Topper TV Series

Topper TV Series

Topper (1953-1955)

The Adventures of Topper

Who is Cosmo Topper? Thorne Smith’s lively characters enjoyed an international audience through a trio of popular Topper movies. They gained new fame when CBS Television produced the episodic Topper TV series in 1953. Veteran character actor Leo G. Carroll was cast as the haunted banker, Cosmo Topper.

Topper TV Series

George and Marion Kerby were played with flair by real-life husband and wife team Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys. The pair met during an extended run (887 performances) of “Kiss Me Kate” on Broadway and married in 1951.

When not busy raising three sons, the singing couple toured the country with a highly successful club act. This led to them being cast as the mischievous ghosts made famous on film by Constance Bennett and Cary Grant. Viewers loved them!

Rounding out the cast were Lee Patrick as Cosmo’s ever-bubbly wife, Henrietta, and dependable character actress Kathleen Freeman as Katie, the maid. The Kerby’s martini-loving St. Bernard, Neil, frequently stole the show.

TV Classics: The Adventures of Topper

A Collection of the Funniest Episodes from the Topper TV Series

Topper TV SeriesTV Classics: The Adventures of Topper

Topper TV Series

Starring Leo G. Carroll as Cosmo Topper

Topper TV Series

Topper was a 1950s television series based on characters created by American author Thorne Smith. Three popular films were earlier produced by Hal Roach Studios—Topper in 1937, Topper Takes a Trip in 1938, and Topper Returns in 1941.

In the supernatural sitcom, Cosmo Topper (Leo G. Carroll) is vice-president of a bank. Cosmo and his wife Henrietta (Lee Patrick) live in a house that is haunted by two of the bank’s former clients, George and Marion Kerby (Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys).

So how did the Kerby’s become ghosts? The couple died tragically in an avalanche, along with their martini-loving St. Bernard, Neil, who also appears as a ghost. Only Cosmo Topper is able to see and hear them. Topper aired on CBS and was sponsored by Camel Cigarettes. Indeed, the leading characters were required to smoke Camel cigarettes during filming of the show.

Anne Jeffreys

Starring as Marion Kerby

Topper TV SeriesAnne Jeffreys Signed Press Photo

Topper TV Series Cast

Anne Jeffreys … Marion Kerby
Robert Sterling … George Kerby
Leo G. Carroll … Cosmo Topper
Lee Patrick … Henrietta Topper
Kathleen Freeman … Katie the Maid
Buck … Neil (the St. Bernard)

Topper TV Series

Ectoplasm Rules!
Topper special ghost effects, which are quaint by modern standards, were state of the art in the 1950s. They were created by Film Effects of Hollywood.

Topper TV SeriesTopper Photo with Robert Sterling, Leo G. Carroll, Anne Jeffreys

Topper TV Series Facts & Trivia

CBS Television

  • Release Date: October 9, 1953 (USA)
  • Genres: Fantasy – Comedy
  • Emmy Nomination for Best Situation Comedy (1954)
  • The show ran for two seasons, during which time 78 episodes were produced.
  • Award winning composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim wrote 9 episodes.
  • Film Effects of Hollywood created the special ghost effects.
  • Leo G. Carroll appeared in more Alfred Hitchcock films (Rebecca, Suspicion, Spellbound, The Paradine Case, Strangers on a Train, and North By Northwest) than any other actor except Hitchcock himself.
  • Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys were married in real life.

Happy Hollywood Couple

Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys were married in 1951 and had three sons. In addition to the Topper TV series, the duo starred in the short-lived television comedy called Love That Jill. They remained together until Robert Sterling’s death in 2006 at age 88.

Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling

Topper TV SeriesDearest Enemy (Rodgers and Hart)

Original Vintage Camel Cigarettes Magazine Advertisement

Anne Jeffreys
How MILD can a cigarette be? My cigarette must be mild. I smoke CAMELS. They agree with my throat and they taste grand!

My, how times change. Where else can you watch television shows featuring Camel cigarette ads? The producers were especially proud of the fact they were providing free smokes to our enlisted men and women overseas.

Topper TV Series1951 Anne Jeffreys Camel Cigarette Print Ad

Topper TV Series

Topper (1953-1955)

Who is Thorne Smith?

Topper TV SeriesAuthor and Creator of Topper
Many years ago, a friend mentioned to author Michael Walker that his writing style was reminiscent of Thorne Smith. Upon learning that Walker was unfamiliar with the author, the friend loaned him his personal dog-eared copy of Topper.

Eventually Michael Walker became an expert on Thorne Smith. He wrote Host To Said Ghosts: The Thorne Smith Story and created, a website devoted to the largely forgotten Depression-era writer.

Learn more about accomplished author Thorne Smith, the man who inspired such supernatural television favorites as Mister Ed, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie.

Thorne Smith Kindle Editions

Thanks to digital publishing, Thorne Smith’s ribald adventures are enjoying popularity once again.

Topper TV SeriesThe Passionate Witch (Kindle Edition)Topper TV SeriesTopper TV SeriesSkin and Bones (Kindle Edition)Topper TV Series

Topper TV SeriesThe Bishop’s Jaegers (Kindle Edition)Topper TV SeriesDid She Fall? (Kindle Edition)Topper TV Series

Celebrate Halloween

Get Ready for a Ribald Adventure with Thorne Smith’s Topper

Topper TV Series

Halloween Fun Shopping