My Topper Time Fun!

DATELINE: Ghostly Trifecta?

Topper & His Ghosts Leo G. Carroll as Topper with Ghosts

Who said dead people don’t have fun?

If I have learned anything by my experiences at Mill Circle, I now know that my haunting spirits have a strange sense of timing and a stranger sense of humor.

One morning at 5:30 a.m., I had a trifecta of paranormal incidents. It seems they were going to drag me into the library at dawn, no matter how much I resisted.

I had on the previous afternoon replaced the batteries in the smoke detector on the ceiling in the library. One might think nothing more of that for months—however, that was not the case.

At 3am the security camera came on, alerting me on the phone. I looked in a semi-groggy state to see nothing much in the grainy black and white video, but I did hear the smoke alarm beeping. Yes, the battery was drained within 12 hours.

It continued to beep every thirty seconds or so, but I could not hear it on my other side of the house.

But, at 5:30 a.m., I decided it was light enough in there for me to venture—and take down the smoke detector and its irritating beeper.

When I reached up to remove the ceiling unit, the Titanic shelf next to me had a reaction. Two items came flying off:  first fell a four DVD documentary series about Titanic, and then came the postcard in 3D of the Munch painting, “The Silent Scream”.

My blow-up Scream doll is across the room, hanging from another model ship where a spirit set it—and I had placed a postcard of the image of the Screamer on the deck of the 3-D puzzle model of the benighted ship.

Eventually, I expected the little postcard would come down, jumping off the ship like its counterpart doll.

As I reached up to remove the smoke detector, the postcard had its moment in conjunction with the DVD. Both jumped off the bookcase.

I bent down to pick them up and replace them on their perches. As I did so, from high up came a shooting orb, past my backside and under the table with the chessboard.

I did not see it until later when I viewed the security camera footage.

Yes, it was the trifecta all right:  batteries drained, objects falling off the shelf, and then an orb shooting past.

If you want a sense of humor from my ghostly residents, this example likely comes closest. It certainly made me feel like Cosmo Topper and his household of ghosts, George and Marian Kirby.

Indeed, the complete DVD set of Topper TV series was on the bookcase where the orb flew by.  Yes, it’s all caught on tape.

Don’t ever let it be said that ghosts don’t want to have fun.

 

 

 

Tip-Toppie Topper

 DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

Topper

We jumped into our Hot Tub Time Machine and transported ourselves back to 1937 to put on a mindset to watch the classic ghost movie, Topper.

Thorne Smith’s novel has actually been compared to The Great Gatsby because the 1920s glamour couple (Cary Grant, Constance Bennett) seems to have stepped out of a Long Island party as the notorious George and Marian Kerby. They also seem ill-fated drivers. The original plan was to have W.C. Fields and Jean Harlow play the fun-loving Kerbys. What a movie that would have been!!!

Alas, the young couple is overplayed as self-indulgent, willful and spoiled rich folk by Grant and Bennett. They are neither witty, nor particularly likeable. If you expected this to be a set-up to how they act after they are turned into car crash dead people, you will not see Dead People.

Actor Roland Young is a surprisingly nimble and youthful old banker, adept at physical comedy, playing benighted Cosmo Topper. The Kerbys have their money at his bank and seem to bedevil him in life and want to be guardian angels in death.

Their amazing white Buick roadster (we presume it is white in a black and white world) actually crashes three times into the same spot during the movie, qualifying as a death car. Were the ghosts trying to transport old Toppie to the next plane?

Compared to the fancy special effects you’d encounter today in a residual haunt, the Kerbys are saving “ectoplasm,” as Marian reveals. However, they appear alive and kicking in many scenes.

Billie Burke is perfect as Topper’s wife with her confidante butler, Alan Mowbry.

The movie spawned a sequel, but neither Constance Bennett, nor Cary Grant, were around for that one. They said their goodbyes and went on to better scripts.

This film too often feels like dead weight to be a light-hearted comedy. Yet, by today’s standards, it is worth 90 minutes of your time.