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I’m Your Hairy Little Teddy Bear

Episode Card_Lovely But Lethal

In “Lovely But Lethal,” Vera Miles is Viveca Scott, a cosmetics magnate who needs a miracle product to keep her company from going under. When researcher Martin Sheen is discovered taking the formula to the competition, she murders him with the most deadly weapon known to mankind – a microscope. Throw in an alkie chemist, some Vincent Price, a little Bruce Kirby and oh, hey, another killing (this time, by poisoned cigarette) and no amount of foundation can cover up the blemishes of subterfuge and murder. Maybe Columbo’s some sort of cold cream of justice? Sure, let’s go with that. Elle Collins (Into It) helps Jon and RJ sort the whole thing out.


  1. Peter Peter

    Sian Barbara Allen has to be the oddest actress I can recall from the 70’s, and despite being a hot young actress she just fell off the planet, never to be heard from again.

  2. roseyv roseyv

    If you guys are that bothered by watching an actor fake-smoke badly and unconvincingly, I strongly advise that you steer clear of “Mr. Robot.” I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life and even I find it annoying how obvious it is that he is NOT REALLY SMOKING those things!

    • RJ RJ

      To be fair, how would a robot know how to smoke properly?

      • Jon Jon

        I was going to quip “From the internet!” but then I decided to check and see if there were any online tutorials about how to smoke a cigarette and … well, of course there are. Quite a few, in fact.

  3. I’m in my forties, but I had grandmothers who referred to Lydia Pinkham. Heck, I think my dad once said something about it and this is an episode from 1973. I think she would have been in the vernacular still. I don’t think Viveca would have liked being compared to Lydia Pinkham because it would have been considered very old fashioned, but that was probably the point.

  4. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    Another great episode, and one that really enhanced my enjoyment of the show. Elle Collins was terrific; I hope she has a chance to do another episode.

  5. One of the things that cued me that they were going to code Shirley as a lesbian was her pinky ring which they filmed in close up because of her “smoking” and the fact that she has zero appreciation for dreamy young Martin Sheen.

    I loved the sets in this episodes. I loved the use of color. There’s a shot of Columbo driving his gray car through the red suits of the fat farm people.

    I agree Vincent Price was underused in this. His character was similar to the character he played in Champagne for Caesar, in which he plays a very eccentric (and pretty gay seeming) executive of a soap company. In that film, he’s more oblivious to what a dick he is to people, but it is the same sort of maliciousness under the fancy man facade. If you guys haven’t seen Champagne for Caesar you need to. It’s a comedy and Vincent is truly fantastic in it.

    To me the best performance in this is Fred Draper as Mercheson. I loved the scene between Draper and Peter Falk. Draper is a Cassavetes regular so they’d worked together before.

    J.T. Finnegan who plays the old school hat-taking-off sargeant is a columbo regular and appears in a bunch of episodes as various characters.

    Also: Another Murder at the Beach. My Columbo Excellence Rubric is now as follows: Murderer or victim lives at the beach (in this case both do), Robert Culp or Patrick McGoohan villain, classic film actor slumming it on TV (this episode as two!) and Columbo dragging his family into it (this episode has four family shout outs).

  6. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    Incidentally, Sian Barbara Allen is still alive, and has published several short stories. Her Fictionaut page is here:

    Sian Barbara Allen

    I have the feeling that she’d have a few interesting tales to tell about what happened to her career.

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