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Episode Card - Ashes to Ashes

In “Ashes to Ashes,” Patrick McGoohan is Eric Prince, Hollywood mortician to the stars, who has no problem stealing from his clients, revealing their secrets and romancing their widows. When an ex-girlfriend/gossip columnist threatens to reveal these creepy practices, he violently murders her, cremates the body and passes off the ashes as someone’s late husband. As Columbo goes after McGoohan for the last time in the series, he navigates a path strewn with surly assistants and countless character actors. Molly Eichel (The AV Club, Philadelphia Inquirer) returns to the podcast to talk about the episode, Rocky, the crematory code of conduct, Cannonball Run and the latest dish on Bob Dishy.


  1. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    It’s a real pleasure to have a new episode. And a fun one, too.

    As you noted, there were a lot of great character actors in this one. I noticed Ron Masak in particular: played Eddie Fenelle, the fence. I thought that “That is not an official ‘bingo,’ you understand” might even be the title of this podcast.

    Anyway, Mr. Masak’s IMDB bio starts like this:

    Ron Masak (MAY-SACK) was born in Chicago, Illinois…

    and his name shows up in the credits like this:

    I think this is a man who has been called “Mah Sack” one too many times, and he just won’t stand for it anymore.

  2. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    Oops. I linked to a screen grab, but your software rejected it. Anyway, there’s a “long vowel” overscore over the first A in his name.

    It’s quite an episode for typographical nerds. You’ve got underscores, you’ve got overscores…

  3. Rich Weill Rich Weill

    Until your podcast mentioned it, I hadn’t realize that Jeffrey Hatcher wrote this episode. As a playwright, Hatcher has written numerous stage mysteries, including two nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for its Edgar Allan Poe Award as “Best Play” (“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”; “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club”). He recently revised Frederick Knott’s play “Wait Until Dark,” re-setting it during World War II.

    As a mystery playwright myself (my thriller “Framed” just completed a successful run at the Elite Theatre in Oxnard, California), I am always interested in such writers’ early works. I plan to watch “Ashes to Ashes” again with this in mind. Thanks.

  4. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    An episode I don’t remember. As your pod keeps doing, makes me more intrigued to delve into the latter – era ones (I’ve got the complete box set and whilst I rewatch the 70’s eps pretty regularly, the 90’s still has a bit of exploring to do). From your pod, and the fact that I really like the Rock Star episode, this one should be great!

  5. Mercy Mercy

    The first episode that Patrick McGoohan did of Columbo is not Identity Crisis but By Dawn’s Early Light, for which he won an Emmy. And deserves its own podcast.

  6. There’s some great classic film references in this one. The Sunset Boulevard reference as you pointed out in the podcast. The dialog dialog in the scene with the fence reminded me of the exchange of dialogue in Double Indemnity,
    Phyllis: There’s a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.

    Walter Neff: How fast was I going, officer?

    Phyllis: I’d say around ninety.

    Walter Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.

    Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.

    Walter Neff: Suppose it doesn’t take.

    Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.

    Walter Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.

    Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband’s shoulder.

    Walter Neff: That tears it.

    • Embarrassed to say that I only watched Double Indemnity for the first time this weekend (I enjoyed it immensely), and was looking forward to this dialogue popping up!

  7. Dylan Dylan

    On the subject of Dr. Syn, you might (or might not) be interested in the 1962 Hammer film Captain Clegg/Night Creatures, which is an adaptation of the same source with Peter Cushing in the Patrick McGoohan role.

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