In Season Two’s “The Greenhouse Jungle,” Ray Milland and his nephew cook up a fake kidnapping scheme to get at the nephew’s $300,000 trust fund. The scam goes off without a hitch- well, except for the nephew, who ends up getting murdered by his uncle. It’s a broad, odd anomaly of an episode, but Milland plays things to such a ridiculous hilt that it retains the fun, despite a few bumps here and there. Kevin Mellon (Archer) is here to talk about the whole thing, along with the Kubert School, deadly clowns on Matlock, the Goo Goo Dolls, and the Human Hickory Farms Log.
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One thing I like about the early Columbos is that they didn’t forget about old Hollywood. So we get to see people like Ray Milland, Don Ameche, Myrna Loy in these shows. Little bit of glamour in the 1970s, the decade that gave us Pacino, Hoffman, Hackman. Great actors, but a different breed.
That was indeed a fun episode. The uncle being very careful to leave exactly the clues he needed, and Columbo just going “there’s too many clues in this case”. The hapless nephew being all “geez it’s a lot of effort faking a kidnapping, might as well be working for that money”. The scene where the uncle is just about to shoot the blonde was actually kind of tense!
Thank you for the shout-out in the ratings segment! Just going to repost the link to the spreadsheet of Jon’s ratings, now updated with an additional row.
This continues to crack me up.
Another cracking pod. Love how thery’re getting even more freewheeling and tangential (in the best sense).
Nice shout out for Playback too – one of the very finest episodes, with one of the douchiest villains of the lot. Can’t wait!
A terrific podcast about a middling episode. I found the mystery pretty slight, and the solution underwhelming. But I would definitely watch it again, for Milland’s grandiose performance, and for Bob Dishy.
By the way, on a recent Dana Gould Hour podcast, Dana and Eddie Pepitone happen to start talking about “comfort TV,” including a few Columbos they had seen recently. These included “No Time to Die” (which Pepitone described as “one of the worst Columbos ever), “An Exercise in Fatality,” and “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star.”
Enjoyed the podcast and the guest. Loved the idea of “comfort tv.” I agree that Ray Milland’s character did not have the same emotion for his orchids that the Adrian Carsini character had for his wine in Any Old Port in the Storm. You could tell that Carsini LOVED his wine. Much less feeling from Milland character when in greenhouse, compared to Carsini in his wine cellar.
I should have mentioned this during the episode, but it was a weird decision to only ever have Milland in a suit. I believe the only part of his own abode we ever see is the greenhouse, but he’s always fully dressed in there — I don’t recall seeing him in an apron, or with his shirt sleeves rolled up. Just a small wardrobe change like that would have gone a long way towards shoring up his motivation …
Good point! Had not thought of that.
Greetings from Salt Lake City. (Jon is not wrong about Utah.)
I am 100% all in for an 87th Precinct podcast if you ever think of doing one.
You know what would have been awesome, a Columbo episode like this:
Wonderfully fun episode of the show and podcast. My favourite scene is when Columbo tells the wife that her boyfriend had agreed to leave her if the husband paid him enough. What I love about that scene is the vagueness of it. I read it as Columbo honestly admiring the wife for her honesty (as he comes across alot of liars in his job). And wants to warn her off from the user boyfriend. While my husband thought it was a rare moment of Columbo being revengeful and breaking up this awful couple who are both money grabbing and a wife who has cheated on her loving husband with a wall of meat. But what gives this scene further depth is it occured to me how sad it is. As after being told the truth of her boyfriend she obviously leaves him. If her husband had told her about the deal he had offered her lover She would of left her boyfriend and there would of been no need to do the kidnapping plan.