From the early days of this podcast (In what, 1986? 2002? 2014?), there has been one episode set aside for the very last Columbo we’d watch. Well, this is it, folks. The last roundup. The final act. The fourth quarter. The seventh ogre. Here, now, is “Strange Bedfellows.”
George Wendt is the owner of a racing horse farm who’s having trouble living up to the standards of his late father. Throw in a brother who’s an inveterate gambler and the guy’s wound a little tight. When little brother owes the mob tons of money, he sees an opportunity to not only kill his brother, but also a gangster in order to clear the debt away. He didn’t count on the local mob boss being a scene-chewing Rod Steiger who has no problem whatsoever working with the cops to entrap Norm Peterson in a third act gaslighting nightmare. Joining us to wrap up the podcast is the same guy who helped start it off, Leonard Pierce.
So it’s come to this. Our final show. Season thirteen’s “Strange Bedfellows,” (AKA The George Wendt Episode) in which the comedian plays a racehorse breeder whose brother is in deep to the mob. Kills the brother, kills a mob guy, there you go. WILL HE GET AWAY WITH IT? Who can say? Leonard Pierce will be our final guest.
In this next-to-last edition of the podcast, Jon and RJ list their top and bottom five Columbo episodes, talk about favorite performances and answer lots of your listener questions, along with a bunch of other talk about the program. And yes- a bunch came in after this was recorded! Don’t worry- they’ll go through them and cover what they can during the George Wendt Episode.
Our next-to-last show will largely be Jon and I discussing Columbo, giving our best-of and worst-of lists, etc. But, we want your questions, too! About Columbo, about the podcast, whatever! Leave them in the comments here, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them to our Twitter, @jomtpodcast.
What do you know? The second-to-last Columbo episode ever is the second-to-last one we’re covering! In “Murder with Too Many Notes,” Billy Connolly plays a past-his-prime film score composer whose protégé has secretly been the one producing the maestro’s best work lately. When the kid starts demanding some credit for his work, the composer sees no way out than to stage an untimely death for the wannabe John Williams. Author and film archivist Jenny Hammerton (Cooking with Columbo) joins us to discuss the episode, weather on our respective continents, what Columbo souvenir you’d want in your house, and so much more. Also- a contest to win Jenny’s book! Details in the episode.
Billy Connolly! Film scoring action! A rusty elevator! Tuxedo rental clues! We’re getting close to the end, with Season Ten’s McGoohan-directed “Murder with Too Many Notes.” Joining in will be author and film archivist Jenny Hammerton (Cooking with Columbo).
As we reach the end of the podcast’s run, we come upon “Uneasy Lies the Crown,” a rarely-mentioned late entry in the series. Steven Bochco recycles a 1970s script, in which a dentist/gambling addict tries to frame his wife for the murder of her famous actor lover. It’s actually not a bad murder scheme, and some of the performances are good, but hey, 90s Columbo, you know? Returning guest Tilt Araiza (The Sitcom Club) is here to discuss the episode, why on earth people do fanfiction and how a potential Columbo revival could possibly go wrong.
Tilt Araiza (The Sitcom Club) returns to the podcast to join Jon and RJ for a discussion of Season Nine’s “Uneasy Lies the Crown.” In it, a dentist murders his wife’s lover and sets her up to take the fall. Sound familiar? Then you might have watched a McMillan and Wife from 1977 that used the same Steven Bochco script.
Well, we’re back from our break with a Mrs. Columbo. Before you hit us, though, wait! “Murder is a Parlor Game” stars Donald Pleasance! That must mean it’s good, right? Right? Nope! Go ahead and hit away! In this episode, Pleasance plays a retired Scotland Yard detective who lives in the Wee Britain section of LA, an acclaimed true-crime author and sometime instructor in women’s self-defense. When a wrongly-accused suspect from a past case comes back to haunt him, there’s a struggle, a gunshot and one of the sorriest attempts of a crime scene coverup in recorded modern history. Will Mrs. Columbo piece it together, working the weekly penny saver beat? No, not really! She just sort of stumbles upon things while snooping around and… oh, just watch the thing or listen to us.
Back again are writers Jennifer Wright (Harper’s Bazaar, Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them) and Daniel Kibblesmith (Late Show with Stephen Colbert) with ideas to fix the show, a killer Owen Wilson impression, the “Mrs. Columbo is Dumb” theory, and a free name for your ska band. ALSO- Viewer Mail, with tech tips, analogues to The Wire and speculation about the future of this very podcast.
Coming back soon from a hiatus with a Mrs Columbo episode, “Murder is a Parlor Game.” Don’t let the fact that it stars Donald Pleasance as the killer fool you. If you’d like to take a look beforehand, it does seem to be available on YouTube at the moment, but… well, that’s on you. Joining in the discussion will be returning guests Jennifer Wright (Harper’s Bazaar, Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them) and Daniel Kibblesmith (Late Show with Stephen Colbert).