Errol Flynn Mailbag! George Oppenheimer

13 Aug

From Karl Holmberg:

The BRILLIANT comedy writer for the 50’s TV show Topper… had a Flynn tie-in:

George Oppenheimer had a prolific career as a critic, playwright, screenwriter and publisher. A graduate of Williams College, he was first engaged as an advertising publications manager by Alfred A. Knopf, before venturing into the publishing business as co-founder of Viking Press (with Harold Guinzburg) in 1925. Eight years later, Oppenheimer moved to Hollywood, contracted by the writing team of George S. Kaufmanand Robert E. Sherwood to complete the screenplay of Samuel Goldwyn’s spoof comedy Roman Scandals (1933). Kaufman and Sherwood had concocted the original story, but decided to leave the project because of star Eddie Cantor’s continued micro-management of their script. For the remainder of the decade, Oppenheimer worked at MGM, where he was often employed as a script doctor, ironing out incongruities and improving the work of his fellow writers. He had a hand in several major box-office hits, including Libeled Lady(1936), A Day at the Races (1937) and A Yank at Oxford (1938).

After wartime service with South-East Asia Command (First Motion Picture Unit) in India as writer, producer and director of training films and documentaries, Oppenheimer resumed his work in Hollywood, co-writing Adventures of Don Juan (1948) and scripting twenty-five episodes of the popular comedy series Topper (1953). In 1955, he forsook the screen for a position as drama critic for Newsday, based in New York. From 1970 to 1972, he held a position as president of the New York Drama Critics Circle.

Thanks, Karl!


— David DeWitt


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    August 13, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you for that great info, Karl! I had no idea about any of that. Oppenheimer was clearly a top shelf talent.

    My only recollection of him was when I would occasionally see his name cited in movie publicity blurbs and reviews back many years. I had no idea he was a screenwriter.

    P.S. That’s a great Gershwin-esque photo of him. I always liked the very cool Viking Press logo, too.