Publish or Perish

Episode 20 – Publish or Perish

The twentieth episode of Columbo was titled Publish or Perish and was the fifth episode of the show’s third season. Self-incrimination, home-made explosives and literary rivalries make for a dramatic combination. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look between the lines for clues and mistakes that let Columbo turn the page on this mystery.

 

 

The cast of Publish or Perish is headlined by the return of Jack Cassidy as our primary antagonist, publisher Riley Greenleaf. There are parallels with Cassidy’s Columbo debut in Season 1’s opener Murder by the Book, his tête-à-tête with Peter Falk a highlight of both episodes. Cassidy was a prolific television actor in the 60s and 70s and picked up Emmy nominations for his work on the TV movie The Andersonville Trial in 1970 and on the series He & She in 1967 before appearing with Clint Eastwood in 1975’s The Eiger Sanction.

 

Cassidy and Falk were the focus of this episode, but there was room for John Davis Chandler to steal a couple of scenes as assassin-cum-victim Eddie Kane, while decorated author and writer Mickey Spillane guested as primary victim Alan Mallory, whose character seemed to be inspired, at least in part, by Spillane himself. Mariette Hartley as Mallory’s literary agent Eileen McRae and Jacques Aubuchon as Greenleaf’s rival publisher Jeffrey Neal added a little colour to proceedings, while Jack Bender – who would go on to find success as a director and executive producer on a number of popular shows – made a brief appearance as Wolpert, the courier for Mallory’s transcription company. Alan Fudge put in an entertaining performance as David Chase, Greenleaf’s attorney.

 

Fan favourites James Sikking, in an uncredited role as an LAPD cop; Maryesther Denver, as the maligned wife of Greenleaf’s car crash victim; and Ted Gehring, as the security guard in Mallory’s office building, also caught the eye in this episode.

 

Director Robert Butler made his second and final appearance behind the Columbo camera after helming Season 2’s Double Shock, while Peter S. Fischer was responsible for writing the first of his nine episodes (two under the pseudonym ‘Lawrence Vail’). Fischer would co on to create Murder, She Wrote, a show whish has experienced enduring success and great popularity.

 

We asked listeners if they could remember whether the return of Jack Cassidy was highly promoted when this episode originally aired, so add your thoughts on that or any aspect of Publish or Perish 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.

 

Publish or Perish was released in 1974. It is 73 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

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

  • Largo

    “Publish Or Perish” is a pretty good Columbo episode overall, but it’s not one of my personal favorites. However, this particular episode is the very top favorite of both Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok from SCTV’s “Farm Film Report” review show. Needless to say, it’s their absolute favorite Columbo Mystery Movie because of all the explosions therein or to put it in their own words: “It blowed up good — yeah, real good!” Plus, it may come as no surprise that the Columbo episodes “A Bird In The Hand” and “Short Fuse” are in the number two and three spots, respectively, on Big Jim McBob’s and Billy Sol Hurok’s top Columbo episodes list.

    “Publish Or Perish” may not be on my own top 20 Columbo episodes list, but I still feel that overall it’s a fairly decent Columbo mystery — albeit with a few nagging problems. For me, this episode has one too many convenient clues dropped into the script that makes it so much easier for Lt. Columbo to put things together: all of that nonsense involving the key and the rental office door lock and, most of all, that blasted revised and “happy” ending to the Vietnam novel. Both of these script contrivances also involves a conveniently dumbed-down Riley Greenleaf (played by the late, great Jack Cassidy) where he has absolutely no knowledge of any of these items — and this is all a little too unbelievable for me.

    One of the very first questions any locksmith is going to ask you if you’re requesting a lock change is, “Are you the owner?” — and you’ll have to back that claim up, too. Alan Mallory wasn’t the owner of that office building and Riley Greenleaf was the one with his own signature on the lease for that one office that Mallory used. Sorry, but I don’t buy this particular script contrivance for a second: only owners through managers or a property management company can make the final request for a major change like this one involving the rental office door lock.

    The other unbelievable item for me is that sappy drivel that is spouted by Mariette Hartley’s Eileen McRae character that involves that embarrassing “happy” / revised ending to Mallory’s Vietnam novel. But the motivating factor here is to simply please a movie studio and their star actor? I’m not buying this at all. But what I can believe is Alan Mallory telling everyone to take a flying leap and to let him write his novel in his own way. Then later on the studio can pay to have said novel adapted however they want — just like movie production companies always do, eh. Hey, what an original thought, huh? And Eileen and her boss are telling Columbo that he doesn’t know how the publishing world really operates? Whatever!

    A related plot point that also bothers me is the fact that Alan Mallory had absolutely no written record of his original ending to his Vietnam novel — not even an outline (at least something to show prospective clients). Really? He dictated an outline for the recently revised ending, so why not one for the original downbeat ending (I guess we’re supposed to accept that this particular area of the creative process was done in a complete vacuum — sorry, but not me)? And such a clever publisher as Riley Greenleaf doesn’t have a clue at all concerning a major change such as this to Mallory’s novel? Greenleaf must have had the original downbeat ending in some form, courtesy of that secretly paid lackey and all of those pilfered transcriptions. I dunno …. But do all of these script contrivances completely cripple this episode for me? No, they don’t — however, they do kind of bug me whenever I watch this one.

    Another thing that irritates me whenever I watch “Publish Or Perish” is the casting of non-actor Mickey Spillane as Alan Mallory. I’ve never liked this “author” of trashy pulp detective novels. Mickey Spillane was a dirtbag and a misogynist — why should I candy-coat how I feel about him? The very best Mike Hammer film adaptation is Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and this is one of the very best films from the Fifties, too. But Mickey Spillane hated this film — because this film actually dares to comment on the defects in Mike Hammer’s moral character and it turns his pulp detective origins and world inside out and upside down. This is great stuff and one of my top favorite film noir thrillers.

    Something that really amuses me about this Columbo episode is the casting of John Chandler as explosives expert and all-around nut job, Eddie Kane. Whenever I see him on the screen, I think to myself, “There goes Frank Gorshin’s evil older brother.” Do any of you think of a meaner version of Frank Gorshin when you see John Chandler here? I always get a big smile on my face whenever (the most excellent) Jack Cassidy and John Chandler are in a scene together: with Riley Greenleaf pretending to go along and to entertain Eddie Kane’s particular delusions of grandeur. I also get a big smile on my face whenever Mariette Hartley is on the screen — but for entirely different reasons. Besides her portrayal of sexy Zarabeth in the Star Trek episode, “All Our Yesterdays,” have any of you guys seen her as Layra-a, the woman with two navels in that cheesy telefilm, Genesis II? Uhmm, okay …. never mind then. Sorry about that, eh.

    Did any of you enjoy all of the explosions during the opening credits to “Publish Or Perish?” How do all of you feel about explosions in general? Do any of you feel that there should be more explosions on television and in movies? How do all of you feel about people blowing up in films and on television? Do you think that there should be more people blowing up in movies and on television? Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok want to know what you think about all things blowing up on television and in films. Please share your thoughts and opinions with them at:

    wegotstaknow@farmfilmreport.com

    So in closing, I’ll just say ‘Be seeing you!’ and then end with these words from Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok:

    • Not familiar with the Farm Film Report sketch. I wonder if it made its way across the ocean?

      • Largo

        Well, I sure hope that you’ve heard of SCTV — Second City Television out of Tronto, Canada. It starred Harold Ramis, John Candy, Eugene Levey, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Martin Short and a few others throughout it’s run on television (both in syndication and on the NBC network). Certainly you’ve heard of Bob and Doug McKenzie of “The Great White North” fame, right? If you haven’t, you can just take off, ya hoser! 😉

        • Ian Baxter

          I’m speechless…

          • Largo

            Do you mean to say that you’ve not heard of the McKenzie Brothers? Bob and Doug McKenzie say things like, “G’Day” and “Take Off” and “Hoser” or “Hosehead” and end most every sentence with “eh.” They both love to talk about beer and back bacon and toques and going to Donut World.

            I see that my YouTube links to SCTV’s “Farm Film Report” have been approved and are now active. Are you folks across the pond in the UK able to watch these YT clips that I linked to, eh? If you answer in the affirmative, I’ll post a link to “The Great White North” that comically explains why this two-minute show was created in the first place.

          • Ian Baxter

            In for a penny in for a pound…

          • Largo

            Well, it’s been around five hours since I posted that YouTube link to one of the very first segments of “The Great White North” (aka “Kanadian Korner”) and it still hasn’t been approved. So here are Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug (Dave Thomas) McKenzie with a special message for DISQUS:

          • Apologies for the tardiness, I was at the theatre. All approved now!

          • Largo

            No problemo, eh. I highly approve of the theater. My ire was directed at DISQUS for this inane blocking of links in the first place (I’m assuming that moderators can’t toggle this particular blocking function off within DISQUS). In fact, DISQUS kind of sucks: you can’t edit your pictures and you can’t actually delete a post! 🙁

          • It’s not so bad. As moderation goes, I can loosen the reins a little, but it exposes the site to spam messages. This way I only need to remember to check the pending list every now and then!

          • Largo

            Understood loud and clear, eh. That blasted spam must be avoided at all costs. Thank you for all of your moderating efforts here!

          • Adrian Carsini

            ‘At the theatre’. How refreshing. Gentleman – you have renewed my faith in human nature.

    • Peter

      I definitely agree that Chandler reminds me of Frank Gorshin. Same twisted smile. I think the interactions between Chandler and Gorshin were priceless and made this an enjoyable episode. Great comments as usual Largo.

      • Largo

        Thank you, Peter! Chandler and Cassidy and their interactions together make up for this episode’s shortcomings big time. Jack Cassidy’s performance alone is incredibly enjoyable and definitely keeps this episode from crumbling apart.

      • To me he looks like he is related to Steve Buscemi.

    • If you tune in on Thursday, Largo, you may find that you are not alone in your appreciation for these gentlemen.

      • Largo

        I’ll be sitting by my short wave radio on Thursday and anxiously awaiting your next Columbo broadcast! I’ll be anxiously awaiting your next Columbo podcast this coming Thursday, eh!

  • CarlosMu

    Interesting observations, Largo, I enjoyed the references to the Farm Film Report and also the very good Season 11 episode, A Bird in the Hand. Also thanks for not spoiling the exact nature of that explosion which is actually somewhat of a shock, unusual for “Columbo.”

    About the locksmith, I got the idea that Riley had seedy underworld friends in every line of business. So when he needed locksmithing done, no questions asked, he just called up his friend Moishe. He probably had similar connections for illicit auto repairs, house cleaning, surgery, etc.

    • Largo

      Thanks, Carlos! So do you also think that Alan Mallory had some nefarious types changing the office door lock as well? But I dunno — I still find all of this door lock changing stuff just a “gimme” bit of nonsense for Columbo to wrangle the killer in short order.

      “Farm Film Report” is such a classic comedy routine and I just can’t help but think of Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok whenever I watch “Publish Or Perish” — especially during the opening credits. There are some good clips of “Farm Film Report” on YouTube — the ones involving Brooke Shields and Meryl Streep are must see comedy segments.

      • Mallory was a bestselling author and probably very well known. I’d imagine fewer questions would be asked of him than of other customers.

        • Largo

          Hmmm. Yeah, Mallory was very well known for peddling trashy sex novels that were “garbage.” But did that get him on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? I don’t think so! One does not become well known or famous until they are on with Carson. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it, eh! 😉

      • CarlosMu

        wow the story was even more complex than I thought, I didn’t even realize that Mallory also had the lock changed. Is there any character in this episode that didn’t order that lock changed?

        • Largo

          Well, like Columbo has said, “We can’t rule anybody out at this point” concerning folks ordering the lock changes. 🙂

      • Guest

        Oops, this was meant to be a separate post.

  • Ian Baxter

    Just a quick point… the piano music being played in the early nightclub scene, if I’m not mistaken, is the same music from the pilot episode ‘Ransom for a Dead Man’. You can hear it in the background from 14:36 in the podcast during the clip that was chosen.

    That’s it for now… I’m off to join a monastery…

    • Largo

      Good catch, Ian. William Goldenberg did the music scores for both of these Columbo Mystery Movies. Hopefully you’ll join a monastery that has Wi-Fi so you can keep in touch with all of us!
      😉

      • Ian Baxter

        Got thrown out the monastery for looking at Largo’s pictures of Arlene Martel in the Double Exposure comments 🙁

        • Largo

          Oh dear! I feel so guilty and ashamed. I’m very sorry about all of this, Ian. So now I’m not going to post those sexy pictures of Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth and as Layra-a. 🙁

          • Ian Baxter

            Well now I’m out the monastery you may as well… 🙂

          • Largo

            Well, okay — since that’s the case and the fact that you’re twisting my arm a little with those terribly persuasive words. So in the spirit of Greenleaf Publishing and their particular kind of product, here are some sexy pictures of Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth in the Star Trek episode, “All Our Yesterdays” — complete with her provocative cavewoman-like attire that enticed even Mr. Spock:

          • Largo

            Continuing on, here is Mariette Hartley as Layra-a from the unsold series pilot film, Genesis II (1973), which was written and produced by Gene Roddenberry and aired on the CBS television network:

          • Largo

            Layra-a has an interesting mutation: two hearts, which also means two navels. This was an inside joke that Roddenberry included in this telefilm due to the NBC network censors forbidding all displays of this particular part of the female anatomy during the early production days on Star Trek. So here is a shocking close-up of Layra-a’s double navel:

          • Ian Baxter

            I’ve always thought Peter Falk does a very good ’embarrassed’. I can just picture Columbo stumbling onto set and falling over himself not knowing where to look as he blushes.

          • Largo

            Yes, indeed! Poor Columbo! However, once we get to the episode, “Identity Crisis,” this gets a bit complicated when Columbo becomes infatuated with that belly dancer.

            Speaking of female tummies: I must confess that I do believe I have a female navel fetish of sorts. This is where my eyes tend to zero-in on whenever I encounter a woman in a bikini or with just a bare midriff. And who do I blame for this particular fetish? Why those blasted NBC television network censors who for years denied me the pleasure of seeing Jeannie’s navel on the NBC Sixties sitcom, I Dream Of Jeannie. I was a precocious lad back then and these NBC network censors ended up scarring me for life! 😉

          • Bet you really enjoyed the dancing scene in ‘Any Old Port…’ then…

          • Largo

            Yes — it was a hypnotizing highlight. Needless to say, the pause and frame advance buttons got quite the workout on the DVD remote. It’s shame that they didn’t show that brunette’s face when she sashays across the screen in that one shot (can you say, “perfect midriff?”). However, Joyce Jillson was absolutely stunning in that white one-piece swimsuit! 🙂

          • Largo

            I don’t know what came over me. Something compelled me to do it!

          • Largo

            Something still is compelling me!

          • Largo

            I have definitely lost control!

          • Not sure I like the fact they’ve cut the poor woman’s head off in these pictures. Talk about objectification!!

          • Largo

            Well, I’m still steamed about not being able to see this actresses’ face (as I previously noted in an earlier post above). I guess Robert Butler suffers from the same female navel fetish that I do, eh. It’s ironic that just a couple of years prior to the production of “Any Old Port In A Storm,” NBC wouldn’t have allowed this shot sequence to air at all.

          • I suggest you find a quiet place, then sit down and take deep breaths. Inhale-exhale etc. it would be interesting to know who this actress was and whether she is indeed still working. Now that’s a challenge!

          • Largo

            I concur and I have found a quiet place — I’m at work now. Sheesh, that ‘Night Largo’ dude is quite the pest now, isn’t he? This is ‘Day Largo’ and I’m getting very weary of waking up and finding what a nuisance ‘Night Largo’ has been! I do believe that ‘Night Largo’ needs medication.

          • That’s easily remedied without medication. As a certified hypnotist I would merely replace the image of the dancing girl in your subconscious with that of Robbie the Robot. Problem solved.

          • Largo

            Well, I don’t believe that will work. The dancing girl / midriff stuff is really deep-seated. Navels, Kieran — female navels from the Id!

          • Sounds familiar.

          • Largo

            Indeed! 🙂

          • You should make it your life’s work to identify the dancing girl. She deserves credit for an outstanding performance, although strictly speaking she wasn’t out standing, she was out dancing. 😉

          • Largo

            I’m going to have to pass on that one, Kieran. I’ve made it my life’s work to banish the barbaric practice of navel piercing.

          • Adrian Carsini

            Really! This is quite outrageous. That said, please do forward a source of which more of these pictures are available as, upon my release, this has given me an idea for a sideline in rum [working title of ‘Old Double Naval’…

    • Always love this kind of trivia when it’s casually dropped into the comments. Nice one!

    • Well done that man. You beat me to it!

  • digger01

    I think Jack Cassidy could read the phone book and somehow make it interesting. I agree with Largo that this episode doesn’t quite have enough cream to rise to the top of the Columbo catalog, but it’s still a lot of fun.

    Looking forward to listening to Gerry and Iain’s take. Keep up the great work, guys!

    • Thanks digger, hope you enjoy the podcast!

      • digger01

        I enjoyed it greatly, thanks!

        Just another little piece of trivia: This episode also has a cast connection to M*A*S*H. There are 3 actors in “Publish Or Perish” who appeared in M*A*S*H… James B. Sikking (uncredited as a cop) appeared as a Finance Officer, Mariette Hartley (Eileen McRae) appeared as a nurse named Inga, and Alan Fudge (lawyer David Chase) appeared as a soldier who was delusional and believed he was Jesus Christ.

        Iain and Gerry, you guys just keep getting better. It’s a weekly highlight to wind down at the end of the day and listen to the podcast.

    • Largo

      Absolutely, digger — Jack Cassidy is a superb actor and his performance here is so enjoyable to watch. I especially like his ‘drunk act’ and his continuing stream of caustic insults thrown at everybody he runs into [heh heh] — and then ending with that great scene in the park with the cops.

      • Largo, if you like caustic humour you should get hold of a ’70s series called ‘Rising Damp’.

        • Largo

          Thanks for the recommendation, Kieran. I’ve never heard of this British sitcom, but I see via Google that it starred Leonard Rossiter. Rossiter portrayed one of the Russian scientists in my favorite film of all time: 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the “Everything is science-fiction” paradigm continues.

  • Ian Baxter

    I’m not the biggest Star Trek fan but I know there a few podcast followers that are… found this little bit of trivia for you all… the cop from this episode (James Sikking) had a part in the film ‘Star Trek III The Search for Spock’ as Captain Styles.

    Looks like he learnt from his experiences with Cassidy on Columbo and decided to grow a tash for this new role 🙂

    • Largo

      Another great catch, Ian!!! Thanks!!!

      Attention Gerry and Iain: could we please have an update to the show notes so that James B. Sikking is included, complete with a Memory Alpha link? Pretty please with sugar on top? The Star Trek Connection must continue — I’m such a huge (hopeless) Trek fan! 🙂

  • Ian Baxter

    I do like the watches that get used in Columbo, they are a regular feature of many episodes. I know Columbo himself has many tropes, but the killers also have many reoccurring similarities…

    A distinctive car
    An impressive watch
    An inability to stop talking

    just to name three…

    Mr Greenleaf has another good example…

  • CarlosMu

    there is a possibility that the writers had a real publishing company in mind. There was a real-life “Greenleaf Classics”, if you google them and look at some of the book covers (careful if you are at work) you can see what type of literature they produced.

    One author that wrote for them under a pseudonym was Harlan Ellison, who happened to have been mentioned by Largo last week. See how it all comes full circle?

    • Largo

      That’s uncanny, Carlos! Everything is science-fiction, just like Ric Ocasek sang in that Cars tune!
      😉

  • Ian Baxter

    Been looking up couple more extras… Police camera man ‘Kramer’ played by Davis Roberts was also an unaccredited cop in Candidate for Crime… and also appeared in Star Trek ‘The Empath’ as Dr Ozaba

    • Largo

      Yes! The Star Trek Connection continues! Thanks, Ian!

  • Ian Baxter

    Another extra with a Star Trek link is Ted Gehring, who plays the security guard… he was a police officer in Star Trek ‘Assignment Earth’

    • Largo

      Yes, yes!! The Star Trek Connection still continues! Thanks again, Ian!

  • Ian Baxter

    Ok… last one, I promise… Maryesther Denver (the lady in the VW camper van)… also had a Star Trek moment as a witch in Star Trek ‘Catspaw’…

    • Largo

      Yes, yes, yes!!! The Star Trek Connection still continues at Warp 7! Thanks once again, Ian!

      Hmmm. It looks like Denver did get plastic surgery after 1967, but it didn’t help at all. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one, eh)

      • Speaking of plastic surgery, did you ever see a film called ‘Seconds’, directed by John Frankenheimer?

        • Largo

          Yes, I have seen this film, Kieran. But it was many years ago. So, do tell: what’s the connection to this week’s Columbo episode?

          • Rock Hudson!

          • Ian Baxter

            There must be a good tricky quiz question about stars mentioned in Columbo without appearing… Rock Hudson, Betty Davis, a couple more in ‘How to Dial a Murder’

          • Largo

            Boogers! I was thinking of an onscreen appearance or someone involved in the actual production of this episode. So now I say, “Duh.”[I’m such a hosehead, eh]

      • Also in the show notes now.

        • Largo

          Thanks once again! You rock!!!

  • Largo

    What a completely enjoyable podcast, gentlemen! I’m going to have to give this one five stars ***** out of five stars ***** because it was such a superb podcast. “Publish Or Perish” has a wonderfully complex plot, and me being a ‘nuts and bolts’ type of dude, I relished all of your discussion about the plot quite thoroughly. You both even talked about the weird nonsense involved with Mallory’s contract having an expiration date of sorts rather than being predicated on X number of books to be produced. This is great stuff to continue to contemplate! But I have to admit that I overlooked this particular detail and I just had to smile at the logic you both used when ferreting out this odd little bit.

    I also enjoyed the dismay you both expressed about the two items that continue to bug me whenever I watch this episode: the business with the door lock and that idiotic “happy” ending to Alan Mallory’s Vietnam novel that is suggested by the literary agent, Eileen McRae (portrayed by Mariette Hartley). I’m going to quote Iain here — on Riley’s lock changing scheme: “It doesn’t make any sense!” — and on the new ending to the novel: “Terrible.” I concur, but unfortunately both of these items annoy me a lot more than they do for both of you. You see, I wouldn’t rate “Publish Or Perish” as high on the grading scale. For me, this particular Columbo episode only gets a B+ in my book.

    What saves this episode is almost entirely due to the excellent performance of its guest star: the always wonderful and compelling Jack Cassidy. Like I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts here, Jack Cassidy’s portrayal of publisher Riley Greenleaf goes a very long way in compensating for this episode’s sloppy plot mechanics. Which does’t mean that this episode’s supporting players are lacking — not at all. Jack Cassidy gets wonderful support from the rather sinister John Chandler and the very lovely Mariette Hartley and both of these actors contribute greatly to this episode’s overall ‘charm.’ And hey — Mariette Hartley does what she can with those insipid lines concerning Rock Hudson, Universal Studios and heroes running off to a monastery. It’s the script’s fault!

    However, having Jack Cassidy in the cast raises everybody’s performances, including Peter Falk’s, in my very humble opinion. The ‘cat and mouse’ scenes are very well done here and in some ways are, I dare say, a little more electric than in “Murder By The Book.” But unlike that initial episode, “Publish Or Perish” just doesn’t convince me that Riley Greenleaf is as arrogant and as painfully unaware as Ken Franklin appeared to be. Greenleaf comes across as far more cunning and intelligent than Ken Franklin — at least to me he does. Which is why it is so disheartening to me when Peter S. Fischer’s script continually seems to dumb down Greenleaf and compel this character to do things that don’t make any sense. Besides the business with the office door lock, both of you highlighted the sloppiness and lack of finesse involved with Greenleaf typing out Mallory’s Vietnam novel outline verbatim instead of changing select details here and there. In short, Cassidy’s portrayal of Greenleaf just seems smarter than what this teleplay forces this character to do. I dunno — just putting in my two cents, eh.

    I heartily agree with what digger said about this current podcast: both of you are getting better and better at producing this Columbo podcast each week and it is something to look forward to listening to every week. But I have to say that it was very unwise of me to eat some Chinese take-out for supper and then unwind on my couch afterward while listening to your podcast this particular evening. This is rather embarrassing to admit, but I fell asleep three different times and had to keep going back to replay what I had missed. This is absolutely no reflection on either one of you gentlemen and your wonderful podcasts, which are NOT boring in the least — it’s a reflection on me and my poor choices here: end-of-the-work-week fatigue and Chinese take-out do not mix at all with your wonderful Columbo podcasts! I believe that there is a lesson here to be learned by all of us. Be seeing you! 🙂

    • digger01

      Great stuff, Largo. I actually think that your dozing off is a testament to the quality of the Columbo Podcast.

      I think that one of best qualities of this podcast is the tone of the conversation between Iain and Gerry. It seems that so many podcasts today center on hyperactive hosts, loud attempts at humor, and forced banter.

      Here we have two guys who don’t yell or insult our intelligence, but simply have a fun, witty, and engaging conversation as if we were all sitting in the room together. There is a feel of storytelling to the podcast. A familiar story to us, but with insights and observations that make it new.

      It all adds up to a great way to kick back and relax, and I hope Gerry and Iain are having as much fun with this ride as we are.

      • Largo

        I’ve got to take my hat off to you, digger — what a wonderful tribute you’ve given to Gerry and Iain and their superb Columbo Podcast! I also truly appreciate Gerry and Iain’s easygoing style and intelligent, in-depth analysis of the Columbo Mystery Movie series. I’ve encountered more than a few of the negative kind of podcasts that you described just now and Gerry and Iain are like a breath of fresh air compared to these.

        Since subscribing to the Columbo Podcast, I’ve actually stopped downloading one web podcast and I’ve unsubscribed from another at iTunes because their respective hosts seemed to be getting high on their own obnoxiousness or something. Nobody needs that! I much prefer to spend time with our two friends from across the pond with their quick wit and their gentle style of conversation that is full of insightful observations on the greatest detective series ever produced. So my podcast anthem now can be best summed up with these words: “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!”

      • Ian Baxter

        Well said

      • Thanks to both of you for your kind words. It really makes a difference to know people are enjoying the podcasts. Much appreciated.

        • You should probably upload a few pictures of yourselves doing ‘your thing’.

          • Ian Baxter

            My Mrs has fallen for Gerry’s pronunciation of the word ‘Murder’ and is worried the picture could be an anti-climax 🙂

          • I’m sure she’s right!

      • I completely concur. As I’ve said previously, it’s like chewing the fat with a couple of old friends. We need to start planning for the first Global Columbo podcast fest/webinar.

        • Largo

          Here, here! I vote for a round-table supplemental type Columbo podcast via Skype.

          • On another note, Largo: are you familiar with an app called ‘QuizUp’? I am absolutely astounded that there isn’t a Columbo category on there. We could all have a lot of fun sharpening our wits on that, although many of us have only seen up to season 3, of course…

          • Largo

            I’m not familiar with this “QuizUp” app, but I see that it will work in iOS 6.1.6, which is the highest OS that I can have on my fourth generation iPod Touch. I’ll have to download this one and check it out. Plus, I’ll have to cuss out Plain Vanilla Games for not having a Columbo category. Thanks for the heads up, Kieran!

    • Don’t worry about dozing off, Largo. you may have merely been exposed to possibly the world’s first example of silent subliminal messaging.

      • Largo

        Nah-uh! My two Scottish friends wouldn’t do that, eh! However, now that I think about it, I was strangely compelled to write up a glowing iTunes review for Gerry and Iain right after I listened to the “Double Exposure” podcast. Kieran …. I’m scared …. WHAT AM I GONNA DO NOW!??!

  • Largo

    EEGAH!!! I’m seeing double images of some creepy-looking bloke in a blood-red shirt! Take it away … take it away … please ….

  • Guys. Really enjoyed your podcast, and thanks for the mention for my ‘Any Old Port In A Storm’ musical effort. All in all ‘Publish or Perish’ was OK, but just didn’t really hit the spot for me. Can’t put my finger on why – Jack Cassidy was excellent – just for some reason it was lacking overall. My favourite two remain ‘Any Old Port’ and ‘Etude In Black’ (Largo – stop rolling your eyes!).

    • Largo

      “A Turd In Black” is one of your favorite top two Columbo episodes!??! Inconceivable!!!!

      • I laugh in the face of cats.

        • Largo

          What!??! That’s horrible! It’s unfathomable!

  • Largo

    Well, I’m depressed and disheartened here. It looks like only my friend, Ian Baxter, truly appreciates the beauty of Mariette Hartley. And nobody ….. nobody has up-voted any of my SCTV YouTube videos! I just don’t understand this …. am I the only one that finds these videos to be humorous??????Inconceivable!!!!

    Be that as it may, I’ll just ‘buck up’ and move on forward. With that in mind — guess what I watched on the DVD last night! If you guessed a science-fiction movie, you’d be spot on, eh! If you guessed anything else, besides a Columbo episode, you’d be DEAD WRONG and I’d tell you to TAKE OFF, EH!!!!

    Hey, but I’m not really angry …. not now, anyway. So — I did my homework for next week’s Columbo episode by watching the science-fiction classic, Forbidden Planet (1956). This film introduced Robby the Robot to moviegoing audiences, and thus, a true science-fiction icon was born! I sure hope that all of you guys know who Robby the Robot is — but more importantly, all of you had better do your homework and watch Forbidden Planet so that you do know. If you choose to NOT do this homework that I’ve assigned here, well …… beware my wrath. Be seeing you!

    • Largo

      Okay, okay — that was a bit dickish of me. But to show you guys that I’m not 100% a dick, I’ll give you a sweet incentive for watching Forbidden Planet this week: Anne Francis (as Altaira) appears in several miniskirts like this one (my personal favorite) throughout the film:

      • Checked out in 2011 (pancreatic cancer). An ex-next-door neighbour of mine has recommended this film several times to me. Funnily enough though, he didn’t mention the mini-skirts. Tell you what, Largo – even though I’ve already watched next week’s episode anyway, I’m going to make a point of watching FP this week. I’m guessing I’ll find it more engaging than I did Citizen Kane today…

        • Largo

          Yes, poor Anne Francis! Unfortunately, she was a smoker — but it’s still such a shame and I truly wish she were still here with us.

          Forbidden Planet (1956) is based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and is the first true ‘A’ budget science-fiction epic produced by a major Hollywood Studio. This film plays like an extended episode of the original Star Trek and, in fact, was a major influence on Gene Roddenberry in the creation of his series.

          • Some memorable pics there. Thanks for sharing, Largo. Looks like a life well lived.

          • Largo

            To make up for not posting some Anne Francis pictures in the “Short Fuse” and “A Stitch In Crime” discussion threads, here are a few more photos to make up for that oversight:

          • Largo

            Heh – hit the post button before I actually finished uploading the pictures, eh.

      • Adrian Carsini

        Sir, have you considered adding some bromide to your tea?

      • I don’t believe anybody is *100%* a dick.

        • Largo

          You got my dick message!!! 🙂

          • Sorry, did you mean ‘message’ or ‘massage’?

          • Largo

            Bah! I’ll let Iain explain this inside joke to you, dogbreath! 😉

            Cats rule and dogs drool! >^..^< Meow!

    • Ian Baxter

      I’ll break it to you gently… I don’t rate ‘Mind over Mayhem’ very highly, and I’ve never seen ‘Forbidden Planet’.

      However, I will endeavour to watch it before Thursday, and we’ll see if the Columbo episode improves with the addition of Gerry and Iain’s accompaniment.

      Keep those posts coming Largo, it all adds into a very enjoyable, if quirky, mix on the podcast comments.

      • Largo

        Thank you very much, Ian! It’s true: I am a quirky one — but I enjoy indulging in the oddball realm. Plus, I must confess, I suffer from chronic keyboard-diarrhea and I’m very thankful that this discussion forum has provided me an outlet for it. 😉

        “Mind Over Mayhem” is the worst of the Columbo third season episodes. But what the producers did to Robby the Robot in this particular Columbo Mystery Movie is totally unforgivable. I just want everyone to see Robby the Robot in his debut film and in all of his 1950s Technicolor glory by watching Forbidden Planet (1956).

    • Richard Hinton

      Rest assured Largo, I even saw the show in London

      • Largo

        Yes! Richard Hinton to the rescue! I thought I was all alone here in my appreciation of Forbidden Planet (1956), but I see that you’ve got that collector’s 50th Anniversary Edition DVD set. This is most excellent. Thank you for sharing that, Richard. Now I don’t have a digital camera, so I’ll borrow an image from the internet to assist in briefly describing this particular DVD set.

        Look at what I have in my own personal collection — the Forbidden Planet “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 50th Anniversary DVD set, which contains all of the following:

        1. New digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements.
        2. Deleted scenes.
        3. Lost footage.
        4. Two follow-up vehicles starring Robby the Robot: 1958 MGM film The Invisible Boy and The Thin Man television series episode “Robot Client.”
        5. All-new “Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet” featurette.
        6. TCM original documentary “Watch the Skies! : Science-fiction, the 1950s and Us.”
        7. ”Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon” featurette.
        8. Excerpts from the MGM Parade television series featuring Robby the Robot and actor Walter Pidgeon.
        9. Science-fiction movie trailer gallery.
        10. Collectible Robby the Robot replica miniature.
        11. Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy reproduction lobby cards portfolio.
        12. Metal Alloy Collector’s Case.

        Isn’t this “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” Forbidden Planet DVD set just lovely?

      • Largo

        Richard, please tell me that you have a life-sized Robby the Robot replica in your study.

        • Maybe we have someone who dresses up as Robby and mows the lawn.

          • Largo

            “Dresses up?” Do you think that this is all some kind of a game? I’m not messing around here, man! I’m nuts about this Robby the Robot replica! 😉

            But …. but I could never afford to buy one, eh. 🙁

        • Richard Hinton

          I looked into it but it was that, or keeping my house … If it could’ve dispensed 60 gallons of Whiskey or carried Anne Francis to my TENT, I would’ve bought it.

        • Largo

          Those of you who would like to help me purchase a life-sized replica of Robby the Robot for my very own, please send your certified bank checks and money orders to:

          Emilio Largo
          Curt’s Crumbling Condos
          Behind the Water Meters
          University Heights, IA 52246-1220
          USA

          Many thanks in advance!!!

          • Largo

            Please do not send ‘Night Largo’ any money. This is only a humorous jest on his part. It’s just all part of the ‘show,’ folks! 🙂

      • Loving the Return to the Forbidden Planet programme – one of my favourite shows.

        • Largo

          So you have no love for the Forbidden Planet “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 50th Anniversary DVD set? I’m crushed! :.(

  • Adrian Carsini

    Anyone who drinks beer over wine clearly has issues, these two specimens being a case in point.

  • Adrian Carsini

    Largo, I really do despair. These clips are entirely devoid of humour, apart from the first one, which – even so – was only moderately funny.

  • Ian Baxter

    A little thank due to Iain and Gerry for making the addition to the show notes. Didn’t mean to create more work for you, but very impressed at your level of interaction with your audience.

    • Largo

      Gerry and Iain’s interaction with all of us is truly exemplary! I love these guys!!! 🙂

    • No problem at all. A few more Star Trek alumni in the next episode too!

  • Johnny

    Messed up posting this as a reply, wonder if it will let me post now. Really enjoyed this one, it’s nice being caught up and watching them before the show too.

    The only thing that slightly irks me is the “would they be convicted?” discussions. Since Columbo breaks his suspect each time their confession is guaranteed. That’s the evidence. You could hypothetically ask would the killer be convicted if Columbo hadn’t been assigned to the case and it would be as meaningful.

    To end on a positive I really think the balance struck with clips from the show is perfect. Not too much but not too little. Plus the clips selected are just right.

    • Largo

      Yeah — I saw what you did there, Johnny. But just to be clear here: I’m Largo, international wise guy and I’m definitely not The Columbo Podcast Team. So I’ll let it go this time, eh. 😉

      Welcome to The Columbo Podcast Fan Club Forum, Johnny! I’m very glad that you’re all caught up now. Keep on posting, dude!!!

      • Johnny

        It was mainly down to the vagaries of touchscreens, don’t worry!

        • Largo

          Well, the only thing that concerns me now is if you’ve seen Forbidden Planet (1956). I’ve assigned it as a prerequisite before viewing the next Columbo episode, “Mind Over Mayhem.” Please make sure that you schedule some time to watch Forbidden Planet before this Thursday because …. because …. I really don’t want to turn the next Columbo podcast discussion session into “The Wrath Of Largo.” I mean, that would be really bad for just about everybody. Plus, I may have to keep all of those ‘Ding-A-Ling’ ice cream bars I was planning on sharing with all of you just for myself.

    • Thanks Johnny. If you tune in on Thursday, we talk a little about your concerns near the end of Episode 21!

  • Largo

    You’re very welcome, Kieran! I’m at work right now and the university’s internet service here is preventing me from accessing your review. But I’ll be sure to read it tonight when I get home.

    • Ian Baxter

      Hmmm… watched ‘Forbidden Planet’ (in anticipation of the next Columbo, Mind over Mayhem)… it certainly does change the way you see Robbie… and there are a number of interesting Columbo links.

      Over all I was very impressed… however… I really, really, disliked the soundtrack… it was akin to the noises I associate with visiting the dentist(!) and spoilt what could have been a real treat.

      I’m just going through Largo’s comments and trying to work out which were written by him and which were written by his monster 🙂

      Thank you for the prompt to watch it.

      I’l reserve my thoughts about Mind over Mayhem until the podcast comes out (tomorrow… where has that week gone?)

      • Largo

        You are most welcome, Ian! I’m glad that you enjoyed Forbidden Planet — except for the soundtrack, that is. All of the electronic music or “tonalities” and all of the sound effects were done by Louis and Bebe Barron and I’ve always “grooved” to their avant garde score. But I’m a rather quirky one, eh.

        I wouldn’t use the word “monster” to describe ‘Night Largo’ — that’s just too strong of a term. ‘Night Largo’ is more of a mischievous imp and is rather harmless (don’t pay any attention to his “wrath of Largo” nonsense). All of the comments by ‘Night Largo’ are easy to spot in this particular discussion thread since he’s hijacked it and turned it from a Columbo “Publish Or Perish” forum and into a “Forbidden Planet Or Bust” forum. And all of that stuff about women’s midriffs and navels: that’s all ‘Night Largo’ obsessive tripe.

        Well, ‘Day Largo’ here has quite the job cleaning up on this forum after that silly ‘Night Largo’ dude. I’ll try and repair any damage that he’s caused on the Columbo Podcast Forum as best I can. You see, I possess a most powerful weapon: satire. Now you just watch — this comment will drive ‘Night Largo’ to distraction:

        “Midriffs, Ian — women’s midriffs from the Id!” Heh heh heh. Be seeing you!

        P.S. — Well, I see now that ‘Night Largo’ is begging for money to buy himself a life-sized replica of Robby the Robot. Please don’t send any money to him, PLEASE!

        • Largo

          Oh – Id, Id, Id, Id, Id! This is the second time that you’ve pulled that one, ‘Day Largo.’ You just want to suck the fun out of everything! Well, I’m off, eh!

  • Ian Baxter

    Thanks for this, I’ll be watching tonight 🙂

  • Largo

    Oh, Alta, Alta — you’ve got so much yet to learn …. especially about “juggling wolves” (as Grace Kelly’s character, Lisa Fremont, mentioned in Rear Window).

  • Largo

    You may find this very hard to believe, Kieran, but one of my favorite books about a cat was written by a dog lover! But I highly recommend this book to all animal lovers:

  • Mark Wolf

    I watched “Publish or Perish” today, and I was wondering about a strange parallel: There’s a book about Vietnam, the main charakter dies, but the movie studios demand another ending, so the protagonist joins a monastery instead of dying.

    In reality there is “First Blood” with the protagonist John Rambo, who dies in the novel, but lives on in the movies, joining a monastery at the beginning of the third movie. Instead of Rock hudson it’s Silvester Stallone, but it is an interesting coincidence.

  • Love that show!

  • resedaman

    “You and this place deserve to be in the Valley. ” Local humor, the San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles is looked down by downtown and west-siders. “Moorpark Inn ” where Riley drinks: Moopark street is in the Valley close to Universal.