Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

December 2016

A lot of unusual things have been happening; you maybe noticed. The Cubs won the World Series and the Patriots lost two home games. Sandwiched between them there was a presidential election.

If you are keeping score, unexpected won 3-zip over the Vegas spread.

I haven’t quite figured how best to cope with all these surprises but I am tinkering with a mental exercise I am naming “Cosmo Toppering.”

For those who might not recall the details of the 1953-55 half-hour situation comedy sponsored by Camel cigarettes, here’s the quick backgrounder.

Cosmo Topper was a bank executive in California who purchased a lovely home from the estate of a nice young couple who had tragically lost their lives along with a Saint Bernard dog who failed to rescue them from an avalanche in Switzerland. Cosmo found out that his new house was haunted by the ghosts of the previous owners as well as that of the big dog.

Standard story line, no? The hook that kept viewers tuning in every week for several seasons was that only Cosmo could see and hear the ghosts. His wife couldn’t, nor his neighbors nor frequent guests. Cosmo discovered the presence of the ghosts when the dog, Neil, began slurping the martini he, Cosmo, had painstakingly prepared for himself. Of course, he was upset. Question: by the presence of the dog in his den or the loss of some martini?

Sitting in his favorite wing-back leather chair, immaculately dressed in his smoking jacket (you knew that smoking jackets are worn to keep the tobacco smell off one’s street clothes, right?), Cosmo then heard the laughter and giggles from George (laughing) and Marion (giggling) Kerby as they stood in his full view, but unseen by his wife.

When Cosmo reacted with surprise to the dog and a loud “Who?” to the apparitions, Henrietta, the well-mannered Mrs. Topper, said, “Who who, dear?” Had Cosmo explained in detail what he was seeing and hearing, that would have been pretty much bingo-bango-bongo. But of course he never told anyone what he saw and/or heard from the Kerbys and Neil, the wonder dog.

So: That’s how I am dealing with the recent surprises. Like Cosmo Topper, I am just acting like nothing special happened. However, you have to have standards, so I am not smoking Camels. Every episode of Topper ended with George, Marion, and Cosmo lighting up a Camel. It was in the contract.