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A Shadow On A Hungry Street

Episode Card_S01E05 (Ep 5)

The podcast makes its first foray into 90’s Columbo with Nate Patrin (Pitchfork, City Pages, Wondering Sound) joining Jon and RJ for season ten’s “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star.” Dabney Coleman is a high-powered attorney/developer who murders his former-rock star girlfriend, once he finds out she’s been cheating on him with her old drummer. Also- early 90s portable stereo pricing; drugged Champagne; Little Richard (???); old drunk men; the lost 90s show, Creighton’s Law; and Viewer Mail!


  1. Mandi Mandi

    Oh man, some of those 90’s episodes are cringe-worthy. But there’s normally something really good overall that if you’re a die hard makes it watchable and redeemable in ways. Hands down I think the worst episode is that 90’s one No Time to Die. It remains the only episode that I can say I really and truly don’t like. But that’s for another time.

    I grew up watching Columbo in syndication on A&E with my Mom. Neither of us knew in the 90’s that there were new episodes until a couple years after they started coming out. After that there was a regular date for the new Columbo episode, and we set a VCR to record in case we missed it. I was 8 or 9 by the time I saw that episode, and even then I remember thinking just how racist that gardener scene was. Which is a shame, because it’s ALMOST a really nice Columbo interaction. ALMOST. But it’s like the writers went out of their way to destroy it – particularly with the gong noise at the end.

    That scene with his EA and she casually mentions the errand drives me bonkers too! You would think, what with him being a high power attorney, that she may not find him having her do something like that too strange, if he said it was for a case to prove how you could cheat the camera or something. So that I can forgive, but you think they would have had her casually mention it at least. Something along the lines of “That’s why you had me run that court errand to check on the city cameras” or something kinda vague that could at least be used as foreshadowing that an audience could call back to. I mean, it’s not the weirdest thing for Columbo to pick up on given previous episodes – it’s just that the delivery of it seemed so false.

    You guys continue to be entertaining, I found myself accidentally laughing with headphones on in public – that always gets some looks.

    You should treat yourselves after a 90’s episode and do one of the Patrick McGoohan episodes.

  2. chris chris

    I love Columbo and I am digging the podcasts. I recently rewatched some of the ones from the 90s and the one with Faye Dunaway really bothered me. It kind of makes him mean, and while he is always calculating, he just seemed…off? Cold, maybe? Anyway, the ending is kind of ambiguous with the whole, “Never believe a policeman” line but I’m interested to hear others take on it. I loved this one with Dabney Coleman. He’s such a dick.

  3. Ant Ant

    I just rewatched this episode because I’m catching up with your past podcasts in order. I did kind of remember the outline of the plot, especially the weird mask thing, but, wow, I’d forgotten that certain crucial facts like the murderer’s alibi had been withheld till late in the episode. I mean, isn’t the whole point of Columbo that you get to see exactly how the murderer thinks he’s gotten away with the crime right at the start? Okay, so other eps might also do delayed reveals — though I’m having a hard time coming up with any examples — but I don’t think any of them do it for the sake of a cheap twist like this one. Plus, as you said in the podcast, the three conspirators yukking it up like cartoon villains in the prosecutor’s office is ridiculous.

    Oh, and yeah, what IS the deal with 90s TV shows and washed-out pastel color palettes, and boring, static camera angles, and cheap sets?

    Anyway, I just want to say that JOMT is a great podcast about an even greater detective. Thanks for doing it.

    • RJ RJ

      Thanks for the kind words!

  4. “Rock and roll chimney sweep” was the best. The same thing happens with American actors appearing on British tv shows. They are always badgered into doing really heavy regional accents to sound more American.

    I’m sad that no one brought up the fact that Marcy was wearing chaps in the scene were she’s locked out of the house. That screamed “rock star” to me. I just wanted to know that if she was rock star with multiple platinum albums, why her boyfriend a trial lawyer is more famous. I did appreciate your efforts to create a backstory for their romance. That was way more effort than the writers went to, obviously.

    I was “watching” this episode on youtube while I was working on something in the foreground, so mostly just listening to the dialog. The hilarious thing is the sound in the scene where Columbo is looking for the cork in the beach house and the sound is the vacuum cleaner for like two minutes. It’s pretty rare to have a scene like that where nothing happens and there’s no diaog for such a long period. Great to see the show still breathes. So I went back and watched that bit and it’s great. Columbo is wearing that random hat that says “NFI” on it. Is that some off-brand NFL? Or is it like FBI?

    Speaking of beach houses, I think this was like the fourth episode where the murderer either lives at the beach or the crime is committed on the beach. I’m sure to Middle America, it’s just short hand for rich, decadent West Coast living, but it also reminds me of Robert Altman’s The Long Good-bye which is also set in Malibu.

    One of the things I was thinking about when you guys were talking about the general shitty look of early 90s tv, is that shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files were huge back then. Part of the reason for that popularity was that they were so cinematic compared to everything else that was on at the time.

    Also the retro 40s detective thing, I was thinking of Remington Steele and Moonlighting which weren’t that much earlier. Both those shows had really deliberate old hollywood call backs. But yeah that was lame.

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