Press "Enter" to skip to content

These Girls Have Their Health

In “Columbo Cries Wolf,” Ian Buchanan is one half of the inexplicably popular skin mag, Bachelor’s World. When the other half, Diedre Hall, decides she’s had enough of his philandering with the magazine’s models and wants to sell out, he kills her. Or does he? Well, yes, eventually. But before that, the two of them spend almost the whole running time of this episode making Columbo look like a chump, as he chases after dead ends and clues that lead nowhere. Jon and guest Tim Turner (Bitter Bastard Nerdcast) disliked this one waaaaay less than RJ. Variety is the spice of life, after all.


  1. perletwo perletwo

    Notes on the podcast:
    – Jon, deeply disappointed you didn’t work in the phrase “The Virgin Connie Swail.”
    – Re the speculative reenactments: That’s kind of a CSI thing, where the cast would talk through what the evidence suggests to them and a semi-transparent reenactment overlays the monologue & since CSI was getting big by then I assume it’s a steal from that.
    – Ian Buchanan’s rictus grin: I thought he’d make a good Riddler if they tried to reboot Batman ’66. (Tim, I think all of Ian B’s muscle tone is in his cheeks?) (And Jon, “Factotum” sounds like a good name for a Batman ’66 villain.)
    – 70s Captain America with the van came to us courtesy of, not Corman, but competing bad-movie impresario Albert Pyun. (That I know this should clue you into the level on which I enjoyed Columbo Cries Wolf.)

    • Zack Handlen Zack Handlen

      The Pyun Captain America was 1990 (starring J.D. Salinger’s son!). The ’70s version with the van was a pair of made-for-TV movies starring Reb Brown, and so far as I know, neither Pyun nor Corman had anything to do with either.

      …yes, I don’t know why I know this either.

      • perletwo perletwo

        Both those Cap movies are so bad they blur together in my mind. One had a motorcycle IIRC – but was it the same one that had the van? Coz I have a vague recollection of the bike coming OUT of the back of the van…. arrrrgh… thank glob comic book movies got better, the things we had to put up with back in olden times!

        • Zack Handlen Zack Handlen

          Yeah, both had Reb driving around in a van, and there were scenes of him driving the bike out of the van. And yes, things definitely got better.

          • Weirdly, I think I knew all of this but a total dolor settled upon me at the mention of the movies.

    • DrGlitterhouse DrGlitterhouse

      “Columbo Cries Wolf” was broadcast at least ten years before CSI debuted.

  2. Tim Turner Tim Turner

    Aggghhh. I’m still so annoyed with myself that I didn’t remember that Pyun did the CAPTAIN AMERICA bomb. But yes, Factotum could be a great BATMAN 66 villain, played by, oh, say maybe Franklin Pangborn (if he had been alive) or Charles Nelson Reilly?

  3. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    I don’t think you mentioned the scene where Mr Faux-Hefner actually commits the murder. I face-palmed at that point: you can not break someone’s neck by gently tilting her head to one side. If it was that easy, no one would survive childbirth.

    I did actually like the plot twist: when the partner got out of her car and we see that she wasn’t actually murdered (yet), I was fine with it, especially because at that point I couldn’t predict the rest of the episode.

    Maybe I’m just being slow today, but I wasn’t sure how the 1987 Dragnet movie tied in with all this.

    • There’s just a cosmetic similarity, and also I love Dabney Coleman so so much…

      • Tim Turner Tim Turner

        Thank god you edited out my hyena cackling as you read the synopsis. As soon as I heard P.A.G.AN., I knew where you were going and I just lost it. “Wevwand, you’ve got balls as big as church bells.”

        • RJ RJ

          I edited nothing out in that part!

  4. Nick Nick

    To me, this murderer looks exactly like Troy Tempest from Gerry Anderson’s ‘Stingray’.

  5. Lisa S Lisa S

    Enjoyed the podcast. Was an odd one – but it was also an odd episode. This is totally off topic – but in hearing about Robert Culp’s kids – I googled and discovered that his son Joseph portrayed Don Draper’s father “Archie” in Mad Men. Had no idea.

    • Aw damn, I never knew that either! Neat!

  6. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    Another top pod. Re Columbo getting ‘petulant’. I think this is good writing / good acting: in Blueprint For Murder, he knew a murder has been committed. He was shown up, but he knew. He’s Columbo. This one, he was actively played for a fool, with no murder having happened. I think that’s why he was so snarky. He’d been had, and he knew it.

    It is an odd episode. But wait til you get to Murder: A Self Portrait…

    Any reference to the Dragnet movie gets my vote. Fun fact : the theme to the movie won a Grammy!

  7. Nick Nick

    Chiming in again, I know its way off topic, but figured it’s okay since the hotdog indulgence. 😉 I recently watched ‘A Trace Of Murder’, the Columbo episode with David Rasche, and realized that he actually uses his catchphrase from Sledge Hammer: “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” I wonder if that was scripted, or he threw it in under the radar.

    • Ha, I didn’t notice that when I watched it! It’ll have to come up soon, given our dwindling catalog, so I’m looking forward to hearing it in context again …

  8. Lori Lori

    Sometimes I wish RJ would STFU!!!

    • RJ RJ

      Me too!

  9. Joseph Beale Joseph Beale

    Wow…you guys way overthought this one. Spending nearly 20 minutes talking about how much you hated the layout of the magazine? I’ve watched this episode a dozen times or more and never noticed or cared to observe such a trivial detail. I think we all realize that in cinematic quality the ABC episodes are not nearly as strong as the NBC episodes but in terms of story “Columbo Cries Wolf” is a winner. I watched this one live as it aired and neither my roommate nor I could guess that there was no murder. I mean, this is Columbo…there has to be a murder! It was a great plot twist and then a great conclusion.

    There are two general types of murderers on Columbo:
    1. The sympathetic kind (think Adrian Carsini or Abigail Mitchell)
    2. The arrogant prick (think Mark Helprin or Paul Gerard)

    When the killer is somewhat sympathetic, it’s OK to let him/her down easy. But when it’s type #2, you need to pull the rug out from under ’em. The more you humiliate a guy like Nelson Heyward, the better. This episode had one of the most arrogant killers of them all and that is what required that Columbo deliver an extra bit of zing at the point where he nails the guy. That is why “GOTCHA” is the best Columbo reveal of them all and this is my favorite episode. I’ve noticed that when it comes to the ABC Columbo episodes you guys seem to have a special disdain for the “arrogant prick” episodes (this one, Columbo Goes to College, Grand Deceptions). I happen to love them all. To me, the only truly bad ones among the ABC episodes were the two worst episodes of the entire series: No Time to Die and Undercover.

    While it is true that all of the clothing and hairstyles in this one are hopelessly dated, this is just as true of the 70s episodes in general. It seems that you give those a pass because you find bell-bottoms and lamb-chop sideburns more amusing than pleated pants and loose-fitting shirts. To each his own, but I tend to laugh at all of it equally. In any event, I don’t consider that a legitimate criticism if you’ve already given a pass to all of the older ones that suffer from the same issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *