Where Columbo Meets Kolchak

Lately, I've been watching old Columbo episodes, and I made a comment on Twitter this weekend that made blogger buddy Snell exclaim that I had created a new kind of fanfic. That's as maybe, but I think you'll have to admit the 1971 pilot episode, "Ransom for a Dead Man", is directed just like a Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode! The murder itself is some spooky stuff! Look!
This cross-fade after a woman shoots her husband in a series of frozen, increasingly tight close-ups between him and her while crazy alarm system music plays. Director Richard Irving even manages to make her car, driving in the night, run on open ocean. It's all very disconcerting, well beyond the macabre voyeurism of watching a calculated murder unfold. No wonder it went to series.

This was at least a year before Carl Kolchak made it to TV screens, but something was obviously in the air in the early 70s, something dark and creepy, something that only self-professed pests could handle. Columbo and Kolchak... would they become fast friends or annoy each other to early graves? YOU MAKE THE CALL.

(And no, Darren McGavin never appeared in a Columbo mystery. Too bad.)


Anonymous said...

My girlfriend and I have been watching old Columbo episodes on Netflix as well! So far we've seen Robert Culp make 3 guest appearances as a murderer. I don't want to look up how many times he did Columbo in IMDB. I want to be surprised. I've liked him since he was Bill Maxwell on Greatest American Hero. Yeah, I know I'm dating myself.

It's good to see someone else is geeking on Columbo. Cheers from the US.


SallyP said...

I too have been watching old Columbo's and they really do seem to hold up pretty well.

Better certainly than a LOT Of the stuff on television!

Siskoid said...

And I didn't even do a "Columbus Day" post on purpose. Here it's Thanksgiving, no pun possible.


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