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Jack Cassidy’s Killer Trio From ‘Columbo’

Peter Falk & Jack Cassidy went face to face in three episodes of “Columbo.”

at all times been keen on Columbo and the
“thriller film” collection was considered one of my first go-to nostalgia binges in the course of the
Covid period. Humorous factor, as a lot as I beloved Peter Falk as an actor, I used to be by no means
loopy about Columbo as a personality. The explanation I nonetheless discover Columbo so watchable many years later is
for the good plots and visitor villains. Columbo’s
killers got here in two classes: those that discovered the detective’s persistence
irritating, and the others who had been charmed by his dogged methods. I’m with the
first class, however nonetheless love the present!

When Jack Cassidy’s “Columbo” villain gives victims champagne, actual ache follows!

usually invited favourite visitor villains again for encore performances. One
frequent flier star was Jack Cassidy. With three visitor photographs, Jack Cassidy was
a traditional Columbo killer. Jack’s
villains had been sensible, supercilious, and elegantly sinister. And sure, all three
of Cassidy’s killers discovered Lt. Columbo nerve-grating!

The primary aired “Columbo”episode is likely one of the finest, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Steven Spielberg, then 24, acquired on properly with “Columbo” star Peter Falk.

Cassidy’s first look as a visitor villain on Columbo aired Sept. 15, 1971. This was Columbo’s debut as a NBC
collection, although “Homicide by the E book” wasn’t filmed first. The episode was
thought-about so sensible that it ought to kick off the present. Younger Steven Spielberg
and Steve Bochno directed and wrote the episode, which had a lot to do with the
recent tackle the acquainted detective trope.

Martin Milner of “Adam 12” is visitor sufferer to Jack Cassidy’s villain in “Columbo.”

Milner, within the midst of his profitable Adam
collection at NBC, performs the visitor sufferer. These stars appeared to get the
brief finish of the stick, however Columbo was
a very talked-about collection, so it was most likely a simple gig for nice publicity.

and Milner’s characters are a money-making thriller writing group. As Jim Ferris,
Milner’s author does a lot of the precise work, and desires to strike off on his
personal; Cassidy’s Ken Franklin is the smoothie who does a lot of the media
promotion. Franklin lives excessive on the hog and doesn’t take kindly to the skilled
divorce. Ken additionally has a giant insurance coverage coverage on Jim, and decides to money in, by
killing his former money cow.

Jack Cassidy’s trendy killer works the media & bell bottoms with buttons up the calves’ sides!

lures Jim to his rustic getaway for one final hurrah collectively. He beforehand
trashed their LA workplace to make it seem like violence had occurred. Ken shoots
Jim and dumps the physique on Franklin’s personal garden, to look like a success job.

drawback: the gal who runs the native retailer by his “cabin” noticed Jim in
Ken’s automotive. However the actual drawback for Ken is that Columbo is on this case and
which means continuously on his ass!

Jack Cassidy, stylishly directed by Steven Spielberg, in his first “Columbo” visitor shot.

episode was considered one of Steven Spielberg’s final TV collection gigs and it is terrific: tightly
wound, with delicate notes of fashion. I like the opening shot of the writers’
workplace home windows and their nice view, as Cassidy pulls up exterior, accompanied
by the sound of a typewriter—keep in mind these? How about smarmy Cassidy’s automotive,
with its “Have a pleasant day” bumper sticker? Spielberg’s digicam angles
for Cassidy’s duplicitous assassin make the viewers really feel they’re seeing his
hidden facet.

two earlier pilots behind him, Peter Falk eases into his Lt. Columbo function and
would proceed refine the character because the present went on. Falk particularly shines
reverse clean felony Jack Cassidy, together with his bumbling demeanor, and theirs
turns into a sly duel of wits. 

Barbara Colby, memorable as a storekeeper with a crush on Jack Cassidy & his money!

Colby is a standout as Lilly La Sanka, the blackmailing storekeeper who’s in means
over her head. Colby was an actress who was a unusual standout within the ’70s, an period
when performers might seem like actual individuals. Regardless of her questionable actions,
Colby makes her Lilly sympathetic, humorous, and attractive. Sadly, Barbara Colby
was a real-life homicide sufferer 4 years later, when she and actor/boyfriend
James Kiernan had been randomly shot in a parking storage July 24, 1975. Colby was a
common on Cloris Leachman’s Phyllis
and had simply turned 36.

Cassidy’s actual life character and persona parallels his portrayals as suave
criminals. Cash at all times was a motive. The murders had been meticulously plotted. As
Ken Franklin, he is coasting, not contributing, however seeks revenge when the actual
expertise decides to interrupt away. With Cassidy’s piercing pale blue eyes, aristocratic
profile, flashy smile, and cultured voice, Jack jogs my memory of WB star Zachary
Scott and all the classy cads he
used to play.

Jack Cassidy, turning on the appeal as “Columbo” visitor killer Ken Franklin.

actual life, Jack was arduous residing, a heavy drinker and smoker, and a celebration
animal. As Ken, he is continuously acquired a smoke going, and it’s kind of of a shock
that Jack was solely 44. Or to place it in context, Jack was simply two years youthful
than Paul Newman. Nonetheless, Cassidy’s good-looking and on his appearing recreation right here. He provides
delicate variations of the elegant villain he performs on Columbo. Right here, Ken
Franklin’s phony performs the press like a violin and he’s additionally a girls’ man.

Jack Cassidy’s second “Columbo” visitor star function finds him once more within the ebook enterprise.

Jack Cassidy’s second Columbo outing,
1974’s “Publish or Perish,” he’s a writer slightly than a author. But, it is
once more the case of a author eager to half methods with him that incurs Cassidy’s
character’s grasping wrath.

Greenleaf, homage to The Gifted Mr.
Dickie Greenleaf, is a writer about to lose a profitable author
that he found. Just like the earlier episode, Cassidy’s character has taken out
a large insurance coverage coverage on his golden goose. Greenleaf hires a creepy
Vietnam vet with a ardour for explosives to take author Alan Mallory out…
and never for dinner. Wily Riley creates a wonderful alibi for himself by going
on bender, creating public scenes, getting right into a fender bender, and eventually
getting arrested as drunk and disorderly. The overly-planned homicide takes
place, however a number of tell-tale twists of destiny screw up the state of affairs. This raises
Columbo’s suspicions and the match between felony and cop is on.

Jack Cassidy’s Riley Greenleaf consorts with a killer in “Columbo’s” “Publish or Perish.”

was full of in-jokes, and one is when Columbo meets Greenleaf’s rival
writer on the famed Chasen’s eatery. Columbo is chagrined at a menu with no
costs, and asks for a bowl of chili. The snooty previous waiter is horrified,
natch, however rustles some up. That is humorous as a result of Chasen’s chili was famend, a
favourite of Elizabeth Taylor, who had it flown in to the set of Cleopatra in Italy. Columbo is in
disbelief when a bowl of chili and glass of ice tea units him again $6.75. He
factors out in the course of the collection, as a detective, Columbo makes $11,000 a yr. We’re
speaking almost 50 years in the past, of us!

Columbo is on the crime scene, he rambles on about matters with no relation to
the crime scene, usually referring to his spouse. Right here, he talks about how Mrs.
Columbo stored him as much as watch a Bette Davis film on the late present. He goes on about
what a terrific actress Davis was—Falk acquired a Finest Supporting Actor Oscar nomination,
co-starring with Bette in ’61’s A Pocket
Filled with Miracles

Mickey Spillane, killed in a chocolate brown leisure go well with, as “Columbo” visitor sufferer!

enjoyable ’70s visible fashion goes on in “Publish or Perish.” The primary homicide is
depicted with three break up screens: the killer-for-hire; the sufferer at work; and
mastermind Riley enacting his alcohol-fueled alibi. The style fashion finds
Cassidy’s villain sporting plenty of turtle necks, whereas the author, performed by
Mickey Spillane, sports activities a chocolate brown leisure go well with! Mariette Hartley is a
whole ’70s babe with flowing Cher hair, a slinky braless jersey robe, and a pink
California western lady have a look at Chasen’s, full with a pink cowboy hat.

Mariette Hartley trying ’70s attractive within the “Columbo” episode “Publish or Perish.”

Chandler at all times performed psychos that creeped me out as a child, who’s killer Eddie
Kane right here. Apparently in actual life, Chandler got here from a rich household,
studied appearing, and was a yoga fanatic! All this, regardless of the very fact he seems to be
like Steve Buscemi, Sr. His character Eddie jogs my memory of the gruff vet that Seinfeld’s Elaine hires to jot down the
Peterman catalogue. Facet observe: In his first two appearances, Cassidy’s characters
ply with nice champagne, earlier than inflicting deadly ache on their secondary

John Chandler, TV boomer villain, seems to be like Steve Buscemi, Sr. in “Publish or “Perish.”

Chandler’s “Columbo” killer/sufferer jogs my memory of this “Seinfeld” weirdo!

Shenar may be very good-looking and no-nonsense as Sgt. Younger, who works with Columbo.
Followers will keep in mind him because the evil drug lord in Scarface. Mickey Spillane is surprisingly relaxed and interesting
because the pulp writer who needs to take his writing to the subsequent degree, and with a
new writer.

Good-looking Paul Shenar performed a fellow detective in “Columbo’s” “Publish or Perish.”
That ’70s man Jack Bender seems to be like a cuter Stuart from “The Massive Bang Idea!”
Unhappy sack Stuart from “The Massive Bang Idea.”

Bender as Wolpert, the man who delivers the writing is a complete ‘70s man, with
his curly fro, large brown eyes, and classy ’70s shirts. He jogs my memory of a
better-looking Stuart from The Massive Bang
. Mockingly, he went on to turn into a prolific TV director, together with
a TV bio of The David Cassidy Story!

Jack Cassidy’s Riley Greenleaf units up his “drunk” alibi & insults a number of strangers, too.

Jack Cassidy later repeated Riley Greenleaf’s pretend bender later for actual, on December
12, 1976. Cassidy tried to get pals to affix him for an evening out, however settled
for barhopping by way of West Hollywood. When Jack returned house, he handed
out with a lit cigarette, and died within the subsequent fireplace.

Jack Cassidy’s finale as a “Columbo” visitor killer forged him as a magician.

Cassidy’s ultimate Columbo look
was in “Now You See Him.” Cassidy performs “The Nice Santini,” a magician who
needs to make his blackmailer boss disappear. This episode aired February of
1976, the yr Cassidy died.

“The Nice Santini” VS “The Nice Columbo” in “Now You See Him.”

episode was directed by Harvey Hart, a prolific TV director who was good with
actors. Nehemiah Persoff is the sweaty and surly restaurant membership proprietor who
blackmails his star attraction when he discovers his Nazi previous. Persoff
initiatives such an animalistic antagonism that you simply truly really feel unhealthy for the
magician was an SS jail guard as a younger man. Robert Loggia is the robust head
waiter, who appears extra suited as a bouncer. Bob Dishy is slightly grating than
ingratiating because the dogged youthful detective who’s at all times at Columbo’s heels. Besides
for old-school Cassidy, Loggia and the remainder of the middle-aged males all sport
that shaggy hair to try to seem like the younger ‘70s dudes.

Nehemiah Persoff is a good “Columbo”visitor villain/sufferer because the blackmailer boss.

was an period of much less viewer repeat choices, however I’m nonetheless puzzled as to why Columbo had the identical actors as visitor
stars a number of occasions. As memorable as they’re, stars like Jack Cassidy and
Robert Culp performed the identical superior, snide, and impatient characters. And
whereas Columbo had some golden period
friends like Janet Leigh and Anne Baxter, I’d like to have seen some greats like
Crawford, Davis, Natalie Wooden, Edward G. Robinson, Tony Curtis, or Henry Fonda,
to call a number of that had been doing tv at this level.

Jack Cassidy is “The Nice Santini” in disguise; this “Columbo” is “Now You See Him.”

The Nice Santini, Jack Cassidy’s character is a little more empathetic, since he
is the sufferer of blackmail. When it’s obvious that his boss needs greater than a
pound of flesh, Cassidy’s illusionist feels he has no different choice than to
kill. The magician conjures up an extremely convoluted plot to off the boss
throughout his act, and in addition present himself an alibi. Whereas ingenious, it’s additionally a
little bit of a watch roll. When Columbo comes to research, the alibi makes it even
extra of a problem for the detective. By this level, Falk is properly into his run
as Columbo, and his dumb like a fox routine is totally polished, particularly
in opposition to Cassidy’s grasp illusionist.

A Jack Cassidy villain with an ascot, natch. In his ultimate “Columbo” ep., Jack was 49.

grace and magnificence make him fairly plausible because the magic man. Whereas The Nice
Santini is simply as impatient and perturbed by the persistent Lt. Columbo, he’s
additionally a bit melancholy, which Cassidy conveys effortlessly.

Cassidy’s fashion instructed a distinct period, together with his dapper seems to be and magnificence, in
the laid-back ‘70s. In actual fact, his fashion was so studio period traditional that Cassidy
was referred to as upon to play John Barrymore in 1976’s W.C. Fields and Me. Even Jack’s appearances on Columbo discovered the
actor elegant in an array of turtlenecks and ascots, leather-based, hound tooth, or
corduroy jackets, and even his bell bottoms had been creased and in a single case,
adorned with buttons.

Cassidy’s villains had been all smiling appeal and confidence on the surface, however
threatened with having all of it taken away. Whereas related, Jack’s killers got
Cassidy’s appreciable charisma and expertise as an actor.

If there had been a “Mildred Pierce” remake within the ’70s, Jack Cassidy would have been good
as Mildred’s playboy Monty!

Right here’s
my have a look at Faye Dunaway’s Emmy-winning activate Columbo:

FYI: I put all of the film overflow on my public FB film
web page. 

Test it out & be a part of!




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