As things begin to wind down, the ol’ podcast starts running up against a few lasts. This time, it’s our last Robert Culp episode, “Double Exposure”! In this one, Culp uses a lethal combination of caviar, subliminal film editing and bullets to get rid of a troublesome client. The special guest will be Jeannie Vanasco, author of The Glass Eye.
Do you like surprises? Of course you do, and “A Bird in the Hand…” is full of them! Not one, but three murders? Greg Evigan doing an outstanding job as the killer? A 90s episode that is actually very good? Yes! All of these things and more, in a greasy little noir-ish story full of twists and turns and double-crosses. One thing that’s not a surprise? The wonderful insights of returning guest, Dr. Christy Blanch.
Three murders for the price of one! That’s what you get in season eleven’s “A Bird in the Hand…,” which has Greg Evian as an inveterate gambler who plans to murder his wealthy uncle, but someone beats him to it. Who? Find it, watch it, and listen to us in a week or so! The guest will be the returning Dr. Christy Blanch.
In “Columbo Cries Wolf,” Ian Buchanan is one half of the inexplicably popular skin mag, Bachelor’s World. When the other half, Diedre Hall, decides she’s had enough of his philandering with the magazine’s models and wants to sell out, he kills her. Or does he? Well, yes, eventually. But before that, the two of them spend almost the whole running time of this episode making Columbo look like a chump, as he chases after dead ends and clues that lead nowhere. Jon and guest Tim Turner (Bitter Bastard Nerdcast) disliked this one waaaaay less than RJ. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
What happens when you have a murder without a body? You have season nine’s “Columbo Cries Wolf,” in which Columbo goes up against a skin mag impresario whose business partner goes missing. Tim Turner (Bitter Bastard Nerdcast) will be the guest.
In “Ransom for a Dead Man,” Lee Grant is a high-powered attorney who shoots her husband, then constructs an elaborate kidnapping plot in order to point the feds in the wrong direction. Unfortunately for her, the local cop assigned to the case is none other than Lt. Columbo. Once the kidnapping crosses over into murder and it’s under Columbo’s jurisdiction- her chances? Not so good. Interestingly, this is the second of two pilots made for the show and you can definitely see the nice details that we all come to know as Columbo-esque. Really fun added feature to the podcast- attorney and writer Bob Ingersoll (The Law Is a Ass) is here to analyze the legal details in this one, as well as shed some light on other episodes and how well they’d stand up in court. Also guesting is the mysterious “Jim from Detroit.”
Going way, way back for Columbo‘s second pilot, “Ransom for a Dead Man.” Lee Grant murders her husband (pretty much just for being a boring, okay guy), then tries to cover it up with an elaborate fake kidnapping. Attorney and writer Bob Ingersoll (The Law Is a Ass) and the mysterious “Jim” will be the guests.
So, this pilot for Mrs. Columbo, this “Word Games.” It has Kate Mulgrew. It has Robert Culp. It has Edie Adams. It has Bob Dishy. It has a host of other good people. It has the car. It has Dog. It does not have Columbo. But, it also has a great deal of unpleasantness. A great deal of missed opportunity. The whole thing is just odd and confounding, so much so that Jon and RJ actually go through an episode in chronological order FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Historian and author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) is back on the program, to help sort through the whole mess. If you’d like to see for yourself, it’s on YouTube.
Well, that whole Mrs. Columbo/Kate Columbo/Kate Loves a Mystery thing had to come from somewhere, didn’t it? In our next one, we discuss the pilot, “Word Games.” Author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) returns to take it all in. If you really want to see it beforehand, it’s on YouTube and nowhere else. But that’s entirely up to you.
In “How to Dial a Murder,” Nicol Williamson plays Dr. Eric Mason, a behavioral psychologist looking to exact revenge on his business partner, who may have had an affair with the doctor’s late wife. This revenge takes the form of having trained dogs viciously tear the partner apart after hearing the phrase, “Rosebud,” all while Dr. Mason listens with pleasure over the phone. Quite a guy. Columbo sees right away that these dogs couldn’t be the sole culprits and sets out right away to ensure that they aren’t the only ones going to the pound. Author Glen Erik Hamilton (Every Day Above Ground) returns to analyze the episode, as well as posit the idea of a “Sinister Six” for Columbo villains. Who’d be in that? Let us know!