EP1912: The Avenger: Diploma of Death

While visiting Fern’s Alma Mater, Jim witnesses a runner murdered at a track meet.

Original Air Date: March 28, 1946

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EP1911: Michael Shayne: The Pursuit of Death

Jeff Chandler
Mike tries to help a woman who is afraid someone is out to kill her.

Original Air Date: Sometime in 1948

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EP1910s: Screen Guild Theater: The Maltese Falcon

 

In this 1943 adaptation of the original hardboiled detective story: Miles Archer, the partner of Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart) is killed while shadowing someone for a client ( Mary Astor.) When the man Archer was shadowing is killed, the police suspect Spade. Spade must find Archer’s killer and to do it he has to match wits against dangerous international criminals (Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet.)

Original Air Date: September 20, 1943

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Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715
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Video Theater 087: Dragnet: The Big Jump

Friday has to stop a man from jumping to his death.

Original Air Date: September 11, 1952

A Look at the Revived Columbo: The Best of the Revived Movies, Part Two

See Part One and the Worst of the Revived Movies.

5) Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991)

The plot of this one involves a famous defense attorney murdering his girlfriend. It is well-written and a solid story, but Dabney’s Coleman Emmy-nominated performance makes this a standout. He manages to capture that classic Columbo villain arrogance. The final reveal is a stroke of genius as well.

4) Agenda for Murder (1990)

Patrick McGoohan’s third appearance as a Columbo villain is his best. He plays a high-powered lawyer with big-time political ties and kills off a man who threatens to reveal a scandal that could derail his ambitions. The murder is cleverly executed and the chemistry between Falk and McGoohan is superb.

3) Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health (1991)

Another 1970s Columbo Guest Star returns with George Hamilton playing the host of a program in the style of America’s Most Wanted. The murder method involves poisoned cigarettes and is ingenuous and there are good comic moments between Falk and Hamilton. I prefer this over Hamilton’s 1975 appearance in, “A Deadly State of Mind.”

2) Columbo Goes to the Guillotine (1989)

It had been nearly eleven years since the last Columbo movie. So the return film had to be good.  It was superb. A mentalist murders an old friend as an act of revenge for having been abandoned in a foreign prison so many years ago and uses a magic guillotine to do it. It’s a baffling crime for Columbo to unravel and part of that involves Columbo exposing the mentalist as a fraud in a very clever scene. The story also has a dramatic ending that features an attempt by the killer to get rid of Columbo. It’s a great return for Columbo.

1) Death Hits the Jackpot (1991)

An almost-divorced photographer buys a winning lottery ticket but wants to avoid splitting the winnings with his soon-to-be ex-wife. So his Uncle Leon (played by Rip Torn) comes up with a plan. Leon will cash in the ticket and give his beloved nephew the lion’s share of the winnings once the divorce is final, but Leon kills his nephew instead. Torn is superb in this one. He’s probably the most menacing Columbo murderer ever. He’s excellent as the calculating and insincere sociopath, making for a solid and underrated performance.

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