-10-09) – July 15, 1955 (1955-07-15)

Topper was an American fantasy sitcom based on the 1937 film Topper, which was based on two novels Topper and Topper Takes a Trip by Thorne Smith. The series was broadcast on CBS from October 9, 1953 to July 15, 1955, and stars Leo G. Carroll in the title role. It finished at #24 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1954-1955 season.[1] Topper also earned an Emmy nomination for Best Situation Comedy in 1954.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

Sophisticated but stuffy Cosmo Topper (Carroll) is the vice president of City Bank, married to sweet (but rather clueless) Henrietta (Lee Patrick). They live in a Los Angeles house they bought from the estate of a young couple, George and Marion Kerby (real life husband and wife Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys), who died after being swept away by an avalanche. A St. Bernard, Neil, who attempted to rescue them also died with them. Topper discovers his new home is haunted by the former occupants as well as Neil. Strangely, he is the only one able to see or hear them. Neil, the St. Bernard, loves martinis and a running gag is the invisible dog lapping up the drink.

The Kerbys try to bring some excitement and joy into the life of stodgy and conservative Topper. The ghosts cause strange (but humorous) events to happen, which an embarrassed Cosmo has to try to explain to others baffled—and even frightened—by them.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Main cast in 1953.

Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim wrote eleven episodes for Topper's first season with George Oppenheimer. The show's producer was John W. Loveton, with his agent, Bernard L. Schubert, credited as co-producer.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's Camel cigarettes was the show's sponsor; the Kerbys were seen smoking in every episode, as required by Reynolds; the actors, along with Carroll, also appeared in integrated commercials promoting the product at the end of the show, as well as announcing where free cartons of Camels were being sent to various military bases and veterans hospitals each week. Both ABC and NBC aired repeats of these episodes (ABC in 1955 and NBC in 1956).

There were at least two forms of the opening announcement. In one, Anne Jeffries was introduced as "the loveliest ghost in town," Robert Sterling as "the liveliest ghost in town," and Neil the St. Bernard as "the deadliest ghost in town." The announcer then continued: "Three ghosts—and only three people in the world can see them: you, and I, and Cosmo Topper." In a later show opening, Anne Jeffreys was introduced as "the ghostess with the mostest"; Robert Sterling as "that most sporty spirit," and Leo G. Carroll as "host to said ghosts."

Episode list[edit]

Season 1: 1953–54[edit]

Ep Title Air date
1 1 "Topper Meets the Ghosts" TBA TBA October 9, 1953 (1953-10-09)
2 2 "The Movers" TBA TBA October 16, 1953 (1953-10-16)
3 3 "Hiring the Maid" TBA TBA October 23, 1953 (1953-10-23)
4 4 "The Hypnotist" TBA TBA October 30, 1953 (1953-10-30)
5 5 "Reducing" TBA TBA November 6, 1953 (1953-11-06)
6 6 "The Spinster" TBA TBA November 13, 1953 (1953-11-13)
7 7 "Bank Securities" TBA TBA November 20, 1953 (1953-11-20)
8 8 "The Kid" TBA TBA November 27, 1953 (1953-11-27)
9 9 "Burglar" TBA TBA December 4, 1953 (1953-12-04)
10 10 "Uncle Jonathan" TBA TBA December 11, 1953 (1953-12-11)
11 11 "The Car Story" TBA TBA December 18, 1953 (1953-12-18)
12 12 "Christmas Carol" TBA TBA December 25, 1953 (1953-12-25)
13 13 "Masquerade" TBA TBA January 1, 1954 (1954-01-01)
14 14 "Second Honeymoon" TBA TBA January 8, 1954 (1954-01-08)
15 15 "The Socialite" TBA TBA January 15, 1954 (1954-01-15)
16 16 "The Surprise Party" TBA TBA January 22, 1954 (1954-01-22)
17 17 "Decorating" TBA TBA January 29, 1954 (1954-01-29)
18 18 "Astrology" TBA TBA February 5, 1954 (1954-02-05)
19 19 "Trip to Lisbon" TBA TBA February 12, 1954 (1954-02-12)
20 20 "The Proposal" TBA TBA February 19, 1954 (1954-02-19)
21 21 "Katie's Nephew" TBA TBA February 26, 1954 (1954-02-26)
22 22 "College Reunion" TBA TBA March 5, 1954 (1954-03-05)
23 23 "Economy" TBA TBA March 12, 1954 (1954-03-12)
24 24 "The Diamond Ring" TBA TBA March 19, 1954 (1954-03-19)
25 25 "Topper Runs for Mayor" TBA TBA March 26, 1954 (1954-03-26)
26 26 "The Painting" TBA TBA April 2, 1954 (1954-04-02)
27 27 "Henrietta Sells the House" TBA TBA April 9, 1954 (1954-04-09)
28 28 "Legacy" TBA TBA April 16, 1954 (1954-04-16)
29 29 "Topper Goes to Las Vegas" TBA TBA April 23, 1954 (1954-04-23)
30 30 "Topper Goes West" TBA TBA April 30, 1954 (1954-04-30)
31 31 "Sweepstakes" TBA TBA May 7, 1954 (1954-05-07)
32 32 "The Package" TBA TBA May 14, 1954 (1954-05-14)
33 33 "Neil Disappears" TBA TBA May 21, 1954 (1954-05-21)
34 34 "The Picnic" TBA TBA May 28, 1954 (1954-05-28)
35 35 "The Wedding" TBA TBA June 4, 1954 (1954-06-04)
36 36 "Preparations for Europe" TBA TBA June 11, 1954 (1954-06-11)
37 37 "The Boat" TBA TBA June 18, 1954 (1954-06-18)
38 38 "Theatricals" TBA TBA June 25, 1954 (1954-06-25)
39 39 "George's Old Flame" TBA TBA July 2, 1954 (1954-07-02)

Season 2: 1954–55[edit]

Ep Title Air date
40 1 "Topper Tells All" TBA TBA October 8, 1954 (1954-10-08)
41 2 "Topper's Ransom" TBA TBA October 15, 1954 (1954-10-15)
42 3 "County Fair" TBA TBA October 22, 1954 (1954-10-22)
43 4 "The Seance" TBA TBA October 29, 1954 (1954-10-29)
44 5 "Topper Strikes Gold" TBA TBA November 5, 1954 (1954-11-05)
45 6 "The Chess Player" TBA TBA November 12, 1954 (1954-11-12)
46 7 "Topper Goes to Washington" TBA TBA November 19, 1954 (1954-11-19)
47 8 "Jury Duty" TBA TBA November 26, 1954 (1954-11-26)
48 9 "Topper Lives Again" TBA TBA December 3, 1954 (1954-12-03)
49 10 "The Army Game" TBA TBA December 10, 1954 (1954-12-10)
50 11 "Topper's Accident" TBA TBA December 17, 1954 (1954-12-17)
51 12 "Topper's Quiet Christmas" TBA TBA December 24, 1954 (1954-12-24)
52 13 "Topper's Happy New Year" TBA TBA December 31, 1954 (1954-12-31)
53 14 "Topper's Deception" TBA TBA January 7, 1955 (1955-01-07)
54 15 "Topper's Guest" TBA TBA January 14, 1955 (1955-01-14)
55 16 "Topper's Rejuvenation" TBA TBA January 21, 1955 (1955-01-21)
56 17 "Topper in Mexico" TBA TBA January 28, 1955 (1955-01-28)
57 18 "Topper Hits the Road" TBA TBA February 4, 1955 (1955-02-04)
58 19 "Topper at the Races" TBA TBA February 11, 1955 (1955-02-11)
59 20 "Topper's Racket" TBA TBA February 18, 1955 (1955-02-18)
60 21 "Topper's Amnesia" TBA TBA February 25, 1955 (1955-02-25)
61 22 "Topper's Arabian Night" TBA TBA March 4, 1955 (1955-03-04)
62 23 "The House Wreckers" TBA TBA March 11, 1955 (1955-03-11)
63 24 "Topper Makes a Movie" TBA TBA March 18, 1955 (1955-03-18)
64 25 "King Cosmo the First" TBA TBA March 23, 1955 (1955-03-23)
65 26 "Topper's Double Life" TBA TBA March 30, 1955 (1955-03-30)
66 27 "Topper Fights a Duel" TBA TBA April 8, 1955 (1955-04-08)
67 28 "Topper's Egyptian Deal" TBA TBA April 15, 1955 (1955-04-15)
68 29 "Topper's Uranium Pile" TBA TBA April 22, 1955 (1955-04-22)
69 30 "Topper's Spring Cleaning" TBA TBA April 29, 1955 (1955-04-29)
70 31 "Topper Goes to School" TBA TBA May 6, 1955 (1955-05-06)
71 32 "The Blood Brother" TBA TBA May 13, 1955 (1955-05-13)
72 33 "Topper's Highland Fling" TBA TBA May 20, 1955 (1955-05-20)
73 34 "Topper's Desert Island" TBA TBA May 27, 1955 (1955-05-27)
74 35 "The Neighbors" TBA TBA June 3, 1955 (1955-06-03)
75 36 "Topper's Counterfeiters" TBA TBA June 10, 1955 (1955-06-10)
76 37 "Topper's Insurance Scandal" TBA TBA June 17, 1955 (1955-06-17)
77 38 "Topper's Other Job" TBA TBA June 24, 1955 (1955-06-24)
78 39 "Topper's Vacation" TBA TBA July 15, 1955 (1955-07-15)

Syndication and DVD release[edit]

Topper would long be popular in syndication, with the Camel commercials and references removed, but with the characters still seen smoking.

While collections of those episodes that have passed into the public domain have been released, the series has yet to see a full DVD release.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TV Ratings: 1954-1955". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Topper". Television Academy. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 

External links[edit]