The ‘Topper’ series – three classic Hal Roach comedies about a man haunted by wacky ghosts – were adapted for the screen from the semi-risqué 1926 Thorne Smith novel, The Jovial Ghosts. Hal Roach had a very long and storied career producing comedy shorts, most notably the Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang series, but he wanted to expand into long-form films. In 1937 Roach successfully made the leap with Topper, recognized by the AFI as one of the top 100 funniest movies in American Cinema! These three classics are now available, with digitally restored picture and sound, in this special collection. As a bonus, the ‘colorized’ are also included!
Cosmo Topper, shy, stuffed-shirt banker, finds his humdrum, stuck-in-a-rut life turned topsy-turvy when his path crosses that of two very fun-loving ghosts, George and Marian Kirby. The wacky ghosts, killed in an automobile accident, are earth-bound until they perform a good deed. They’ve decided on Topper as the object of their assistance, setting out to bring some excitement and zip into his life. The result is bedlam, a near-end to Topper’s marriage and utter hilarity for the viewer. Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the mad-cap Kirby’s, while Roland Young created a masterful characterization as the bewildered and haunted Topper, a role he would repeat in two more films. Look for Hedda Hopper and Hoagy Carmichael among the players in this classic comedy-fantasy spiced with the special Hal Roach touch.
97 mins. | B&W | 1936 | Comedy/Fantasy
TOPPER TAKES A TRIP
That attractive screwball ghost from the first ‘Topper’ comedy returns into his life so she can join her husband ‘up there’ by helping the meek banker. Her efforts bring bedlam and laughs.
84 mins. | B&W | 1938 | Comedy/Fantasy
Thorne Smith’s famous character turns amateur detective as the ghost of a beautiful, murdered girl (played by Joan Blondell) enlists him to try and find her killer in an eerie old house, filled with trap doors, secret passages and plenty of eccentric characters.
90 mins. | B&W | 1940 | Comedy/Fantasy