IMDb > "Columbo" Publish or Perish (1974)

"Columbo" Publish or Perish (1974)

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Peter S. Fischer (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for Publish or Perish on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
18 January 1974 (Season 3, Episode 5)
A publisher hires a bomb enthusiast to murder a bestselling author of sex novels. Lt. Columbo is on the case. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Interesting, well-crafted plot and script See more (14 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Jack Cassidy ... Riley Greenleaf
Mickey Spillane ... Alan Mallory

Mariette Hartley ... Eileen McRae

Jacques Aubuchon ... Jeffrey Neal
John Davis Chandler ... Eddie Kane (as John Chandler)

Gregory Sierra ... Lou D'Allessandro

Alan Fudge ... David Chase

Paul Shenar ... Sgt. Young

Jack Bender ... Wolpert
Ted Gehring ... Security Guard
Vern Rowe ... Restaurant Manager
Lew Palter ... Lab Technician
George Brenlin ... Locksmith
J.S. Johnson ... Palmer
Maurice Marsac ... Waiter
James Millhollin ... Elderly Man
Maryesther Denver ... Elderly Woman
Davis Roberts ... Kramer
Rocky Frier ... Parking Attendant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

James Sikking ... Policeman in office (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Robert Butler 
Writing credits
Peter S. Fischer (written by)

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

Produced by
Edward K. Dodds .... associate producer
Dean Hargrove .... executive producer
Roland Kibbee .... executive producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
Cinematography by
William Cronjager (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert L. Kimble 
Art Direction by
John W. Corso 
Set Decoration by
Bill McLaughlin (set decorations) (as William McLaughlin)
Production Management
Brad H. Aronson .... unit manager (as Brad Aronson)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Gilmore .... assistant director
Sound Department
Wallace R. Bearden .... sound (as Wallace Bearden)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Grady Hunt .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Arnold Baker .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: Mystery Movie theme
Hal Mooney .... music supervisor
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Richard Levinson  creator
William Link  creator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Germany:70 min | Italy:68 min | USA:73 min | 75 min (dvd release)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-18 (2005) (DVD) (self applied) | UK:PG | UK:PG (video rating) (2005)

Did You Know?

Columbo enthusiastically refers to Bette Davis' acting abilities. Peter Falk won an Oscar nomination co-starring with Davis in Pocketful of Miracles (1961).See more »
Factual errors: Although Greenleaf's publishing company is located in Los Angeles (where Columbo works), a cover letter is addressed to him in New York City.See more »
Jeffrey Neal:The Trout Amondine is very good.See more »


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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Interesting, well-crafted plot and script, 6 February 2011
Author: pssc6 from United Kingdom

On the whole, an entertaining and well-written episode with clever ideas (a murderer who makes it look as though he has been framed, and the lock-changing) and another classy performance by Jack Cassidy.

Some of this episode's notable features include the freeze-frame shots in the opening sequence and, later, the triple-screen sequence showing what Greenleaf and Kane are doing in the minutes leading up to the murder. Greenleaf's barely-concealed distaste for Kane, with his obsession with explosives and the army, is highly amusing, as is the completely unconcerned expression on Greenleaf's face as he watches Kane collapse after the latter imbibes poisoned champagne.

What lets the episode down a little is Greenleaf's carelessness just before the murder takes place, and a contradiction between two scenes. The idea of making it look as though he was framed is a clever one, but having gone to the trouble of planning the "frame-up" meticulously, he then makes an open threat against Mallory's life in front of witnesses at Geoffrey Neal's party ("My dear friend, if you do you will die"). When Columbo visits the writer's agent (Eileen McRae), she tells him that Greenleaf didn't know about Mallory's new book (Columbo: "But still, the book would still belong to Mr Greenleaf, wouldn't it?" Eileen: "You've got a lot to learn about the publishing business, Lieutenant. Riley Greenleaf didn't know anything about the book, Alan never talked to him about it and never would.") This contradicts what Greenleaf had said in front of her the night before ("His new book belongs to me and I've got him on the contract"), so what McRae tells Columbo isn't true, and she should have known that. Why on earth doesn't she give Columbo this crucial piece of information? Greenleaf makes another curious slip when Columbo visits him at his home. Realising that he has been "framed", Greenleaf - who supposedly doesn't know about Mallory's new book - hands Columbo a motive: "Alan walked out on me, took his book to another publisher, and I suppose in anger, I killed him." If he wanted it to look as though Kane had framed him, he didn't need to give himself a strong motive for killing Mallory, especially since Kane wouldn't have known that Mallory was planning to go to a new publisher. Again, it's hard to reconcile this careless error with the thorough planning that goes into the first murder. The fact that Greenleaf's car "accident" coincides to the minute with the murder is also a little obvious.

A couple of other oddities: no autopsy is performed on Kane after his death, yet Columbo frequently orders them in other episodes even where the cause of death seems to be obvious. This means that the poison, which would have been an important clue, goes undetected. Also, Greenleaf phones Kane from his office to set up their final meeting - another unwise move given that the phone company records could have been checked, but mysteriously, this too goes undetected. One also has to wonder how Greenleaf had initially planned to kill Kane, as he only spots "How to Blow Anything up in 10 Easy Lessons" by chance. He takes a huge risk in relying on the spaced-out war veteran's guidance. A terrible, very obvious edit mars the brief scene where Columbo talks to the locksmith outside the latter's shop.

There are several reminders of other episodes. In the opening scene, Greenleaf uses the phrase "tribute to American ingenuity", which is repeated verbatim in Double Exposure. The two piano pieces played at Neal's party also feature in several other episodes including A Stitch in Crime, Lady in Waiting and Ransom for a Dead Man, and the music played while Greenleaf watches a film likewise features in other episodes, including The Most Crucial Game (scene where Columbo visits Eve Babcock, aka Regoczy, at her apartment). This scene reminds me of the scene in Double Exposure where Columbo comes to tell Bart Keppel about the murder of Roger White, as once again, the murder is watching a film while being told about the second murder in an episode. Michael Lally puts in just the briefest of appearances, at the end of the scene where Greenleaf leaves the car park where he had his car accident. One final little coincidence is the fact that typewriters and champagne feature in all three of Jack Cassidy's episodes.

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