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A Blue Horse


TitleCard_Suitable For FramingIn “Suitable For Framing,” Ross Martin is an art critic who kills his uncle in an elaborate plot to gain control of the old man’s valuable art collection. Jon did not like this. Returning guest Manning Krull and RJ did. It is sometimes odd and Don Ameche’s voice is like smooth, smooth velvet. Anyway, this edition of the podcast reveals both Jon and RJ’s depressing origins for knowing about all of this pop culture junk! Fun!


  1. Saint Fu Saint Fu

    I really enjoy this episode, probably because Ross Martin’s character is so unlikeable and it’s fun to watch him flail as he tries to get Columbo to take his aunt seriously as a suspect.

    I had forgot until I heard the tag on this episode that the music playing in the art gallery scene is an exceptionally cheesy light-pop version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures At an Exhibition.

  2. roseyv roseyv

    Hey! More lonely children of unhappy marriages who lost themselves in weirdly inappropriate television! Awesome. I’m a little older than you guys, and when I was a tiny child, we moved to suburban Long Island where, at the time, there was only very sketchy TV reception. You had to have a sort of precursor to cable even to pick up the major networks. I was also a hopeless insomniac, and would often get out of bed in the predawn hours and watch whatever was playing at that hour, on whatever channels we could actually pick up. Apparently Christopher Walken (though he would have been older at the time) was doing the same thing, because that’s the only explanation I’ve ever been able to come up with for the fact that he knew what “The Continental” was. In my entire life, I have never come across anyone else — even really old people — who knew what “The Continental” was. Prior to Walken, even the internet didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. The Gale Storm Show, Sunrise Semester, The Continental and really, really low-rent Bollywood movies. These were the wallpaper of my early youth.

  3. As a parent, I’m beginning to wonder about the wisdom of letting my child watch tons of 70s-80s tv (MASH, Monty Python, Columbo, Quincy, Remington Steele) after hearing “I was an only child and my parents were angry at each other.” Were they really angry at each other or did watching unlimited visions of idyllic TV families from the 60s warp his perceptions…

    • RJ RJ

      Ha-ha, no. It was a loveless marriage!

      Keep letting the kids watch Barney Miller.

    • Jon Jon

      Yeah, it doesn’t really work that way. Marriages don’t fall apart because of what the kids were watching on TV.

  4. Jim Jim

    I’m absolutely loving these so far. I’ve a few favourites which am sure you will get to and it will be amazing to see you cram a few more Toast of London references in there.

    Your observations through this about Columbo’s procedural practices reminded me of this article which talks about his broad interpretation of both Miranda and warrantless searches…

    And of course there is this list of the cases should they have ever have gone to trial…

    Keep up the fine work, folks. And I’ll be with you until George Wendt shows up.

    • RJ RJ


  5. Alexia Alexia

    “We don’t have an Orkut though, I refuse to go to those people cause I don’t like the Brazilians”

    Ouch. My feelings, RJ. My feelings.

    • RJ RJ

      Oh, I didn’t mean you, of course!

      • Alexia Alexia

        Oh I was kidding! And – what an incredible podcast you guys have. I watch Columbo in a whole different way now. The little bits at the end are my favorites, by the way. Thank you so much for your work!

  6. Mark D Mark D

    Jon…Jon..Jon…just listened to the podcast and I’m starting to really worry about you. This is a CLASSIC my top 10. Jackson Gillis was one of the best Columbo writers there was, Ross Martin’s character was the perfect Columbo foil and the ending, despite what you say, was the best ‘Gotcha’ maybe in the whole show. Reminds me of another classic ep…”Playback”. But what did I expect from a guy who watches a show and tries to create Venn diagrams of smells?

    • Jon Jon

      Oh, I guess I was wrong. Thanks for being cool about it.

  7. Joe Joe

    This remains a favorite episode, even after the rambling podcast. I have two issues with it, though, that you don’t bring up. First, I don’t understand why Kingston trashes the house after the murder. Is that something Aunt Edna would have done? And if so, why? The ostenible reason for the search is never alluded to. And second, what’s with the owl? Edna fancies herself an artist, and she’s the one who started Rudy on his way to assembling one of the world’s great private art collections, and yet hanging behind her bar is a kitschy doodle that looks like it was picked up at a yard sale. I’m surprised Dale never makes a crack about it.

    BTW, the PA announcer in the movie MASH was Michael Murphy, the same guy who played the Tokyo gas passer.

  8. Rich Weill Rich Weill

    I didn’t catch this episode of JOMT the first time around. I went back to listen to it after learning in the “Penultimate” episode that Jon intensely dislike “Suitable for Framing.” This surprised me, as SFF is considered one of the all-time top-shelf Columbo episodes (ranked No. 1 by blogger The Columbophile, and with a “pop” clue (what Peter Falk called the final clue) that creator William Link considered among the series’ best (see at Part 5, 23:20)).

    Some of Jon’s criticisms have merit. Others seem to quibble with how an private art collection would be managed in the early 1970’s. These seemed less important, not necessarily historically accurate, and, at least to me, fall squarely in the “willing suspension of disbelief” bucket.

    What makes SFF particularly interesting — and what explains its abrupt opening scene — is its midpoint twist. For much of the episode. the viewer is left to assume that Kingston killed his uncle to inherit the art collection. He needed an accomplice to set up his alibi, but the identity of his accomplice didn’t seem to matter to his scheme. When we learn that Uncle Rudy changed his will, leaving his art collection to his ex-wife — and, as importantly, that Kingston knew of the change — things get more complicated. Finally, we see the other part of Kingston’s plot: to frame his aunt so he will, indeed, inherit. Now we also see Tracy O’Connor’s full role: to create the illusion that a woman, living nearby, committed this crime.

    A more expansive opening wouldn’t have been able to conceal from the audience (certainly not as credibly) that Kingston is not Rudy’s heir. We are told of Kingston’s murder plan in stages — an excellent way to tell this story.

    What bothers me about SFF is the improbability that Columbo’s fingerprints ever would be on the Degas pastels. A host of coincidences had to happen even to put Columbo and the Degas pastels in the same room, let alone adding the contrivance of Columbo sticking his hand in the bag Kingston was holding. I would have preferred a solution that was not so dependent on this unlikely combination of events.

    Finally, someone should note the similarity between this murder (e.g., using an electric blanket to keep the body warm, and using an accomplice to fire a shot and run away with a witness within earshot) and the murder in “It’s All in the Game,” an episode written by Peter Falk. Perhaps this shows Falk’s subconscious appreciation of “Suitable for Framing.”

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