Dear Ken: I remember a TV series from the 1950s about a couple of ghosts that lived with a banker. I think there was also a ghost dog. My family tells me I am imagining things. Can you help?Well, sure. The show was titled “Topper” and ran from 1953 to 1956. Leo J. Carroll played banker Cosmo Topper, and only he could see the ghostly trio living in his house. Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling, who were wife and husband in real life, played the friendly human ghosts, Marion and George Kerby, and the phantom dog, a brandy-drinking St. Bernard named Neil, was played by two dogs, Cappy and Neal. The TV series was based on three “Topper” films that originated in 1937 with Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as the original pair of debonair ghosts.
Dear Ken: Who was the pop female vocalist who had a song called “Temma Harbour” back in the late 1960s? Is she still around?That was Mary Hopkin, who was born in Wales and was one of the first artists to record on the Beatles Apple Records label. She had a No. 1 hit in 1968 in the United Kingdom and the U.S. with “Those Were the Days.” The song was produced by Paul McCartney. Hopkin, 59, has released two albums in the past three years and performed a duet with Dolly Parton on Parton’s 2005 album “Those Were the Days.”
Dear Ken: I recently saw the movie “The Ultimate Gift,” which featured James Garner, Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether and Brian Dennehy, but I didn’t recognize the lead actor, a 20-something guy who played a selfish punk that learned how to value people. Who was that guy and what else has he done?That is Drew Fuller, 29, who starred in the TV series “Army Wives” and who co-stars as Buck Barrow in the film “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde,” which should be out this year. He also played Chris Halliwell in the TV series “Charmed.”
Dear Ken: How many movies did Fred MacMurray of TV’s “My Three Sons” make for Disney? Where was he from and how did he die?MacMurray made about 85 movies over a 50-year career that began in 1929. His Disney credits include “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Absent-Minded Professor,“ “Bon Voyage!,” “Son of Flubber,” “Follow Me, Boys,” “The Happiest Millionaire” and “Charley and the Angel.” Born in Kankakee, Ill., he grew up in Beaver Dam, Wisc. He died in in 1991 of pneumonia after battling leukemia. He was 83.
If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via www.sherlocksbooks.com where you can also find classic films and TV shows on DVD or visit Sherlock’s Book Emporium in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Ask Ken Beck
Journalist Ken Beck, a longtime resident of Wilson County, has recently become a contributing writer for Main Street Media and its local newspaper, "The Wilson Post."
Earlier this year Beck concluded a 31-year career with "The Tennessean" where he edited the Nashville paper’s “Sunday Showcase” entertainment magazine for 25 years. Besides interviewing stars of film and television, Beck wrote Tennessee travel and feature stories and a popular Q&A entertainment column.