My spouse got hold of a set of 100 more-or-less mystery movies from the 1930s and 1940s. One of them was called Topper Returns
. It was hilariously funny. Then I had a vague recollection that the Topper
TV show that ran back during the Eisenhower administration was amusing as well. But who can really remember much from the days when Republicans still believed in facts and thought there was some merit in having a competently run government, you know, simple stuff like paved roads, functioning sewers, and decent public schools? Whatever, I figured I'd look up the origin of such nonsense, and this was it.
Mostly, this book is merely entitled Topper
, but some editions are called the The Jovial Ghosts: The Misadventures of Topper
. That was the title of the edition I read. It was a decent enough book and mildly amusing, but not deathless literature.
Anyway, Cosmo Topper is a drudge who works in a bank and lives a very ordered and boring life with a cat, whom he adores, and a neurotic spouse, who is dull and boring and who basically manipulates Topper via her "indigestion". In a very mild bit of defiance, Topper decides to buy a flashy car and learn to drive. The car was once owned by a fun-loving pair named George and Marion Kerby. But one day, they had a fatal meeting with a tree that had been inappropriately placed just past the end of a bridge.
Shortly after passing his driving test, Topper goes for a jaunt, crosses the bridge, passes the tree, and next thing you know, he's hearing voices, finding the car difficult to control, and so forth. It turns out, that George and Marion, living as ghosts on a low plane
, have joined him in the car. Over time they have many silly adventures, most of which involve rather a lot of drinking.
Mostly this is frivolous humor, but with occasional sage observations on the human condition. It's just the thing to read, if one needs a break from more meaty literature for a bit. Not that I've indulged in much meaty