Vol.1 No.2 Winter 1992



Prescription: Mitchell by Mark Dawidziak

About halfway through director Frank Capra's last Hollywood film, A Pocketful of Miracles (1961), two delightful actors collide for a brief hallway scene. Look for the moment. Freeze it. There they are: crafty screen veteran and an equally crafty newcomer with one common role in their future--slovenly homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo. Thomas Mitchell was 68. Peter Falk was 33.

At the same time that A Pocketful of Miracles was being sneak previewed to summer audiences in preparation for a December release, NBC aired

"Enough Rope," a one-hour installment of The Chevy Mystery Show. A live

drama by Richard Levinson and William Link, the episode was based on the

writing team's 1950s short story "May I Come In" (also known as "Dear

Corpus Delecti"). Character actor Bert Freed played Lieutenant Columbo.

The distinction of being the first actor to portray Columbo means little

to Freed. He doesn't even remember the production.

Levinson and Link were not pleased with the direction and low production

values of "Enough Rope." Capra, saddled with a difficult star (Glenn

Ford), was not pleased with A Pocketful of Miracles. The entire

production was agony . . . except for Peter Falk. "Peter Falk was my

joy, my anchor to reality," Capra wrote in his charming and candid 1971

autobiography, The Name Above the Title. "Introducing that remarkable

talent to the techniques of comedy made me forget pains, tired blood,

and maniacal hankerings to murder Glenn Ford. Thank you, Peter Falk."

Mitchell was another of Capra's joys. A member of the director's stock

company, Mitchell had played fugitive swindler Barnard in Capra's Lost

Horizon (1937), Washington reporter Diz Moore in Mr. Smith Goes to

Washington (1939) and forgetful Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life

(1946). "Tommy Mitchell was heaven's answer to our prayer," Capra said

of the busy supporting actor's casting in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

"In fact, he was soon to become heaven's answer to many a director's

prayer--including John Ford's."

Almost immediately after "Enough Rope" aired, Levinson and Link began

working on a stage version. They would need a big-name actor to play

Lieutenant Columbo. The answer to their prayer was Thomas Mitchell.

The producer who agreed to stage Levinson and Link's play--now titled

Prescription: Murder--assembled an impressive cast. Joseph Cotten

(drunken Leland in Citizen Kane) would play Ray Fleming, the

psychiatrist who comes up with the seemingly perfect way to murder his

wife. Agnes Moorehead, another graduate of Orson Welles' Mercury

Players, would play Fleming's wife. And Mitchell was their choice to

play Lieutenant Columbo, a cigar-smoking bulldog of a New York City

police detective.

"We met for our first rehearsal at the American Legion Hall on Hollywood

Boulevard," Bill Link recalls. "It was a difficult cast to work with. We

were young writers with no reputation, and nobody was nice to us. Joseph

Cotten was very difficult. Agnes Moorhead was very forbidding, almost

like Mrs. Dancers in 'Rebecca.' And the first thing Thomas Mitchell said

to us was, 'In my theater. writers sit in the last row.' That scared

Dick and me to death. You can imagine the impact of that on young

writers hoping that their play is on its way to Broadway."

Other problems emerged. Mitchell, who was not in good health, did not

want to learn new lines. He decreed that the script would not change.

This was particularly chilling news to Levinson and Link because they

wanted to use a national tour to strengthen their play. They knew the

third act was weak. The murder and the alibi were so good that the

resolution wasn't strong enough.

"Mitchell was very crusty," Link says. "He had infrequent good days. One

of those days was when we rehearsed at his home. I was just starting to

collect art, and he had a wonderful collection. He showed it to me with

great pride, so that was a nice day."

Prescription: Murder had its world premiere at the Carran Theatre in San

Francisco. It was the start of a lucrative 25-week tour through the

United States and Canada. When the producer suggested Broadway, Levinson

and Link demanded changes for the third act. Why mess with a play making

money? The producer backed Mitchell's original demand: no changes.

Levinson and Link replied by threatening to slap an injunction on the

play. So Prescription: Murder was denied a New York opening

. "We were relieved," Link says. "We didn't want our first Broadway show

to be a play we knew was structurally flawed."

Yet the 1962 tour of Prescription: Murder was of great value. Mitchell

proved the great appeal of Lieutenant Columbo. Fleming was supposed to

be the central character. Cotten was supposed to be the star. But in San

Francisco, Fargo and Detroit, the applause would go crazy for Mitchell,

then drop off when Cotten took his bows. The cop was the real star, and

it took that tour to make Levinson and Link realize it. Dressed in a

heavy overcoat and dropping cigar ashes everywhere, Mitchell was turning

on the Irish charm and winning over audiences in city after city.

"He played it far straighter than Peter's Columbo," Link explains. "He

was more the standard Irish homicide investigator. But there was a sense

of humor. You did see that twinkle. There was a bit of the leprechaun to

his portrayal."

Next issue: the career of Thomas Mitchell and his untimely death during

the run of Prescription: Murder.


A Little Background


Two events coincided to result in the creation of the Columbo

Newsletter. The first was the return, in February 1989, of the program

with new episodes for the first time in 11 years. This spate of new

Columbos has revived prior interest in the program and created new fans

of its unique format, perfectly-cast star and creative mysteries.

The second, and by far more significant event (for these purposes) was

the publication in 1989 (although I didn't get my copy until Spring

1990) of Mark Dawidziak's The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (The Mysterious

Press, New York, NY), the first and to date only reference book to deal

exclusively with the famous Lieutenant. Now for the first time, we fans

had at our fingertips the answers to those interesting questions that a

quick glimpse on television simply couldn't tell us, such as how many

episodes Ben Gazzara directed (2--A Friend in Deed and Troubled Waters)

and how many of the original 43 episodes were 90 minutes (27) and how

many were 2 hours (16).

I read the book many times, and then I sat down and wrote Mark

Dawidziak. I told him how much I had enjoyed it, how I appreciated his

details . . . and how he'd made just a few mistakes here and there. To

my suprise, he wrote back, and we have enjoyed a stimulating

correspondence since then, which I hope will continue. During one of my

letters, I inquired of Mark if there was a fan club or newsletter

through which we could share our thoughts with a larger audience. He

said not yet, but why don't you do something about it? And so I have.

I'd like to take just a moment now to explain what this newsletter is

about and where we'll go from here. As the first two issues should make

clear, not only do I have no connection with the production of the show,

but I am also under no directives to offer only praise. Of course I love

Columbo--I wouldn't create an entire newsletter for it otherwise. But

every episode is not equally enjoyable and every clue is not equally

delicious; in fact, some of them (clues and episodes) are pretty poor,

in comparison with others, of course (not with other programs of this

genre, few that they are; Columbo beats them hands down).

There are two consequences to the statement I just made. One is that not

everyone will agree with my movie and episode reviews, and I look

forward to some stimulating debates. Next issue, with my review of

Murder by the Book, I will introduce what will probably be the most

controversial aspect of this newsletter--I will rank the episodes. In

each instance, I will offer substantive reasons for my ranking, but I'll

bet they won't convince all of you, so let's hear some chatter.

The second consequence is that, while Mark is my friend and an expert on

Columbo, I don't always agree with him either, and although I doubt he

intended to make his book the authoritative statement of what makes the

best and worst episodes, he sometimes (but not always) expresses an

opinion, which I may refer to if only to get the conversation going. For

example, be forwarned: Mark makes very clear that he believes the first

episode is the best. I disagree, and I'll tell you why . . . next issue.

Sheldon P. Catz, Editor


Here's a Mystery Even Columbo Can't Solve by Paul Kurécka


In my first article, I argued that much of the behavior Columbo uses to

solve cases consists of personal mannerisms which he exaggerates as the

case requires. I was intending in this issue to continue this argument

by noting Columbo's forgetfulness (in the sense of an absent-minded

professor; he always remembers details related to the case) as another

example. This trait was chosen because this issue is thematically

organized around Ransom for a Dead Man and it was there wherein the

first example of forgetfulness not related to a case was shown--he

forgot his billfold and even with thousands of dollars in front of him

(all evidence), he had no cash to pay a bar tab in the closing scene.

(Careful viewers may point to the fact that, in the first movie

(Prescription: Murder), Columbo, having misplaced his own pencil, had to

borrow a pen from Dr. Fleming. However, it could be easily argued that

he borrowed it only so that would have an excuse to make a "return"


However, one other characteristic of this series, also started in this

movie, is one which I find troubling because it violates logic. Namely,

that the murderer is a prominent criminal attorney. Of course, the idea

that a criminal attorney could commit murder in and of itself is not

incredulous; however, the fact that a prominent criminal attorney in Los

Angeles would not have come in contact with, and know well, an

investigator of Columbo's ability, rank, and reputation goes beyond

explanation. It is a mystery even Columbo can not solve. The problem is

basic. A successful criminal attorney practicing in L.A. would

frequently have occasion to deal with the higher ranking investigators

of the L.A.P.D. and would most often deal with them in an adversarial

fashion. Such an attorney would make it a point to know each officer's

weaknesses and modus operandi (especially if it varied from Standard

Operating Procedure).

Columbo is an investigator of both unusual methods and high prominence.

That his methods are unusual should be obvious to anyone who watches

even one episode. His prominence in the department was directly apparent

in two episodes and tangentially apparent in one other: In Last Salute

to the Commodore, there is a young protégé noting his reputation; in

Columbo Cries Wolf, one of his superiors (in a bathroom scene no less)

lauds him as one of the department's best; and in Grand Deceptions he

indicates that he usually has no one working under him (although in many

episodes some sergeant has been temporarily assigned to him, the lack of

consistent supervisory duties implies special privilege and thus

prestige). That a prominent criminal attorney would be unaware of who

Columbo is, let alone never have come up against him while defending a

criminal Columbo has caught, is unbelievable.

Similarly, Columbo is a bright man. Never in any episode has he

forgotten the abilities of either those he has come up against or those

he has worked with, either directly or peripherally. There is even

evidence that he remembers such details years later (in Rest in Peace,

Mrs. Columbo, he easily remembers details of a person in a case he

solved more than a decade earlier). Further, a detective of his stature,

with at least 15 years on the force as a lieutenant (1967-1982), would

know of the good criminal attorneys in L.A. It is likely that after all

those years and the cases they contained he would have faced most of

them in court (affluent murderers can afford the best attorneys) and

would know of them and their operating procedures.

One explanation which may keep Ransom for a Dead Man plausible (but only

by a real stretch) is the possibility that a professional may be new to

an area and thus would not yet have met all the prominent people in

his/her field or in related fields. It is clearly presented in the movie

that Leslie Williams was not new to the area, but if one could imagine

that Columbo was new to L.A. (Mark Dawidziak argues in his book that

Columbo is a transplanted New Yorker), it might be plausible that the

two of them had not yet met. (It stretches credulity since Columbo seems

to be established in the department in Prescription: Murder, which

occurs three years prior to the events in this movie; three years seems

long enough to get to know everyone).

This explanation does not work for any of the subsequent episodes. Two

prominent examples are Oscar Finch in Agenda for Murder and Hugh

Creighton in Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star. It seems plain from

the context of the episodes that both Finch and Creighton were well

established as attorneys in the L.A. area. Columbo would know them and

vice versa.

These instances are not the only ones where the murderer and Columbo

should know each other well. In A Friend in Deed, Police Commissioner

Mark Halperin was ignorant of Columbo's abilities and ruses (though in

all fairness, it is not clear how attentive Halperin was to his duties

and it did seem Columbo knew the Commissioner by reputation). However,

the cases with the attorneys are the ones which best serve the point.

Whether we as viewers see more of these incredulous situations is solely

up to the writers and editors who chronicle Columbo's cases. I beseech

them: pay attention to who Columbo is, the type of reputation he has,

and with whom he is likely to have already come in contact. If you must

pit him against an attorney he does not know, please have that attorney

be one who specializes in something other in criminal law. One example

where this was done well was in The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case with

the murderer being tax attorney Oliver Brandt. Similarly, if you do find

among Columbo's case files another murderous criminal attorney (or

police official), please develop the script as though they are on to

each other (besides, the cat- and-mouse game would improve by legions

this way).

And as long as I have the attention of the writers (or am under the

delusion that I do), I would like to suggest that Sgt. Hubach of Columbo

and the Murder of a Rock Star (as played by Sandra Currie) become a

regular or at least semi-regular character. Her active demeanor and

polished professionalism provides a solid contrast to Columbo without

turning either into a stereotype: my compliments to those who created

the character and Ms. Currie who played her well.


Glossary of Terms


In discussing Columbo episodes, certain terms will be repeated. Here are

some definitions:

Final clue--that last clue, be it a piece of evidence that places the

murderer at the scene or a trick that is incriminating, that takes the

last fifteen minutes of an episode and leads Columbo to say (in earlier

times) "Officer" or (more recently) "book him, suspicion of murder"

(whatever that means).

First clue--that first observation made by Columbo and missed by others

that leads the Lt. to believe that the body in front of him did not

result from the accident, suicide, etc. that the murderer has set up.

Behavioral clue--as discussed in this issue, an observation by Columbo

of odd behavior by the murderer, either in doing something unexpected

(fainting) or not doing something expected (inquiring after a kidnapped



Letter to the Editor


I hereby charge Peter Falk/Producers of Columbo and Angela

Lansbury/Producers of Murder, She Wrote of commiting the perfect crime .

. . the crime of bigotry and insensitivity. At this writing, they have

yet to acknowledge and credit any black person with the intelligence,

capability and savvy to plan and commit a "perfect" murder. Until this

grievous and injurious practice is remedied, I and many other "quota"

fanatics will, for our black friends, demand a rightful and

constitutional place in the (up to now) lily-white murderer's row of


Robert Robusto, Bel Air, MD


Editor's Review - Ransom for a Dead Man


(2 hour movie)

Airdate: 3/1/71

Murderer: Leslie Williams (Lee Grant);

Victim: Paul Williams (Harlan Warde);

Other Cast: Michael Clark (John Fink), Mr. Carlson (Harold Gould),

Margaret Williams (Patricia Mattick), Hammond (Paul Carr), Phil (Jed

Allen), Richard (Charles Macaulay), attorney (Henry Brandt), Pat (Jeane

Byron), Perkins (Richard Roat), Celia (Norma Connolly), Crowell (Bill

Walker), Bert (Timothy Carey), judge (Judson Morgan), priest (Richard

O'Brien), Gloria (Celeste Yarnell), Nancy (Lisa Moore), waitress (Lois

Battle), mechanic (Reginald Fenderson)

Written by: Dean Hargrove, from a story by Richard Levinson and William

Link Directed by: Richard Irving

Executive Producer: Richard Irving

Music: Billy Goldenberg




Lawyer Leslie Williams shoots her husband Paul and dumps the body in the

ocean. The next day, she creates the scenario that he has been

kidnapped. A trained crew from the FBI and a shopworn L.A. Lieutenant

named Columbo follow her in a helicopter as she flies her private plane

to the "drop site" and tosses out an empty bag, keeping the ransom money

for herself. All goes well until her stepdaughter Margaret comes home

from Zurich and immediately suspects Leslie of foul play. Margaret finds

an ally in Columbo, who has already noticed little details such as the

oddity of criminals in a hurry taking the cash and leaving the bag, the

small caliber bullet used to murder Paul Williams (so that blood

wouldn't splatter in the house), the car keys instinctively removed from

the ignition, the fact that the seat was moved up (to accommodate the

shorter Leslie) and Leslie's odd behavior--failing to inquire about her

husband's well being when he called (actually a tape Leslie made from

various legal conversations of Paul's) and then suddenly fainting at the

news of the discovery of his body. Margaret picks up on the missing keys

idea and tries to frame Leslie by having a set copied and claiming the

keys are her father's, but Columbo catches her in the act. Leslie has

had more than enough of Margaret when the young woman offers to go away

if Leslie will pay her off. Leslie does so and escorts Margaret to the

airport, where she is met by Columbo. It was a trick, predicated upon

the Lt.'s observation that Leslie has no conscience and would therefore

believe that Margaret would actually accept money to conceal the murder

of her own father. Leslie has to admit that Columbo is very good at what

he does.




Plot: Although Leslie's scheme is ingenious, the movie takes far too

long to set it up and wastes enormous amounts of time on two flying

sequences, which neither advance the plot nor show us anything more

about the Lt.'s character than that he doesn't like flying. Although the

scene in Dead Weight in which Gen. Hollister makes Columbo seasick has

been called a duplication of the flying sequences in this movie, the

fact is that the second instance works better, because Columbo still

manages to ask the murderer some serious questions. Here we just get two

scenes of the Lt. turning green. There are a lot more clues here than in

Prescription: Murder and the result is a much better movie, but Columbo

spots many "behavioral clues" in this movie, and as compared with alibis

and physical evidence, these clues simply do not work very well. For

example, much is made of Leslie's failure to inquire after the husband

on the phone and her sudden loss of consciousness after she has kept

such control before. The problem with these observations is that they

are not very interesting, and to the extent they are revealing, that

fact should have been obvious to Leslie as well as Columbo. By contrast,

one of the best clues is the caliber of the bullet; Columbo has

correctly inferred that Leslie used a .22 so as to leave no traces in

the room. This is a good clue, because there's nothing she could have

done about it (except by having the husband meet her elsewhere) and

because, even though we observe the murder, we cannot guess that she has

left this clue. On the other hand, any emotion she exhibits or fails to

exhibit is the result of a conscious decision on her part, and although

she is credited with being intelligent, she makes a number of poor

decisions relating to her behavior. The final clue, another trick, is

better than the trick pulled on Dr. Fleming, but still somewhat

questionable. Although the deception should not be as apparent to Leslie

as it should have been to Dr. Fleming, one may question how the notion

that she is lacking in conscience means that she cannot recognize that

Margaret is torturing her precisely because she thinks Leslie killed

Paul Williams. The fact that she might accept money to cover up a murder

does not mean that she would assume others would do the same; good

lawyers (and we are told she is one) should know how idiosyncratic human

nature is. Also, sad to say, someone neglected to include a line about

the money being marked, because without that evidence, it becomes

difficult to prove that the money given Margaret is the exact money used

for the ransom. All in all, however, this is a much better mystery movie

than Prescription: Murder was.

Acting: Both Peter Falk and Lee Grant are very good, and the scenes

between them are both realistic and interesting to watch. There is a

problem, however, with the character of Margaret. Up to the point when

Leslie puts the money in the safe, the movie has set up the usual

one-on-one confrontation between the detective and the murderer that is

a hallmark of Columbo, and it promises to be a fascinating match. But

suddenly an 800-pound gorilla is thrown into the fray, and the entire

framework changes. That is to say, although Margaret is a believable, if

annoying, character (and she is well played by Patricia Mattick), she

takes over the role of prime mover. After Margaret enters the scene, it

is she who seems to prod Columbo forward when he gives up, she who con

vinces him that there was a motive, and she who drives Leslie to make

the fatal mistake. Never again in the series' history would a

non-murderer command so much of the attention, and it detracts from what

otherwise would be a much more solid one-on-one confrontation. The

Columbo character's behavior is less serious than in Prescription:

Murder but still more serious than in most series episodes, but the

scene in the restaurant is troublesome; why does he keep pushing food

when Margaret has come to discuss a serious subject? His tone with

Leslie is excellent, even to the end, when he presents the evidence in a

straightforward manner and accepts her compliment, but does not lord his

victory over her.

Directing: Like the first movie, this one contains some innocuous

stunts, such as having Leslie apparently forget her husband's briefcase,

only to come back for it. But it also contains a few heavy-handed

directorial tricks, such as having Leslie's face superimposed over the

car, so that the headlights become her eyes. As previously noted, the

flying scenes both take too long, and the courtroom scene is completely

unbelievable (as Leslie listens to Michael Clark tell her there's no

news about Paul, she objects to a question we haven't even been able to


Other: The music is appropriate and complements the movie well. The

title is acceptable, considering that this was a movie not an episode in

a television show. Movie titles usually refer appropriately to the

subject of murder when that is their topic; whereas an episode of

Columbo can afford to drop the reference to murder (it's already known)

and concentrate on the murderer's profession or other relevant factors.

Future issues will comment on the episode titles and, when the editor

has a better suggestion, it will be included in the review.


A Brief History of Columbo


Although the Columbo Newsletter began last issue with a discussion of

Prescription: Murder, the concept of the rumpled Lieutenant has its

origins somewhat earlier than February 20, 1968. As detailed at greater

length in Mark Dawidziak's The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (and in his

article beginning on page 1 of this issue, containing information not

included in his book), the earliest traces can be found in a short story

that the mystery writing team of Richard Levinson and William Link wrote

for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. That story was called May I

Come In, but the magazine changed the title to Dear Corpus Delecti. In

it, the story included the alibi for the murder and ended with a knock

on the door; if the detective had entered, it would have been Columbo.

The character of Columbo did appear in an adaptation of the story called

Enough Rope that was shown as a one-hour installment of The Chevy

Mystery Show on NBC during the summer of 1961. Enough Rope featured

character actor Bert Freed (later a regular on the tv series Shane) as

Columbo. Enough Rope was then rewritten as a full-length stage play and

the title changed to Prescription: Murder. The play went on tour for

twenty-five weeks in 1962 in the United States and Canada, with famous

actor Joseph Cotten as Dr. Ray Fleming and veteran character actor

Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life, among many other

fine roles) as Lieutenant Columbo (see Mark Dawidziak's article

beginning on page 1 of this issue). Several years later, the stage play

was submitted to Universal Studios, which was looking for tv movie

projects. The result was Prescription: Murder, discussed at length in

the last issue.

In 1971, Universal and NBC suggested a Columbo series and, partly to

make the idea palatable to Peter Falk, who had other commitments on

stage and in the movies, they proposed the idea of a rotating "wheel" of

two other programs, so that Columbo would appear only six times a year

in a ninety-minute format. Strangely, however, the network then

requested a second pilot of Columbo. Although surprised, Levinson and

Link agreed, drawing a script that was fleshed out by Dean Hargrove. The

result was the tv movie Ransom for a Dead Man, discussed at length in

this issue. Ransom for a Dead Man, like Prescription: Murder, was a

success critically and in the ratings. After it aired in March, Levison

and Link were again approached about the possibility of a Columbo series

within the context of a larger NBC mystery wheel. They agreed, and The

NBC Mystery Movie was born.

Between April and September, 1971, Levinson, Link, Falk and their crew

created seven original ninety-minute Columbo episodes, one more than

originally promised. These were shown on Wednesday nights from 8:30 to

10:00, rotating with two other series, McCloud and McMillan and Wife.

The NBC Mystery Movie proved so popular (it finished fourteenth overall

in the ratings that season) that NBC moved the wheel to Sunday night and

created an entirely new wheel of mystery programs for Wednesday

evenings. The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie lasted two years and consisted

of Madigan, rotating first with Cool Million and Banacek, and then with

Tenafly, Faraday and Company, and The Snoop Sisters. Beginning in

January, 1974, this wheel was moved to Tuesday and renamed The NBC Tue

sday Night Mystery.

During its second season, Columbo rotated on Sunday nights with McCloud,

McMillan and Wife and a new fourth show, Hec Ramsey. It was during this

season that the format began to vary, with some episodes of the mystery

wheel series running ninety minutes and some two hours. This fluctuation

would remain with Columbo through the end of its run in 1978. McCloud

and McMillan and Wife (in its last season, McMillan) would remain with

Columbo throughout its run on The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, but Hec

Ramsey lasted only two seasons. It was replaced, respectively, by Amy

Prentiss (1974-1975), McCoy (1975-1976), Quincy, M.E. (1976) and

Lannigan's Rabbi (1977). During the 1977-1978 television season, NBC

aired five new Columbo episodes on various nights, much in the way Perry

Mason movies would air years later. Columbo then moved to reruns on The

CBS Late Movie, where it ran on various nights of the week from

September, 1979 until September, 1985. During the 1980s, various local

stations also began showing Columbo in syndication, where it is still

available in some cities.

In February, 1989, after a hiatus of eleven years, Columbo returned to

network television with four new episodes on ABC's newly created Monday

Mystery Movie. Beginning with these new episodes, all new episodes of

Columbo (as well as the other mystery wheel elements) have been two

hours long. The other elements in this short-lived venture (it survived

only through the end of the 1990-1991 season) were B.L. Stryker (both

seasons), Gideon Oliver (first season only), Christine Cromwell (second

season only) and, marking its own return after a succesful run from 1973

to 1978 and two subsequent tv movies, Kojak (second season only). During

the 1990-1991 season, the mystery wheel was moved to Saturday night,

where it had originally been intended to run, and it was renamed The ABC

Saturday Mystery. Since the fall of 1991, Universal has continued to

make, and ABC has continued to air, new episodes of Columbo on various

nights on an occasional basis, much like during the 1977-1978 season.

Beginning in January, 1992, ABC made some advances on NBC's powerhouse,

Thursday night, by counter programming the episodes of Columbo produced

since 1989, at present totalling fourteen. The story continues.

By the Editor


... And One More Thing


Next issue (Summer 1992) will focus on Murder by the Book, the first episode of the series, as well as other topics suggested by this episode and the conclusion of Mark Dawidziak's article about Thomas Mitchell.


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