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Watched the one with Johnny Cash and Ida Lupino last night. Fun, but it also contained a couple of protracted scenes that served no dramatic purpose whatsoever! The first was a way-too-long conversation with funeral director Vito Scotti (in which he tries to sell Columbo on pre-planning) that just marked time until the brother-in-law emerged from the mortuary; the second was a purposeless conversation with a seamstress about bolts of fabric. (Completely superfluous since Columbo then visits a parachute factory where he obtains information actually relevant to his theory.) Both scenes were very strange; the most generous interpretation you could make was that the writers (incorrectly) thought the scenes provided a needed fleshing out of the Columbo character, but a more neutral interpretation is that they were there to pad the episode to fit the time slot.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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I also watched Ida Lupino last night, but in the one with Roddy McDowell!  Good story, lots of scenes in a refinery and the mountains of California.  I love seeing the older stars in these episodes.  I remember the Johnny Cash episode well and also think the material scene was filler.  Still liked it :)  And am trying NOT to remember the song played several times during the episode... that thing was stuck in my head for days.... :(

Edited by stcroix
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...also think the material scene was filler.  Still liked it :)

 

The fillerific nature of that scene (and the funeral director scene, which was interminable in its attempt to amuse) made me realize something we take for granted in this age of premium cable and such. Which is that nowadays, programs are as long as they need to be. Got just enough good material for an hour and eighteen minutes? No problem. We'll fill out the half-hour with network promos or whatever. The show runners of Columbo, on the other hand, needed to fill 2 hours of network real estate (with an FCC-limited number of commercials), whether they had the material for it or not.

 

Edited to add: I just realized the incredibly meta (intentionally, brilliantly meta?) nature of the seamstress scene. In the context of the plot, the scene, unnecessary and superfluous as it was, was about lengths of fabric material and how much would be necessary to make a parachute. For the writers, the scene was also about lengths of material--material in its sense of "written matter"--and how much might be necessary to make the episode 2 hours.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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If it's OK to put up two posts in a row as long as the second one is about something different...I really liked the one with John Cassavetes as the conductor. Partly, because Cassavetes is just so darned magnetic, always radiating a busy, intelligent mind that you feel you must keep up with. Partly because Falk and Cassavetes work so well together in it, for obvious reasons. And partly because the writing was so excellent--not just the dialogue, but the plotting, the way Cassavetes is doing a whole bunch of stuff at the beginning that you can't figure out yet, but that you know is fiendishly clever, which compels you to stay engaged. 

 

This was one of those stories where you get nervous for the villain. You know he's bad, but he's just so charismatically attractive that part of you wants him to elude detection; when he realized after leaving the scene of the crime

that he left his boutonniere on the floor,

I got panicky for him! I love when that happens.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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I love that episode,too.  And yes I love how involved with the storyline John Cassavetes always seems to be. (Remembering him in Rosemary's Baby and can't imagine anyone else playing that part)  It was interesting to see Blythe Danner as a young woman and how she resembled her daughter, Gynneth Paltrow, so much! 

 

I know I've said this before, but I just love the locations where Columbo is filmed.  The house was magnificent and if I'm remembering correctly I believe the performance was at the Hollywood Bowl?  (I may be misremembering)  Felt sorry for the poor bird!  This was a good episode that kept me on the edge of my seat. 

Edited by stcroix
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The locations were almost always magnificent and interesting. What fascinates me too is the look at what was at that time cutting edge technology.

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I love the locations, too, but not always because of their magnificence. :) Certainly the rich-people houses and country clubs are fantastic--but I also get a kick out of the exteriors that take place in the seedier commercial districts of the then-less-developed parts of the Valley and suchlike. A time capsule. 

 

Last night we watched the Ruth Gordon episode. Definitely one of the better ones. So glad that we hardly watched these when they were on--lots of good televiewing in our future!

 

P.S. Clearly there's an overlap between Columbo fans and Mapp & Lucia fans.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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I have planned to watch the Ruth Gordon episode tonight!  How funny you mentioned that one, it's one of my very favorites.  She is just so real and quirky.  After thinking about what a great job John Cassavetes did on the Columbo where he's the conductor, I wanted to watch Rosemary's Baby again.  It is on Netflix and he was wonderful in it-- and also Ruth Gordon!  I have the book and it almost seems the parts were written with these two characters in mind.  That's one thing I love about Columbo-- the great actors who guest starred.  :) 

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I'm so happy to have learned about ME TV from reading this thread. I didn't even know we had that channel (Dish Satellite). I see Columbo airs on Sunday nights, so my timer's now set.

 

Tonight's episode:

 

Old Fashioned Murder

Joyce Van Patten, Celeste Holm (November 28, 1976)

 

Columbo probes a robbery and murder case that exposes family tensions and deadly hostilities.

 

 

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Oh, I love that one. Celeste Holm wields girly helplessness like a fireax.

 

Fun fact: the young woman who plays Janie is Elaine May's daughter.

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Finally got around to watching the Ruth Gordon episode.  Anyone want to private message me on their idea on why she didn't leave the keys where she found them?  (or at least put them down by the table leg where they hopefully wouldn't have been noticed)  Just a 'little loose end I'd like to clear up.  Nothing important you understand'  (Dead Weight)  :)

 

Oh, just one more thing  (I cant help myself!)  I didn't care for the casting of Mariette Hartley as the assistant/secretary.  I don't know why.  And she didn't seem the type to take up belly dancing. 

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It may be generational. There was a brief fad in the early seventies for people taking belly dancing the way they'd take pilates or yoga today.

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Finally got around to watching the Ruth Gordon episode.  Anyone want to private message me on their idea on why she didn't leave the keys where she found them?  (or at least put them down by the table leg where they hopefully wouldn't have been noticed)  Just a 'little loose end I'd like to clear up.  Nothing important you understand'  (Dead Weight)  :)

 

Oh, just one more thing  (I cant help myself!)  I didn't care for the casting of Mariette Hartley as the assistant/secretary.  I don't know why.  And she didn't seem the type to take up belly dancing. 

Thank You! The keys have always driven me crazy whenever I've watched the episode. No one else has ever mentioned it so I thought I must have missed some reason why she hid them. Obviously, he came back since he was found in the vault and people commonly just drop their keys here or there when they come into a room. Didn't she say she had given her maid and secretary the weekend off so no one was there to open vault or see the keys? Plus her lawyer(?) didn't even come all the way into the room.

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It's true the "logic" of the key-hiding made no sense--yet when I watched, I bought into it. The power of the closeup to create a sense of foreboding! I think what was going through my mind (what that closeup planted in my mind) was, "Oh no, it makes no sense that he'd leave his keys on the desk--no one takes his car keys out of his pocket and leaves them on a desk! This will be Ruth Gordon's undoing!" Yet, in fact, he really did just leave his car keys on the desk! Improbable as it was, that was the truth. (As I recall.) So she would have been better off leaving them there and sticking with that interpretation of events.

 

Come to think of it, in that scene where she almost dropped the keys in the ocean, I can't remember what her logic was to Columbo (if any) as to why she felt she had to dispose of them. He said, "Whoever has the keys is the murderer," and she replied, "Well, you're wrong, because I have the keys and I'm not the murderer." Then she talked about how she found them on her grounds by a sprinkler. But simply saying "I'm not the murderer" is not a very effective argument! If he had asked, "Well, then, why did you feel you needed to dispose of them in the ocean?," or even, "Why are you walking around with them in your coat pocket instead of calling the police when you found them?," I can't imagine what she would have replied.

 

I did enjoy Mariette Hartley, though. Her quiet intelligence and non-evil way of being evil were refreshing.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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I always wondered why Ruth Gordon didn't just take the keys with her when she left. Dispose of them at the airport or on the plane.

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I've watched this episode before so on this viewing I deliberately watched when she was attempting to drop them in the water and I  believe she thought Columbo hadn't noticed that she had the keys in her hand or she wouldn't have quickly replaced them in her pocket.  And true to his style, if he'd noticed the keys in her hand I think he'd have immediately said something like," Oh what have you got there-- the keys?" Putting her on the spot and also not allowing her to lose evidence. 

 

I also wondered why she just didn't simply leave them on the desk or even put them inside the little holly bush instead of out in the open on the ground beside it (and the sprinkler).  For the keys to be completely missing would have aroused suspicion that someone else must have been there to take them.  I guess as a crime writer she'd thought out every detail except the one unexpected one-- that he left his keys behind and not in his pocket like most men would have naturally done-- and panicked.  Her downfall!

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I guess as a crime writer she'd thought out every detail except the one unexpected one-- that he left his keys behind and not in his pocket like most men would have naturally done-- and panicked.  Her downfall!

 

I think this is what we must go with. I can live with that!

 

All "alternate hiding places" she could have come up with, including throwing the keys out the plane over the Grand Canyon, suffer from the same problem as the hiding place she picked, which is that they leave the police with a mystery as to how the victim could have driven his car back to the house without having car keys. A mystery that suggests homicide rather than accident. Which is the last thing she wants.

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Tonight's episode on ME TV (8:00 - 9:30 pm ET) :

 

The Bye-Bye Sky-High IQ Murder Case

Theodore Bikel, Samantha Eggar (May 22, 1977)

 

An accountant, embezzling to support his wife's lifestyle, murders his partner after the man discovers his crimes.

 

This episode is from Season 6, according to Wikipedia.

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Tonight's episode on ME TV (8:00 - 10:00 pm ET) :

 

Murder by the Book 

Martin Milner Jack Cassidy (September 15, 1971)

 

A blackmailer interferes with a mystery writer's plan to kill his former partner in a perfect crime.

 

Directed by Steven Spielberg

 

This episode is from Season 1, according to Wikipedia. It was the first episode in Season 1, but there were two pilot episodes prior to that.

 

Also, it was written by Stephen Bocho. 

 

I saw this episode not too long ago on Amazon Prime and it's not bad. There's some discussion of this episode towards the last half of Page 1 of this thread. @Milburn Stone posted some interesting observations, and @TudorQueen posted a good story from Richard Levinson's memoir.

Edited by LuckyBitch
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My tv said that was going to be episode last night but it wasn't. It may have been the other "first episode" where a psychiatrist kills his wife. It was two hours I think and pretty good although sorta slow. The villian was so controlled and calm it didn't give a ton of drama. Does anyone know when that episode fits in the timeline? The title sequence was really different too.

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IIRC, the episode you're referring to is one of the two 'pilot' films. I believe is is the second one and starred Gene Barry as the psychiatrist, whose mistress helps him pull of the crime. The first one, "Ransom for a Dead Man" starred Lee Grant. Both, I think, were terrific, but I guess the network wasn't sure, and therefore asked for the second 'pilot' to be sure. Funny, when you think about what a durable hit the series turned out to be.

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Yes, there must have been some confusion between the "Episode 1" that's one of the pilot episodes, and then the first episode of the first season. 
  
From Wikipedia

Pilot episodes

1  "Prescription: Murder"
Directed by Richard Irving
Written by Richard Levinson & William Link, Based on their Play
Length 98 minutes
Airdate February 20, 1968
 
Dr. Ray Fleming (Gene Barry), a psychiatrist, murders his wife (Nina Foch) and persuades his mistress Joan Hudson (Katherine Justice), who is an actress and one of his patients, to support his alibi by impersonating her.
 
2  "Ransom for a Dead Man"
Directed by Richard Irving
Teleplay: Dean Hargrove, Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
Length 98 minutes
Airdate March 1, 1971

Leslie Williams (Lee Grant), a brilliant lawyer and pilot, murders her husband Paul (Harlan Warde) to get his money, arranging the act to look as if he had been kidnapped and killed by his captors. Columbo and Leslie's step-daughter (Patricia Mattick), who hates her, successfully work together to get Leslie to implicate herself by revealing where she is keeping the money.
 

Season 1
Episode 3, Number in Season 1  "Murder by the Book"

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Written by Steven Bochco

Length 73 minutes

Airdate September 15, 1971

 

I recently saw those two pilot episodes again and they're both quite good. I loved the ending in the first pilot. And, I really enjoyed Lee Grant's performance in the second pilot episode.

Edited by LuckyBitch

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Saw the one tonight with Eddie Albert as the retired general and Suzanne Pleshette as the witness to the murder he commits. That was a weird one. Everything was on the surface, the impromptu murder was not well conceived or well covered up, and weirdest of all, solving the case required no special powers of deduction from Columbo whatsoever! Scenes dragged on in wide shots absent dramatic tension or meaning, the actors looking lost. And just for good measure, we got a big swastika behind Columbo for the last ten minutes for no particularly compelling reason!

 

Oh well, they can't all be gems.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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Saw the one tonight with Eddie Albert as the retired general and Suzanne Pleshette as the witness to the murder he commits. That was a weird one. Everything was on the surface, the impromptu murder was not well conceived or well covered up, and weirdest of all, solving the case required no special powers of deduction from Columbo whatsoever! Scenes dragged on in wide shots absent dramatic tension or meaning, the actors looking lost. And just for good measure, we got a big swastika behind Columbo for the last ten minutes for no particularly compelling reason!

 

Oh well, they can't all be gems.

 

What I did like in this was the relationship between Eddie Albert and Suzanne Pleshette.The iffy plot aside, I thought that was well done and that the actors did a good job selling that their characters were falling in love with each other.

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What I did like in this was the relationship between Eddie Albert and Suzanne Pleshette.The iffy plot aside, I thought that was well done and that the actors did a good job selling that their characters were falling in love with each other.

 

I agree insofar as I thought Pleshette did a very good job of playing a damaged neurotic who could fall under the sway of Albert. As for whether Albert actually fell in love with Pleshette, you and I saw two different Columbos--I never thought he was doing anything but manipulating her for his own protection. But now that I think about it, in the moment when the jig was up, his gestures toward her did express genuine tenderness, sorrow and repentance. So it's complicated. I don't think he ever loved her. But I do think he was human enough to feel regret for his manipulation of her weakness. And this made him, ultimately, not a cartoon-cutout villain.

 

Her character was quite an unusual one for a show like this. We don't often see the "functionally dysfunctional" portrayed with this kind of compassion on TV. Retroactive kudos not only to Pleshette but to the writers who decided to place a character like this in a police procedural. 

Edited by Milburn Stone

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I kind of took the message of the Eddie Albert/Susanne Pleshette relationship to be that she was the perfect victim for him, since she was under the thumb of a similarly ruthless mother.

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I kind of took the message of the Eddie Albert/Susanne Pleshette relationship to be that she was the perfect victim for him, since she was under the thumb of a similarly ruthless mother.

 

Yeah, a mother who had damaged her self-confidence to the point that she was no longer sure of any of her perceptions. The evidence of her own eyes being just the most literal of a mlllion things she could be persuaded not to trust about herself.

 

This discussion is making me like the episode more.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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I loved this episode.  Loved the acting by Eddie Albert, Suzanne P. and the actress who played her domineering mother.  I also thought one of the 'characters' of this episode was the location-- the house on the water was fabulous.  One thing about Columbo's I always enjoy are seeing the locations. 

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There's one aspect we haven't commented on so far. Which is, how this episode was very much of its time, namely, the Vietnam War--and very much a product of the anti-military attitudes that prevailed among creative elites in that time. If the episode had come from ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years later, I don't think the retired general would have been portrayed as quite the sociopathic monster he was. In 1971, however, it fit right in with a popular mindset.

 

In connection with this, I think, on reflection, that the swastika that appeared prominently in the background during the entire last sequence was meant to suggest an equivalency between our military and fascism. An equivalency that could have been accepted by audiences in that peculiar time period and virtually no other.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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Right now (5:35pm PDT), MeTV is showing "Ramson For A Dead Man" (1971), starring Lee Grant -- says it's the second pilot made for the series.  I'd forgotten that Harold Gould plays an FBI agent -- always one of my favorites, very handsome man.

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I'm watching it right now - also a big fan of this episode. Lee Grant is just so good at playing the charming, but secretly cold-blooded sociopath.

I love how she practically talks to Columbo like he's a child - she doesn't even realize how smart he is, and falls for his bumbling act!

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I don't think Netflix has "Ransom for a Dead Man." Damn!

 

Enjoyed the one with Ross Martin as the art critic. The humor quotient was higher than usual in this one. Some real LOL moments as Columbo tortured his hapless prey. Good direction by Hy Averback, and good writing from Jackson Gillis (of Perry Mason fame). And Kim Hunter! (STELLA!!!) And it always helps when the villain is played by a really good actor like Martin. Too bad they never got Orson Welles to be in one--that would have been a Columbo for the ages.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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I don't think Netflix has "Ransom for a Dead Man." Damn!

If you have Amazon Prime, that episode is included in Season 1, which is the only season they have available.

Edited by LuckyBitch

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You can also get the dvd sets on Amazon.com for little to nothing.  I've bought some new and used and now have everything, even the movies.  I just quickly checked on Amazon and the first thing I saw was Season 2 new for $9.95 and used for $7.93.  I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (mild) and some nights I just feel like staying in my recliner and popping a Columbo in my laptop :)  I can watch them over and over.  I had some gift cards from Christmas and my birthday that I also used to complete the collection.  Love Columbo!

 

@Milburn Stone(love that name,doc!)-- I watched the Ross Martin episode last month and agree it is a good one with wry humor.  The ending was especially good with the surprise factor.  Oh these arrogant villains who see Columbo as clueless and bumbling when he's manipulating them right into his noose!

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I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to put this, but I stumbled over a new Columbo-centered podcast.

 

They've done Swan Song (the Johnny Cash/Ida Lupino one) and Fade Into Murder (William Shatner). It's a bit rough so far and they haven't done a ton of research, but I'm enjoying them.

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I think my fave villain is Jack Cassidy but there have been many!  The magician episode, the one where he is a "writer" that Spielberg directed are my absolute faves.  I also loved the cruise ship episode with Robert Vaughn!  I could watch these 3 over and over and still pick up something new. Also loved the Hollywood Bowl one with John Cassavetes.  I record them all and just when I think I am done here comes another one.  

 

The episodes in the 70's were the only ones worthy of watching.  They tried again in the 90's and they didn't work at all!  There was something missing from his character and the fact he was that much older didn't sit well.  There was one particular one he made with Faye Dunaway whose face was unrecognizable from surgery or whatever...anyhoo they were trying to flirt and it was completely gag worthy...the big yuck! 

Edited by jodo
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I kind of liked the episode where Helen Shaver was plotting to kill Mrs. Columbo. It was a little too psychosexual creepy to fit into the older shows, but I think they handled that way more successfully than they did the Lindsay Crouse sex therapist who can't cope with infidelity episode.

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Tonight's episode on ME TV (8:00 to 10:00 pm ET):

 

Dagger of the Mind 

Peter Falk, John Williams, Richard Basehart (November 26, 1972)

 

Columbo journeys to London to observe Scotland Yard, but winds up investigating murders committed by two Shakespearean actors.

 

This was the fourth episode of Season 2, according to Wikipedia.

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Dagger of the Mind episode I didn't care for as much as some of the others.  The actress who plays the 'actress' just overacts in my opinion.  She gets irritating after awhile.  Actually both the man and woman who are the stars overact.  I know they are supposed to be 'Shakespearean actors, but still it got on my nerves.  Other parts of the show I thought were interesting, but I wont give anything away since it airs tonight :) 

 

I watched Candidate for Crime last night.  Jackie Cooper plays a senatorial candidate who murders his campaign manager with twists and turns.  I thought the character Cooper played was just TOO helpful in trying to explain the 'hows' of the murder to Columbo!  It was definitely to his advantage to sit back and shrug his shoulders in confusion and let the detective do his work.  Instead he kept trying to explain how this and that could have happened.  It didn't make sense that such an intelligent man, capable of planning and executing a murder would not know better than to eagerly keep explaining to Columbo how this or that could have happened to make the murder look a certain way (his not being involved).  Several of the Columbos are like this, with the villain being a little too helpful.  It's taught me to just shrug and look mystified if I ever decide to commit a crime!  ;) 

 

One thing I loved were the fashions Joanne Linville (his wife) and Tisha Sterling (his lover) wore.  I was 16-17 in 1970 and these are the fashions I remember loving from the 70's more than the disco look that came in later.  Yes we all wore loud checks and elephant belled pants, hip hugger jeans, etc-- but the first few yrs of the 70's were elegant and these two women wear the style so well. 


Didn't dig the Roddy McDowell episode. Although I did enjoy Peter Falk's portrayal of mountain-tram fear. (It so perfectly captured my own!)

Even though I love Roddy McDowell, I thought he was silly in this episode.  Almost as if he was playing at being in a Columbo episode.  I know I've read that several celebrities wanted to be in the series and I have to wonder if he was a fan and just got too big of a kick out of being a villain... 

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Dagger of the Mind episode I didn't care for as much as some of the others.  The actress who plays the 'actress' just overacts in my opinion.  She gets irritating after awhile.  Actually both the man and woman who are the stars overact.  I know they are supposed to be 'Shakespearean actors, but still it got on my nerves.  Other parts of the show I thought were interesting, but I wont give anything away since it airs tonight :) 

Ah, you are talking about Honor Blackman, probably more well known for playing Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and Cathy Gale on the Avengers. Richard Basehart, who started out in some very good film noirs, played her husband. I think his career in Hollywood got derailed when he moved to Italy with his wife Valentina Cortese and then by some rather serious tax problems. 

 

I liked them in this, but I get what your saying. There's a hysteria to Blackman's performance in particular. Wilfrid Hyde-White comes off much better in the episode.

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Even though I love Roddy McDowell, I thought he was silly in this episode.  Almost as if he was playing at being in a Columbo episode.  I know I've read that several celebrities wanted to be in the series and I have to wonder if he was a fan and just got too big of a kick out of being a villain... 

 

I agree, his performance was annoying. Or the character was annoying. I'm not sure which. Columbo villains can be arrogant, amoral, evil, psycho, narcissistic, or even occasionally sympathetic, but to spend 75 minutes with one who sprays silly string in people's hair is--well, just plain annoying.

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One thing I like about the Columbo series is how they used all the innovative technology that was coming out at the time.  I remember in one episode how Columbo was in awe of a video recorder, asking how much it was and seems like it was around $3000, a huge amount at that time to be spending on a movie camera.  At this time in the early 70's my friends bought one that cost around that much and we were amazed at it-- we were still using the old Brownie movie camera of my parents era.  I can think of two other episodes where HUGE computers were part of the storyline, such an advanced new technology!

 

 I think they had Roddy use the silly string because that was something new at the time and I guess his character was so silly because not many executives in a company would have it at the office, so by him being so over the top silly (and annoying) it made sense that he'd be shooting the silly string around at the secretaries.  I remember when it came out,too, and we were shooting it like that.  (at home or parties)  This is one of those things I liked about the Columbos-- some of the technology was almost a 'character' -- also some of the places the episodes were filmed. 

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One thing I like about the Columbo series is how they used all the innovative technology that was coming out at the time.  I remember in one episode how Columbo was in awe of a video recorder, asking how much it was and seems like it was around $3000, a huge amount at that time to be spending on a movie camera.  At this time in the early 70's my friends bought one that cost around that much and we were amazed at it-- we were still using the old Brownie movie camera of my parents era.  I can think of two other episodes where HUGE computers were part of the storyline, such an advanced new technology!

 

 I think they had Roddy use the silly string because that was something new at the time and I guess his character was so silly because not many executives in a company would have it at the office, so by him being so over the top silly (and annoying) it made sense that he'd be shooting the silly string around at the secretaries.  I remember when it came out,too, and we were shooting it like that.  (at home or parties)  This is one of those things I liked about the Columbos-- some of the technology was almost a 'character' -- also some of the places the episodes were filmed. 

Good points!  And you are right, I remember the huge mainframe computer system that ran in our large manufacturing company, had it's own huge large room with air conditioning all the time, was super noisy...many memories of my early years from watching that one with Jose Ferrer and the time Colombo went to the office for a rundown on some suspect and that super efficient dark haired lady behind the counter that ran and ran and ran that mainframe print out on dot matrix paper...I remember laughing out loud at how long it was and Columbo waiting for it while pacing etc...very funny but great memories of the old stuff.  The answering machine used in the fitness episode!

Edited by jodo
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Also the one with Robert Culp where he was a motivation research expert and was adding subliminal messages to the videos he made.  I remember there being a big stink about movie theaters at the time doing this during the previews (or maybe the actual movies themselves) where they would add super quick pictures of popcorn, drinks, or treats that were supposed to motivate the audience into wanting to go buy at the concession area.  (not that I ever needed any motivation!)  This was all 'cutting edge' back then and it's fun to see it again and remember how things were.

 

I also laughed at Columbo waiting for the super efficient dark haired woman who was running those huge computers in that episode you're speaking of, Jodo!  Classic Columbo :)

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and the magician episode with Jack Cassidy where Columbo goes to the magic store and the clerk chops the carrot in half then puts Columbo's hand in it!!  That was hilarious and sure seemed like it was not rehearsed as PF looked scared and was so giggly!!  Rewound that spot several times!

 

Oh and the sergeant chasing Columbo down at every turn with his new raincoat over and over....first in the hallway and he keeps yelling Lieutenant Lieutenant and Columbo keeps yelling YES YES YES YES (he said it four times!) and comes back for the damned coat!

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Jodo--- he looked so uncomfortable in that new coat!  About as self conscious as he was when he got his hair styled in an episode I cant remember the name of...   It will come to me tonight when I'm not online ;)   I think the thing that works for Columbo is looking  not put together and bumbling.  It makes the people who have done the crimes feel so superior and intelligent than he is.  And that makes it so much fun when he solves the crime and they are shocked at being outwitted by what they'd assumed was a dim bulb!

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