Caution: Murder can be Hazardous to Your Health

Episode 57 – Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

The fifty fifth episode of Columbo was titled Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health and was the second episode of the show’s tenth season. A television presenter’s career is threatened by blackmail and he resorts to murder. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a returning killer and some nifty video editing.

 

 

Wade Anders (George Hamilton) has caught a lucky break and progressed from a security consultant to host the popular crime solving television show Crime Alert. Unhappy with Anders’ success, Budd Clarke (Peter Haskell) resorts to blackmail, threatening to expose Wade’s past as a pornstar in a movie featuring an under-age actress if he doesn’t resign as host of the show. Unwilling to concede to this skulduggery, Anders plots to murder Clarke and conceal the evidence of his past indiscretion.

 

There isn’t a large principal cast in this episode, but Penny Johnson Jerald is compelling as producer Maxine Jarrett, while Robert Donner entertains as Arnie, an adult video store proprietor. Rick Najera makes a brief appearance as Henry Santos, complete with a very fetching clipboard.

 

Daryl Duke was behind the camera for the second of his two Columbo episodes, following Season 9’s Columbo Cries Wolf, working with a story by the mysterious team of Sonia WolfPatricia Ford and April Raynell.

 

If you have thoughts on any aspect of Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health, please share them below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.

 

The Columbo Podcast is widely available – on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to receive and manage your podcasts. If you enjoy the show it would be greatly appreciated if you consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites – particularly iTunes – as that can make a big difference to growing the podcast’s audience.

 

Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health was released in 1991. It is 88 minutes long and originally aired on the ABC network. This episode is not available on Netflix, but can be found on the Season 10 or complete collection DVD box sets from Universal.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • Largo

    Happy New Year, everybody!!! 🙂

    • Happy New Year, Largo, when it comes.

      • Largo

        Yeah, I’m a wee bit too early there. Curses — it’s all due to my recent time displacement experiments. I’m a man out of time …. distortions and matrixes and such. Please forgive me, I’m a tad wonky and kind of weary here, I’m afraid. 😉

  • Think I may have solved the mystery of the writing team for this episode that we touch on in the podcast.

    Sonia Wolf is a pen-name for Judy Lamppu, who notes on her website that she and her writing partner Patricia Ford were lucky enough to have a script read by Peter Falk early in their careers, who insisted on making the episode despite them being unknown writers. The third credited writer is April Raynell. She is credited on a couple of other productions as an assistant to Falk.

    My guess is that Raynell was the one who passed the Wolf/Ford script to Falk.

    Anyone have more information or thoughts to share on this mystery?

    • I have now had a chance to chat with Judy, who confirmed much of my theory. I’ll post the tweets here when I can, to allow you to follow the conversation.

      • Ian Baxter

        Just been reading those on twitter, great bit of insight, well done

    • Nice sleuthing!

  • Guys; I’m a few weeks behind, having got ‘Murder In Malibu’ cued up.

    I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to Gerry and Iain for a year of great podcasts and to the group in general for a year of cheerful and entertaining camaraderie. At least part of 2015 was somewhat challenging for me, having spent a week in hospital circa April then two weeks to recuperate and months of waking up early due to meds. You can believe me when I say that the podcast – and of course the episodes themselves! – have played their part in keeping me distracted when I needed to be.

    Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016…

    • All the best Kieran. Hope 2016 is a little smoother for you!

    • Largo

      I’ll be praying that a much healthier year is in store for you, Kieran. May 2016 bring you not only great health, but also happiness and joy for you and your whole family! 🙂

    • digger01

      Best wishes to you, Kieran, and thanks for all your terrific contributions to the forum!

  • Roberto

    Very enjoyable podcast. And Happy New Year to all.

  • Ian Baxter

    Hmmm… Least sympathetic victim? I think the “sanctimonious hypocrite of a bible-spouting blackmailer” or a few others might be in with a shout.

    A fun episode, a bit heavy handed and obvious at times, especially with the coughing chain smoker.

    Having the killer as a TV personality and a presenter of a crime busting show is an interesting play on the idea of Columbo taking down someone who sees themselves as superior or above the law.

    Thanks for a fun podcast, but it does have to be said… #Iainisamoron ?

    • CarlosMu

      Least sympathetic victim, there’s a great discussion topic. Off the top of my head I’ll propose the guy from “Sex and the married detective”, if only because he said “Yo” 😉

      • Ian Baxter

        Good call… Magic club owner Jesse T. Jerome in ‘Now You See him’ would also be on my list.

        • CarlosMu

          ah yes dear Jesse, to have known him is to have despised him

  • Red Hobbes

    This was a fun episode. Like a sugar cookie, it tastes sweet but it doesn’t fill you up.

    It was fun to see a Robert Stack/John Walsh type get busted by Columbo. George Hamilton always struck me as an underrated actor, because he was quite good in this episode, and in his previous appearance. The permanently arched eyebrow of evil is very prominent. Oddly enough I thought the victim resembled Peter Graves.

    I felt that this was a grudge killing, something that was going to happen. Either Hamilton’s character would kill him, or Faux Peter Graves would kill Hamilton at some point.

    I liked the gotcha, it was one of those slip ups that you could picture a clever but not smart person making.

    Listening to the podcast now fellas. Hope you, and everyone have a great New Year!

  • CarlosMu

    I enjoyed this episode, it’s a nice example of Columbo with his “old man” persona in the later epsiodes.

    But the method of killing bothered me. It sounded like he was surprised to hear Columbo thought it was murder, but what else could it have been? Was he trying to make it look like he died of a nicotine overdose from smoking? But no one ever dies from that, so that plan couldn’t possibly have worked.

    • I guess he maybe thought they wouldn’t notice the elevated nicotine and assume it was a heart attack.

  • Stu Levine

    Astonished that no one mentioned Penny Johnson’s co-starring role in one of the top 10 American TV shows of all time, The Larry Sanders Show, in which she played Larry’s faithful assistant Beverly.

    • Sorry we missed it, but the Larry Sanders Show does get more of a mention in a couple of weeks’ time!

      • How many weeks ahead to you guys record? Just curious….

        • As many as possible! Usually we’re about ten days ahead, but we’re hoping to get through the last ten episodes by the end of February.

    • CarlosMu

      that’s awesome, nice job! Interesting question about the writing credit, maybe a bit of a Ken Franklin situation going on? (but without the murders). But I guess we have to assume they all did the actual writing.

      • I think I mentioned elsewhere that the third ‘writer’ is listed as an assistant to Falk in a couple of other episodes and films. My best guess is she was the link, but Lamppu and Ford did the writing.

        Was interested to note they had the authority to overrule a Falk request!

        • CarlosMu

          Yes, I enjoyed that, “we ignored him and left them in”. From her lengthy IMDB bio, written by herself, I think she probably does a lot of things she doesn’t necessarily have the authority to do. At the end it says her upcoming autobiography will be called “Bitch on Wheels”. lol

  • Roberto

    Thanks CPT for going the extra mile to contact people associated with this episode. It is gratifying to know that they respond to their fans’ inquiries. Of course, there is the famous case of the leading actor who later in life could not remember anything about starring in a Columbo episode. Jeez, I am blanking on who it was. Was it Nicol Williamson??

    • It was indeed. At least that was what he claimed, although I (Gerry) suspect there may have been an element of artistic snobbery at play.

      Unfortunately, the sadder answer to your question could be Peter Falk himself.

  • Running behind the last couple of weeks. Loved the old newspaper article on Hamilton–great find. Also thought the article on Haskell was interesting. And noticed Duke also directed Griffin and Phoenix (1976), which starred Falk. I found an overseas bootleg of the movie and watched it not long ago (don’t believe it was ever released on DVD here). Great movie. Well. Decent movie with some great performances. ANyone here ever seen it?

  • A decent episode of Columbo, I thought. Watchable. Liked Hamilton here, but thought he was able to give a better performance his first time around as a Columbo killer. I think just because the script was higher quality. Great podcast–thanks Gerry and Iain.