IMDb > "Columbo" Short Fuse (1972)

"Columbo" Short Fuse (1972)

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Jackson Gillis (teleplay)
Lester Pine (story) ...
View company contact information for Short Fuse on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
19 January 1972 (Season 1, Episode 6)
A chemical plant's director gets threats and issues threats, and one of the employees develops and plants a bomb in his car. When the car turns out to be missing, Columbo is called to find out what happened. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Good first-season Colombo See more (18 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Roddy McDowall ... Roger Stanford

Anne Francis ... Valerie Bishop

James Gregory ... David L. Buckner

Ida Lupino ... Doris Buckner

William Windom ... Everett Logan
Steve Gravers ... Sergeant
Lawrence Cook ... Quincy [Murphy in credits]
Rosalind Miles ... Nancy
Lew Brown ... Farrell
Jason Wingreen ... Policeman
Eddie Quillan ... Ferguson

Stuart Nisbet ... Pinstripe
Annette Molen ... Girl
Jim Neumarker ... Plainclothesman
George Sawaya ... Man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mike Lally ... Tram Operator (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Edward M. Abroms 
Writing credits
Jackson Gillis (teleplay)

Lester Pine (story) &
Tina Pine (story) and
Jackson Gillis (story)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Everett Chambers .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Gil Melle  (as Gil Mellé)
Cinematography by
Harry L. Wolf (director of photography) (as Harry Wolf)
Film Editing by
John Kaufman  (as John Kaufman Jr.)
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Charles S. Thompson (set decorations)
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kevin Donnelly .... assistant director
Sound Department
Melvin M. Metcalfe Sr. .... sound
Visual Effects by
Albert Whitlock .... special photographic effects
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: Mystery Movie theme
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Crew believed to be complete

Production Companies
  • Universal TV (from Universal City, California) (as Universal Studios)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
75 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | UK:U (video rating) (2004)

Did You Know?

The last episode of the first season of "Columbo" to be filmed, though it aired before "Columbo: Blueprint for Murder (#1.7)" (1972)See more »
Continuity: In the tramcar high above the valley, the cable car guide is lecturing Columbo on the safety of the tramway. When viewed arriving at the top platform Columbo is clearly visible but the guide is nowhere to be seen in the glass windowed car, and presumably there was no way to get off before the top.See more »
Doris Buckner:I called the Commissioner and he said he'd send his very best man.
Roger Stanford:Is that a fact.
Lt. Columbo:My wife says I'm the second-best, she claims there are eighty men tied for first.
See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Good first-season Colombo, 5 March 2006
Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA

This one has Roddy MacDowell as the chief villain, a conniving and brilliant member of a family that owns some kind of gigantic chemical plant, only two victims away from the presidency. Good support too, from James Gregory (huffing and puffing), Anne Francis, Ida Lupino, and William Windom.

In order to eliminate the two obstacles to his career path, MacDowell blows one of them up with an exploding cigar and frames the other one for fornication and first-degree mopery.

Comic moments include Colombo being forced by circumstances to take a 15-minute ride on a tram suspended from cables, at times half a mile above the earth. Steve Bochco was the story supervisor and he knows his character. Colombo is frozen with fear but never speaks a word, perhaps unable to. He just stands there like a statue, avoiding the windows, while his guide points out all the scenic features.

The climax is good too, however implausible. MacDowell is led to believe that the exploding cigar is now aboard the tram, along with him, Wisdom, and Colombo. As the time passes and the moment of destruction ticks nearer, he becomes more nervous, finally betraying himself by becoming hysterical and ripping the box of cigars out of Colombo's hands.

It's lots of fun.

Curious note: Both Falk and Anne Francis were raised in Ossining, New York, the site of Singsing Prison, born only a few years apart. Falk visited his home town recently on a kind of nostalgic tour. Arriving, he was greeted by an enthusiastic, cheering crowd, raised his hands, smiled gratefully, and announced, "I gotta take a leak."

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