Fade in to Murder

Episode 37 – Fade in to Murder

The thirty sixth episode of Columbo was titled Fade in to Murder and was the first episode of the show’s sixth season. A television star turns to murder under pressure of blackmail. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a fascinatingly layered story of a famous TV detective.

 

 

A smaller cast was used in this episode, compared to Season Five’s finale and it was Star Trek veteran William Shatner who had the chance to shine as we were presented a traditional head-to-head between Columbo and the killer. Shatner played Ward Fowler, television’s highest paid star for his role as Detective Lucerne, who was suffering at the hands of Clare Daley (Lola Albright). Daley’s knowledge of Fowler’s past meant she was in a position to blackmail him and she had taken advantage – pocketing half his earnings over a significant period of time.

 

Supporting the principal cast were Bert Remsen as Mark Davis, a friend of Fowler’s who was drugged and tricked into believing he could provide an alibi; and Alan Manson as Sid Daley, husband of Clare and another plausible suspect in the case. There was a pleasing cameo from Walter Koenig as a Sergeant Johnson, his first collaboration with Shatner since Star Trek was cancelled. (Both men had, however, appeared on (separate) episodes of Medical Center and The Virginian in the intervening period.) Timothy Carey made his third and final appearance on the show as Tony, a witness to the killing.

 

Fred Draper returned after portraying the killer in the previous episode, playing an extra on Fowler’s show who was fired for failing to deliver his lines correctly right at the start of the episode. This was his sixth and final Columbo appearance.

 

Director Bernard L. Kowalski returned for his fourth and final stint behind the camera, working with a script by Lou Shaw and Peter S. Feibleman from a story by Henry Garson. Shaw previously wrote Season Five’s A Case of Immunity, while this was Feibleman’s first involvement with the series.  This was to be Garson’s one and only contribution to Columbo and is his final recorded writing credit altogether, although he would live a further 27 years to the age of 91. He is perhaps best known for writing the 1960 Elvis Presley movie GI Blues.

 

If you have thoughts on any aspect of Fade in to Murder, 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.

 

Fade in to Murder was released in 1976. 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 the show’s seasons released by Universal.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

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

  • Largo

    Captain’s Log: Stardate 7516.4 — The impossible has happened. Utilizing the light-speed breakaway factor, the Enterprise has traveled back through time to the twentieth century. This journey has allowed me to hunt down and destroy my negative energy doppelgänger, whom I have chased across both space and time since my strange encounter with it on Berengaria Seven. This pursuit of mine has brought me back to my native Earth in the year 1976 and to a place known in the historical records as “Hollywood” — an entertainment community. My negative energy doppelgänger is known within this “Hollywood” community as an actor named Ward Fowler.

    “Hollywood” — a factory of dreams. But now I find myself in the midst of a nightmare. In successfully eliminating my doppelgänger with the Negative Energy Neutralizer that Science Officer Spock designed, some type of Negative Energy Nexus was created, causing some neurological side effects on my own mind. I have actually become this “Ward Fowler” — not merely assuming his identity. I have lengthy black out periods of amnesia and only brief intermittent intervals where I am actually myself: Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the starship Enterprise. Mr. Spock said that there could be risks involved when activating and focusing the Negative Energy Neutralizer and I’m afraid that I have paid the price: I am marooned not only on Earth but also within my own mind!

    What has happened to the Enterprise? All I receive on my communicator is static. Did this Negative Energy Nexus create a time wave distortion that affected my starship and my crew? Could the Enterprise be caught within a ripple of time itself — trapped like I am? The mysterious machinations of my negative energy doppelgänger on Earth have indeed ensnared me in a kind of trap. For now I find myself as “Ward Fowler” being suspected of premeditated murder and hounded by a homicide detective from the Los Angeles Police Department — a certain Lieutenant Columbo. I pray and hope that the Enterprise can somehow find its way back and rescue me from this negative energy induced nightmare. I have never felt so helpless ….

    ************************************************************************************************************************************

    Captain Kirk a murderer? Say it isn’t so!!! This Columbo Mystery Movie, entitled “Fade In To Murder” (which I simply call ‘Captain Kirk Against Columbo’), is a very curious affair. It’s a fairly enjoyable Columbo episode, but it also has equal measures of both good and bad. Since this particular script relies very heavily on the interactions between Columbo and the murderer, the chemistry between the two main stars is paramount. Unfortunately, only one of these aforementioned stars is consistently up to the task and that is actor Peter Falk. Captain Kirk William Shatner displays his hammy side far too often within this Columbo episode and it’s a shame. I want Kirk Shatner to underplay all of his scenes with this particular role as actor Ward Fowler. Basically, I especially want early Sixties Shatner in this production — the hungry actor Shatner — or even first season Star Trek Shatner all throughout this Columbo episode. But I don’t get that here — I feel that we only get intermittent glimpses of this type of acting from Captain Kirk William Shatner in “Fade In To Murder” and this hurts this otherwise solid Columbo episode.

    First, let’s talk about the motive behind Ward Fowler’s terrible crime of first degree murder. Ward Fowler is being blackmailed by one of his producers (and ex-lover), Clare Daley, because he deserted his artillery company during the Korean War — almost 25 years prior to the time that this particular story is taking place (mid-1976). To paraphrase Mister Spock, committing murder in this case is highly illogical. For logic dictates that Fowler go immediately to both the studio and the network brass, reveal his dark secret (one he gave up so easily to Columbo) and the fact that Daley is extorting him because of it. Ward Fowler is a mega star with a highly successful hit television series. In other words, Fowler is bringing in a lot of money for a lot of people. If Fowler were to blow the whistle on Daley (a female producer in the sexist 70s), that aforementioned network and studio brass would circle the wagons (like the good old boy’s club that they are) to protect Fowler (and their investment) so fast that Clare Daley would be spinning for days. Daley would be threatened not only with termination, but also with imprisonment for the crime of extortion — both powerful tools of manipulation. The executive ‘net’ of absolute silence would be dropped on Clare Daley almost instantaneously. In short, Ward Fowler’s motive for committing murder is very unconvincing to me.

    Despite this, “Fade In To Murder” has an absolutely brilliant concept inside of it: a Hollywood actor that portrays a famous detective on a hit television series (so meta) actually commits murder himself, who then goes on to assist in the actual homicide investigation while frequently donning his fictional detective persona. However, all of this is hampered because not only does the hammy side of Captain Kirk William Shatner reveal itself in this Columbo production, the clues that lead Lieutenant Columbo to the solution of this case are all rather ham-fisted. To wit: an actor’s personal assistant and close friend who sets his watch five minutes ahead and said actor doesn’t even know this!?! An intelligent actor portraying a brilliant detective on television who fails to wear gloves while loading the bullets into a gun!?! If the ‘Great Santini’ could have his ungloved hands mysteriously fail to leave fingerprints on a gun and its bullets, why can’t the same be true for a Starship Commander very talented Hollywood actor? Once again we have a murderer showing off the technology he utilized in creating his alibi — right in front of Columbo …. enough already!!! And then there’s that clumsy clue involving the sweater thread being left on the gun trigger — absolute nonsense!

    All of these problems involving various types of “ham” hobble this otherwise excellent Columbo episode. One has to overlook these serious problems and be very forgiving in order to rate “Fade In To Murder” in their top tier of Columbo favorites and I simply can’t do this, eh. Captain Kirk William Shatner and Peter Falk work very well together and their overall chemistry in most of the ‘cat and mouse’ interplay scenes is very good. But this production could have been better if all of this “ham” had been cut out and a less lazy guest star with a less lazy script had been at the forefront. Captain Kirk William Shatner can give absolutely brilliant performances. Witness his acting in the Twilight Zone episodes, “Nick Of Time” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” or in Boris Karloff’s Thriller anthology series in the episodes “The Hungry Glass” and “The Grim Reaper” (where Kirk’s Shatner’s hammy and serious sides are both put to great effect). It’s a pity that Captain Kirk William Shatner didn’t bring a truly consistent ‘A’ game performance to “Fade In To Murder” and that the writers couldn’t create an equally consistent script for both him and Peter Falk. Damn — I really wish that I could include “Fade In To Murder” on my Top Twenty list! Be seeing you!

    ************************************************************************************************************************************

    Captain’s Log: Stardate 7516.12 — The neurological trauma caused by the Negative Energy Nexus is dissipating rapidly and I now find that my mind is clearing and the black outs have ceased. However, this “Ward Fowler” persona and its concurrent nightmare have dissolved into a starker reality: I have been imprisoned on the charge of first degree murder and I am awaiting trail. This means that “Ward Fowler” has been outmaneuvered by the homicide detective, Lieutenant Columbo. The situation may appear to be dire, but only for “Ward Fowler” and not for James T. Kirk.

    Through very careful coaxing and patient instruction given to both “Ward Fowler’s” attorney and his loyal housekeeper, I have reacquired my communicator and my hand phaser. The prison authorities have deemed these items as harmless nostalgic keepsakes of mine — in fact, they view them as mere toys. The reason for this is that during the period of official examination, the communicator and the hand phaser had both been separated from their respective power cells and were inoperable. But now each device has been reunited with their sources of energy and so tonight I plan to finally escape from my imprisonment.

    I will utilize the hand phaser’s narrowest destruct beam and concentrate on all of the door locks to minimize damage. If necessary, I will use the weapon’s base cycle — stunning force — on guards that cannot be subdued individually. Once on the outside, forging a new identity for myself in this primitive world will be child’s play. I will attempt contact with my starship only at select intervals so as to prolong the communicator’s power cell, but I feel that my abandonment will be short-lived. Mr. Spock has said that there are always possibilities, and so I am confident that the Enterprise and her crew will soon find their way back to me.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aad95fdd6cac0f98bfbf5879c8936c2ec2d0007999a71bc932ab14a81ba75e76.jpg

    • You’ll hear from the podcast that we don’t agree on Shatner in this one, but glad it was an episode you enjoyed. It would be hard not to!

      • Largo

        Indeed! 🙂

  • Largo

    William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Science Officer Spock) as they appeared in the first scene in Star Trek’s second pilot film, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (1965). This first aired on American television on September 22, 1966 and it was also the very first Star Trek episode to air on British television on July 12, 1969.

  • Largo

    “In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets … and in all of the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us. Don’t destroy the one named Kirk.”

    Dr. Leonard McCoy’s words of encouragement to Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek episode, “Balance Of Terror.”

    • Don’t lose those Star Trek quotes, just in case we do a podcast on it! 😉

      • Largo

        “Just in case we do a podcast …” on Star Trek? You actually meant when you both do a Trek podcast, right? Don’t be a tease, now! This is serious stuff, dude! 😉

  • Roberto

    Posting first about the Columbo episode before listening to Gerry and Iain’s Podcast …

    Although an at-times entertaining episode, the show is a mixed bag for me. Shatner so dominates his scenes that it is a little uncomfortable. He is, of course, well known for over-acting (hamming it up) and that comes through here as well. And this is coming from one of the biggest Trekkers (aka Trekkies) in the world.

    The crime is not well executed as per usual but we will let that slide. However, the cover-up was bungled so badly that it was laughable (not literally). Did the script imply that Fowler left the parka and ski mask so easily found so as to frame Sid Daley? That makes no sense, of course, since Sid could have been in a restaurant with a hundred people at the time of the crime. Same comment regarding Fowler acquiring the blue thread off of Sid’s sweater the day following the murder. Whatinhell was that all about? I imagine that Gerry and Iain discuss this in the Podcast. Seems like huge plot holes to me but maybe I am missing something. In general, how hard could it have been to dump the parka and ski mask in a place miles from the crime never to be found or connected to the crime?

    And the stuff with the gun! I honestly don’t understand that part at all. Throw the fricking gun into the ocean already (along with the blank cartridges). Why did Fowler use a prop gun in the first place, and the clothes from the wardrobe dept? Guns in the 1970s California scene were all too easy to get ahold of and clothes for the robbery could have come from anywhere. Seems like a device just to make a show out of. Perhaps this is all related to the idea of framing Sid, but I just don’t see that as viable or believable. Gerry and Iain, please help!

    The alibi stuff using the early VCR was pretty neat. Someone of Gerry’s disposition (ha) might say that it was chancy of Fowler to leave Mark alone in his house for fear that he could have awoken and blown the whole thing. But given that he didn’t, let’s assume Fowler knew exactly how much drug to use to accomplish his mission. Not noticing (or knowing) that Mark kept his watch five minutes fast is a believable plot point. But again it is a detail that a better murderer would not have screwed up.

    Columbo’s detection of this crime was alright, though nothing special. Columbo’s interactions with Fowler were a little off. The script device of having Fowler talk through Lucerne is silly and undercuts the premise of the inverted detective show. I suppose some viewers might have enjoyed that aspect (I am curious how Gerry and Iain reacted).

    Since I am a viewer who is seriously put off by real or imagined plot holes, together with my Shatner/Fowler/Lucerne concerns, I rate this as a sub-standard, though somewhat enjoyable, episode.

    Other random observations: (1) What are receipts for silver certificates? I didn’t understand that part. Why didn’t they just say that they found Clare’s safe deposit box stuffed with silver certificates (not receipts for silver certificates)? I may be missing something obvious here.

    (2) It was good to see Walter Koenig if only in a short scene at Tony’s. Hard to believe, I know, but Chekov is a somewhat controversial character in Star Trek fandom. I take no position on this very frothy issue.

    (3) I guess this is the episode in which Peter Falk met Shera Danese for the first time. I am sure everybody knows their story and undoubtedly has strong opinions about her. From a Columbo universe perspective, I will simply point out that Danese appeared in far too many episodes.

    Now off to listen to Gerry and Iain’s Podcast!

    • Peter

      Great points Roberto. In terms of winding a watch ahead, you would naturally wind it to the same minute so you would think he would have wound it 5 minutes ahead.
      I actually like Shera Danese. Would love it if Gerry and Iaian could interview her.

    • Largo

      “Trekkers (aka Trekkies)”

      Actually, Roberto, there is an actual difference between these two terms. Basically, it all boils down to this: if you’re a Trek fan and you think that this comedy sketch (see link below) starring William Shatner is hilarious, you’re a “Trekker;” if you’re incensed by this same comedy sketch, you’re a “Trekkie.” Likewise, if you notice all of the Trek goofs in this same comedy sketch and it doesn’t bother you at all, you’re a “Trekker;” if these same Trek goofs make you angry and you shout out the corrections while you watch, you’re a “Trekkie.”

      https://screen.yahoo.com/star-trek-convention-000000768.html?query=Star+Trek+SNL

      • Largo

        Of course, in recent years there has been a new kind of “Trek fan” movement out there:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/deb02a5b933775b274a7832ae15bd1e9f745f801735eea596c230c3aa4262d23.jpg

      • Peter

        Wow, Largo. you are a true expert in Star Trek regulations. You’ve got the etiquette down!

        • Largo

          Star Trek made a huge impact upon me as a child when it premiered on NBC back on September 8, 1966. I still recall rather vividly how I felt as I witnessed the many adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. I’m not embarrassed in the least to admit here that Captain Kirk was my childhood hero. Kirk was doing what I only dreamed about whenever I gazed up at the heavens: Kirk was traveling amongst the stars and having incredible adventures there. With its culturally diverse cast of characters, Star Trek said quite plainly that humanity was going to make it while providing hope for a brighter future. We were going to get out there in deep space despite insurmountable problems on Earth and we would eventually journey to the far side of our own galaxy one day.

      • Ian Baxter

        Doesn’t appear to play in UK, but I get the idea. I’m not really a big Trek fan, saw a few growing up and the movies. Would it be too simplistic to say they are westerns set in space? I’ll stick to Columbo for now!

        • Largo

          If you see a rotating ring in the video window, it will play when you refresh the screen or reboot your browser (this is what happened to me in Safari). The video played immediately for me in FireFox. If there isn’t a specific screen message that states that it won’t play “in your country” or something like that, you should be able to watch this video, eh. Please keep trying, Ian!

          Star Trek is not really a western, even though Roddenberry sold it to the networks as “Wagon Train to the stars.” Star Trek is better described as a type of “Horatio Hornblower in Outer Space” or rather “Horatio Hornblower in the 23rd and a half Century!!!” 🙂

          • Ian Baxter

            Success with this one… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqb4V9GxaBo

            …and in return I recommend… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnNah43hbwQ 🙂

          • Largo

            Eegah! One link for Yanks (Largo) and one link for Brits (Ian). This is what happens when I click on your SNL link, Ian:

          • Eegah! Starring… the guy who played the shark in Jaws!

          • Largo

            Finally — someone who gets the reference. I’m also referencing David Letterman, since he would yell this out every once and a while on his old NBC show. 🙂

          • Largo

            Oy! The lengths Shatner would go to for just a cheap laugh! (I saw this series when it premiered, but our local ABC affiliate would preempt it just about every other week, eh! 🙁

  • Peter

    I always found this episode enjoyable and entertaining, but would not put it in the top 10 as it just seemed to lack seriousness and depth. I look at it as a gentle, funny and obviously self-referential, self-parodying episode the works as comedy, unlike the goofy Commodore. Shatner is a big ham but don’t get sense he takes himself too seriously. Must admit I don’t get Star Trek

    • Largo

      “Must admit I don’t get Star Trek”

      Peter, it’s very simple: Star Trek is the greatest science-fiction adventure television series ever made. And right up there beside it is Doctor Who. Capisca? 🙂

  • Emrys

    Haven’t listened yet… but having flicked through the comments here I have to disagree with the majority. I think Shatner is magnificent! 😉 This is the (flicks back to ‘Dagger of the Mind’s comments section) 5th Best Columbo episode of all time! I look forward to hearing your podcast opinions!

    • Largo

      Hokey smokes, Emrys! Where the heck have you been, pal? It’s great to see you! How come you didn’t chime in on the “Identity Crisis” discussion thread? I’ve really missed your input here, eh! Even though I don’t agree with you on Captain Kirk’s William Shatner’s performance in “Fade In To Murder,” I can understand the enjoyment one can derive from this Columbo Mystery Movie — it’s a whole lot of fun. Please don’t take this personally, Emrys, but I much prefer Mister Spock’s Leonard Nimoy’s Columbo episode (despite the fact that I love** Captain Kirk William Shatner).

      ** Please don’t take this out of context, eh. 😉

      • Emrys

        So, I’ve listened to the podcast. And you guys agree with me!!! Finally!!! Ha ha! It’s felt like a battle for a while. Although I haven’t been commenting so much I have been listening… and cursing! Ha ha!
        But here… agreement. And I like it. Relaxing. This is one of my favourite Columbo episodes because of the Columbo/Murderer interaction. That, for me, is what Columbo is all about. Plot can often take a back seat. Not always… but often. Loads of plot holes in this one… but I don’t mind them. For me, the gotcha is weak. It has always bugged me. All my life. That my fifth favourite episode has such a weak end with the fingerprints on the bullets coming from outta nowhere! But, you know what? I still don’t mind. Fowler’s reaction to the gotcha is so great it almost makes up for the clumsiness!

        Largo, how can you not love Shatner’s performance? Ward Fowler is clearly a man with issues. A superiority complex? An ego that can barely be contained by the Earth’s gravity? Is he like Shatner himself? I don’t know cause I only really know Shatner from this Columbo episode.

        I have been listening to every episode. I have been along for the ride. I just keep getting waylaid when it comes to giving my opinion. But I’ve read all of yours Largo. And I’ve got to say, they may just be the finest set of forum-comments on the whole of the interweb!

        Thanks everyone for sticking with this mammoth task. Columbo can never have enough love!

        (and give it a rest with the McGoohan bashing!!! 😉 )

        • Largo

          Thank you so very much for those words of high praise, Emrys! I apologize for not responding earlier, but once I read your wonderful compliment, my head immediately inflated to Shatner sized proportions and I suddenly found myself escaping the Earth’s gravity and journeying around the solar system in some kind of ego-shield force-field. After traveling amongst the planets at Warp Factor 10, I wound up back at my condo and ready to type my words of gratitude. But, blast it all, my baseball cap still won’t fit right as there seems to be some remnants of being “Shatnerized” and my fathead ego is still slightly inflated, eh! Thanks again, Emrys! Be seeing you!

          P.S. — Yeah, I was pretty hard on old Patrick McGoohan in the previous thread, but I had to blame somebody and go after them with some wicked satire. But I’ll put all of that bashing to rest as I contemplate the awesome McGoohan stuff ahead of us in the ABC network’s Columbo revival series. 🙂

  • Roberto

    Just finished listening to the wonderful Podcast. Both Gerry and Iain enjoyed this episode far more than I did. That is great, glad you both had your fun. Especially coming after the previous episode whose name cannot be spoken.

    TekWar was the name of the series of sci-fi novels that Shatner authored (I refuse to say that he wrote them). He also starred in the TV series of the same name. Truthfully, both the novels and the show were pretty decent.

    A comment about Mark’s watch (maybe Peter above is making the same point). Mark would have reset his watch to five minutes fast the following morning as soon as he realized it — surely long before his conversation with Columbo. These are the type of forced clues that bother me since they suggest sloppy writing and/or insulting the audience’s intelligence.

    I too have a vague recollection of seeing that door (or a similar door) before somewhere. Maybe someone knows or it will come to me.

    • Ah, TekWar. Of course.

      • Largo

        Ah, TekWar — that 1994 made for television movie that had Sheena Easton in a supporting role: a character called “Warbride.” Yummy! D’oh! I mean … errr … uhmmm …. gosh, look at the time! I gotta go now!

        • Ah Sheena Easton. Came from the same small town, Bellshill, that I (Gerry) was born in. Not the finest export I must say.

          • Ian Baxter

            Looking at ‘Notable people from Bellshill’ on Wiki I noticed a couple of football legends but couldn’t see a ‘Gerry’… you need to get that updated 🙂

          • Largo

            Understood. I admit that I’m extremely biased when I think of Sheena Easton: her pop star career before being “sexed up” and her claim to fame in the Classic James Bond cannon with her rendition of “For Your Eyes Only.” Sheena Easton is the only singer that has actually appeared in a James Bond titles sequence. The reason for this is that famed titles designer, Maurice Binder, fell in love with Sheena and insisted on placing her in his credits sequence in For Your Eyes Only (1981).

          • Ian Baxter

            ‘For Your Eyes Only’ also has Columbo in it 😉

          • Largo

            Topol! You’re so clever, Ian! 🙂

  • Ian Baxter

    Just a couple of things…

    In an episode you’d expect to be dominated by Shatner’s presence you have to admit that it is Falk who steals the show and is on top form, his performance and interaction with Shatner is fantastic. I don’t agree with Gerry’s ‘perfect episode’ but I’d allow a ‘perfect’ score for Falk’s return to form.

    Er… I don’t get the episode name ‘Fade in to Murder’, it doesn’t work for me. What’s it referring to, how does it fit with the show? How about ‘To Boldly Murder’, ‘Murder of the sanctimonious hypocrite of a bible-spouting blackmailer’, ‘Murder most Fowler’, or ‘Columbo and the Great Detective’.

    • Largo

      ‘Fade in’ is a film term (‘the camera fades in to a scene at the beach, etc.’ — a dissolve from screen black to an actual local or interior) and in this context it’s referring to Ward Fowler’s Detective Lucerne series, a fictional one, which is contained inside of yet another fictional detective series: Columbo. So meta! 🙂

  • OK,, so I will reserve my main comments until after I’ve listened to the podcast, suffice to say that, rather predictably, the forum has been dominated by talk of Star Trek. I find it incredible that no-one has mentioned the rather obvious rug which dominated this week’s episode. In fact, I’m sure it went on to star in its own film with Chevy Chase in the 80s. Hopefully Largo can confirm…

    • Largo

      Yes, but now we’re talking about this:

    • Largo

      And this:

      • Roger Moore: a wonderfully humourous human being who has lived a happy and useful life, in particular with his work associated with UNICEF. The Bond of my youth. Perhaps not the best and definitely the ‘clown’ of the bunch, but happy memories nonetheless.

        • Largo

          Indeed! But nothing for Topol as Milos Columbo? Maybe it’s just because you don’t like pistachio nuts? 😉

    • Largo

      So what are your thoughts on Sheena Easton, Kieran?

      • Aah one tenses.

        • Largo

          Okay, Sheena makes you tense. How about Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock? Her character was pretty intense! 🙂

  • Largo

    Attention Gerry : Do these photos bring back some fond memories for you?

    • They do indeed Largo, although you are missing Adrian Zmed!

      But ohh Heather Locklear, she brings back many happy childhood memories.

      • Largo

        Oops! Sorry about that, Gerry. I’ve never seen this television series. Here are some more photos, eh:

      • Arabian Knights

        Classic beauty with those big blue eyes. Sheena Easton may sing better but does not hold a candle to her in beauty.

  • Hi all. Apologies in advance for the wide ranging journey I’m about to take you on, but I’m in a rather eclectic mood.

    Having listened to the podcast first thing morning, the relief from Gerry was palpable; however I can’t help feeling that, after last week’s experimental parallel universe episode, even if this week’s episode had featured Barry and Paul Chuckle, he’d have been ecstatic. Speaking of which, here are arguably Rotherham’s greatest exports solving a crime of their own.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCB6iejj038

    I have to admit to being a big fan, having seen them at least twice live. They don’t disappoint and are extremely courteous to their fans, young and old.

    And those hard-core Shatner fans will recall his appearance in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ in 1972. In case you forgot, you can catch it here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0KYWWrKk8I

    Obviously not quite up to the standard of The Chuckle Brothers, but you can’t have everything.

    Anyway, back to the podcast. There were chuckles galore from me from the outset, not least of the image Gerry conjured up of the hand sign he used to bid last week’s episode goodbye. An honourable mention to T.J. Hooker too, which brought back happy memories of a middle-aged Shatner chasing the baddies. Thanks also for mentioning the actor who played Chekov. I knew I’d seen him somewhere before. Actually, I thought he was rather good in this episode and would have liked to have seen more of his character develop, but I guess the whole episode revolved around Falk vs Shatner.

    On another note entirely, does anyone feel that, had Elvis Presley lived, the Columbo production team would have eventually got around to having him in an episode?

    Bye for now…

    PS Question to Iain and Gerry: are you considering running a podcast on every episode of Chuckle Vision ever made at some time in the future?

    • Thanks for the input Kieran. Glad you enjoyed this week’s episode!

      re chuckle bros, I (Gerry) have to admit to buying their live Indiana Jones spoof dvd. However, We won’t be doing any review podcasts on them. Probably.

  • Nelson Heyward

    While I like this episode it its so very far from the “Perfect” Episode, the scenes with Fowler talking as Lucerne is frankly annoying, grating as awful as lots of Last Salute and totally ruins this episode, compare it with Franklin/Mrs Melville which was great, Shatner also is little annoying otherwise a enjoyable ep though hanks to Fowler/Lucerne prob wont get in my top 20.

    The podcast was back to form with no unneccesary childish hysterics from Gerry, great stuff and a massive thanks for not turning into a Star Trek love in not all of us like that drivel, thanks guys and keep up great work, Really looking forward to next weeks Old Fashion Murder, do like that ep.

  • Having thought about this episode some more, it seems that no-one has considered that the Shatner character was suffering from sort of multiple personality disorders, probably brought on by the fact that he had adopted at least one new real personality, as well as his alter ego of Lucerne. In fact, the overriding battle between Lucerne and Fowler effectively gives the game away, even if Columbo hadn’t figured it out. We are expected to swallow this, particularly as Columbo gamely plays along with it, endowing lots of respect to the character of Lucerne, which in reality would be unlikely in my view. This episode could have more realistically been entitled ‘The Battle of the Id’. Great acting, but also potentially heading towards Wensleydale territory.

  • Arabian Knights

    I have been looking for an earlier episode featuring the tricky door. Alas, can’t find one. Requiem for a Falling Star and Double Shock had a door with a somewhat similar shape, but not the hardware.

  • Been out of town and am a week behind. Just watched the Columbo episode but haven’t gotten around to the podcast yet. My favorite scene in this episode is the one with the shark. Nothing to do with Columbo, just brings back fond memories for me of childhood visits to Universal Studios and their homage to one of my favorite films. But, c’mon, that shark looked nothing like the one they actually used in the movie, no way.

    Might have already been mentioned in the podcast, but did anyone notice Colombo’s jacket in this scene? It already has the chalk circle Ward Fowler will draw on it in the next scene. Heh.

    My second favorite scene was the back and forth at the end, with Fowler referring to himself in the third person. And his response to the gotcha: “Damn”!

    Fun stuff all around.

  • Largo

    “Largo, how can you not love Shatner’s performance? Ward Fowler is clearly a man with issues. A superiority complex? An ego that can barely be contained by the Earth’s gravity? Is he like Shatner himself? I don’t know cause I only really know Shatner from this Columbo episode.”
    — a quote from a forum post by Emrys

    Okay, I’ve figured out a way to get “Fade In To Murder” on a Top Columbo Episodes List. It’s rather simple: just step it up a bit and increase the number of included episodes to 25! And — Whalla! — one of Emrys and Gerry’s favorite Columbo episodes is now included on a Largo List. Beauty, eh! So here is said Largo List for your perusal. Enjoy! 🙂

    Largo’s Top 25 Columbo Episodes List [Original NBC Series]

    1. Identity Crisis
    2. Murder By The Book
    3. Death Lends A Hand
    4. Swan Song
    5. Now You See Him
    6. The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case
    7. Any Old Port In A Storm
    8. Prescription: Murder
    9. An Exercise In Fatality
    10. Double Shock
    11. Blueprint For Murder
    12. A Stitch In Crime
    13. Lady In Waiting
    14. Double Exposure
    15. By Dawn’s Early Light
    16. Candidate For Crime
    17. Troubled Waters
    18. Murder Under Glass
    19. A Friend In Deed
    20. The Conspirators
    21. Suitable For Framing
    22. Fade In To Murder
    23. Ransom For A Dead Man
    24. The Most Dangerous Match
    25. Playback

    • At least it is ranking now!

      To paraphrase a famous British comedy sketch; you are playing all the right notes notes, but not necessarily in the right order. Only my (Gerry) opinion of course.

      In fact, there are some Columbo connections with one of the participants in the sketch. Bonus points for naming them.

      • Largo

        Rubbish! Everyone is entitled to my opinion, eh! BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! 😉

        But seriously, you’re referencing the famous Morecambe and Wise “Grieg’s Piano Concerto” sketch featuring special guest star, Andrew Preview. Now, as to Mr. Preview’s connection to Columbo, well — let me tell YOU — Andrew Preview is obviously a killer. You can just tell by that sinister look in his eye (both of them). But, more importantly, Mr. Preview is a not only a murderer, he’s also a conductor! Da da da daaaaaaaah!!!!

        Thus, his connection to Columbo is painfully obvious: there are two episodes of the Columbo Mystery Movie series that feature killer conductors like Andrew Preview: “Etude In Black,” with John Cassavetes as Alex Benedict and “Murder With Too Many Notes” with Billy Connolly as Findlay Crawford. In short, killer conductors times two is the answer to your question, Gerry! Yeah, that’s the ticket! But there’s also the vicious rumor that Andre Previn’s third wife, Mia Farrow, was Levinson and Link’s muse during the first season of Columbo. Just saying’ …. 😉

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7GeKLE0x3s

        • Ian Baxter

          Great sketch… and well applied to Largo’s list Gerry, I’d also want to move a few around 🙂 So Mia Farrow is the link (I’d not have got that)… well done Largo!

          • Largo

            “So Mia Farrow is the link (I’d not have got that)…”

            Oh, Ian! Didn’t you notice the all important 😉 at the end of that statement? These are the jokes, man! Sheesh! It’s just all part of the show, Ian. 🙂

            P.S. — It’s my list, ya hear me! Don’t you guys go moving around any of those Columbo episodes on MY list, eh! Waaaaah! 😉

          • Ian Baxter

            If any of this trivia question has anything to do with ‘Mrs Columbo’ then the toys are going to thrown out the pram! Just saying!

          • Gerry would never do that!!

          • Ian Baxter

            So what was the link?

          • He won 4 Oscars. His first was Gigi in 1958 that starred Louis Jourdan (murder under glass)and his third was 1961’s Irma la Douce which had Mr Jourdan as narrator.

            His fourth win was for My Fair Lady in 1964 that starred Wilfred Hyde-White (dagger and commodore).

          • Ian Baxter

            Very good

          • Margaret Williams

            No, Ian! This is very bad!

          • Margaret Williams

            Oh, piffle! Those are definitely NOT “Columbo connections” with Andre Previn! Those are connections to the respective film actors who starred in actual Columbo episodes! I mean, if you’re going to go down the extremely tenuous route for said “connections” why stop at film composers? The gaffer on Gigi was Wes Shanks (like Previn, he was uncredited) and that’s a ‘Columbo connection!’ The supervising hair stylist on My Fair Lady was Jean Burt Reilly and that’s another ‘Columbo connection!’ But I say double piffle to all of this! Toodles!

          • If Gerry doesn’t tell you, you’ll never know (because I have no idea!).

        • Sooo close. You got the Previn connection but not the links I was thinking of (although well done on the Farrow relationship).

          • Ian Baxter

            Previn was, at one time, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was this the same orchestra from Etude?

          • Largo

            I do believe that’s the answer that Gerry was looking for, Ian. And so Ian Baxter gets an ice lolly! Yay! 🙂

          • Decent attempt. But no cigar.

          • Largo

            Well, I’m giving Ian an ice lolly or two anyway. And I’ve decided to give you an ice lolly or two for this challenge as well, Gerry. Oh, heck — let’s be generous and share some with Iain, too! 🙂

          • Largo

            One of my ‘Largo Maxims’ is: when in doubt, turn it into a comedy routine. Hence, my non-answer type response post. My apologies, Gerry.