29 July 2000 | Nozz
Thorne Smith wrote a lot of racily humorous books, most of them justly forgotten, but now and then he hit on a worthwhile theme. The Topper books were about how after a short and frivolously wasted life, a young couple returns from the dead to implore a Thurberesque little man to live life to the fullest. Because it's a terribly serious situation that applies to us all, it's a wonderful basis for humor. Oh, and because the young female is safely dead, she can indulge in racier behavior than was often seen on 1950s television.
The TV remake with Jack Warden was less successful, largely because its Topper was at the pinnacle of the business world and thus less obviously in need of any ectoplasmic helpers.