S01E06 - Originally broadcast Jan 19 1972
Directed by Edward M.Abroms, Written by Lester Pine, Tina Pine and Jackson Gillis
Starring Roddy McDowall, Ida Lupino and James Gregory
There’s nothing quite like an episode with three writers.
Roddy McDowall plays an heir to a chemical fortune who suffers the combination of a domineering uncle-by-marriage (James Gregory, better known - to me anyway - as Inspector Luger from Barny Miller) and a profligate lifestyle. With his uncle threatening to reveal the dirt he’s got on the kid, Roddy’s being forced out of the company his father founded. Bum deal!
Interesting thing about this episode is that at the beginning, you’d be forgiven for thinking that McDowall’s the injured party; his uncle hired a creep to spy on him, is forcing him out of the biz, is a dick … but as the episode plays on, Roddy’s fun-time, anything-for-a-laff veneer peels away and you’re treated to the heightened awareness that all the characteristics which seemed endearing about him at first are actually pretty demeaning, insincere and even abusive. Dang.
A number of scenes end up on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram, a thing which terrified me as a kid and my parents hauled me on it when I was, I dunno, four years old.For the record, you used to be able to smoke on that thing and, brother, everybody was. It was like a slow-moving space capsule from planet cancer.
Listen to the latest episode of the Columbo podcast, Just One More Thing, discussing Short Fuse.