Columbo: Season 4, Episode 3

By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct. 1974)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,075 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 3 critic

The commandant of a military academy murders the chairman of the board, who wants to oust him. Lt. Columbo takes up residence in the barracks to expose the killer.

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Title: By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct 1974)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Burr DeBenning ...
Madeleine Sherwood ...
Miss Brady (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Tom Simcox ...
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Sergeant George Kramer (as Bruce Kirby Sr.)
Sidney Armus ...
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Karen Lamm ...
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Cadet Morgan (as B. Kirby Jr.)
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Storyline

Colonel Lyle C. Rumford, the proud Commandant of a military academy, is incensed that William Haynes, the owner of the property, wants to turn it into a co-ed college. So, Rumford plots to kill Haynes with a back-firing cannon that Haynes is due to fire in a ceremony. Rumford arranges for the cannon to explode by blocking its discharge with a cleaning rag and thereby making the explosion seem an unfortunate accident caused by a clumsy attendant. Los Angeles Police Department's Lieutenant Columbo comes to the academy to investigate Haynes' death and instantly suspects that Rumford had something to do with the explosion, which Columbo believes was not accidental. Columbo unrelentingly seeks to prove that Rumford had motive and opportunity to rig the cannon. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

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27 October 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the four episodes of Columbo that Patrick McGoohan appeared in, this is the only one he did not direct. See more »

Goofs

When Haynes walks into the Commandant's office, in the long shot, there is a solid red furled flag with white stars (it is unclear of whether or not it is a General Officer's flag which would also be in error) over the Commandant's left shoulder but in all other shots, this flag has been replaced with the California State Flag. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: You have to forgive me, it's not me, it's my mind, it's very slow, and I have to pin everything down.
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Soundtracks

Taps
(uncredoted)
Arranged by Daniel Butterfield
Played by unseen bugler
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User Reviews

 
Superb performance by the late great Patrick McGoohan
29 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Patrick McGoohan's steely and nuanced performance earned him an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor , but his presence on the screen is hardly "supporting". He dominates every scene in which he appears which is almost every scene in the film . It is a tour de force performance that keeps the viewers eyes glued to his tightly -wound ,explosive face and body that he keeps under control so well . His trademark sly smile and clipped verbal delivery from "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner" are still there . We just don't see this kind of pure acting on TV anymore from a character that is allowed so much screen time without the usual gimmicky intrusions or plot diversions . This episode is sheer joy to watch as 2 very fine artists play their roles to perfection .


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