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32 Days of Halloween III, Day 8: Topper

Cary Grant and Constance Bennett in Topper

So looking back to last year for inspiration, we had covered the trailer for Arsenic and Old Lace. And the obvious path to try to take is Cary Grant…but Cary Grant wouldn’t have done something else along those…whoa-ho-ho, not so fast! Of course! Topper!

Direct link for the feedreaders.

That’s right, Cary plays a ghost who, along with equally ghostly bride (played by Constance Bennett) decides to work on a stick in the mud, the titular character played by Roland Young.

They returned the next year with Topper Takes a Trip…or at least, everybody but Grant.
Update: Alas, that trailer’s been taken down…if anyone finds it again, let me know.

And then Topper returned in Topper Returns but without either Grant or Bennett but instead a new ghost.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

And then in the 50s, there was a Topper TV series. Here’s a snippet of that:

Direct link for the feedreaders.

There was a 1973 TV movie called Topper Returns which sounds terrifying: “Cosmo Topper is bedeviled by two ghosts whom only he can see and hear. This pilot updated the 1944 film premise in that the ghosts died forty years earlier and haven’t adjusted to the hip 1970s.” And Cosmo Topper Jr. was played by Roddy McDowall with Stefanie Powers as Mrs. Kirby.

There was also a 1979 TV remake of the first film, with Kate Jackson and Andrew Stevens as the Kirbys and Jack Warden and Rue McClanahan as the Toppers.

Neither of those two latter versions I was able to find online. Which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. And, of course, there’s a remake in development with Adam Shankman (Hairspray) set to direct and apparently Steve Martin is attached. Yeah, I can’t get excited about it either. Go figure.

What I would like to know more about is the radio version that appeared in the mid-40s. Young reprised the role then, but I can’t find much else in the way of info about it.


  • TBS from Atlanta ran the Topper series from the 50’s when I was a kid in the 70’s and I fell in love with it.I havent seen the Roddy McDowell version but the Kate Jackson/Andrew Stevens version was fairly decent, if I can remember correctly.I can’t get to excited by the remake either but I am happy that it’s not another remake of an 80’s horror movie.It’s nice that if they’re going to do a remake, at least they’re remaking something that today’s kids probably have no knowledge of whatsoever.It would be nicer if the powers that be would consider making some of Thorne Smith’s other novels.