IMDb > "Columbo" Swan Song (1974)

"Columbo" Swan Song (1974)

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David Rayfiel (teleplay by)
Stanley Ralph Ross (story)
View company contact information for Swan Song on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
3 March 1974 (Season 3, Episode 7)
A gospel singer wants to be rid of his zealous wife. But a murder made to look like an airplane accident does not fool the wily Lt. Columbo. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A Haunting And Very American Tragedy See more (25 total) »


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

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Johnny Cash ... Tommy Brown

Ida Lupino ... Edna Basket Brown

John Dehner ... Roland Pangborn

Sorrell Booke ... J.J. Stringer

Bill McKinney ... Luke Basket

Vito Scotti ... Mr. Grindell

Janit Baldwin ... Tina

John Randolph ... The Colonel
Lucille Meredith ... Jean the seamstress

Richard Caine ... Bennett
Don Mantooth ... Phil (as Donald Mantooth)
Jefferson Kibbee ... Frank
Bonnie Van Dyke ... Maryann Cobb
Douglas Dirkson ... Jeff the airport mechanic (as Doug Dirkson)
Larry Burrell ... TV Reporter Hal Fisher
Mike Edward Lally ... TV Cameraman
Tom McFadden ... Police Pilot

Harry Harvey ... Manager (as Harry Harvey Sr.)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marshall Grant ... Band Member (uncredited)
W.S. Holland ... Band Member (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Man Tallying Figures (uncredited)
Bob Wootton ... Band Member (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Nicholas Colasanto 
Writing credits
David Rayfiel (teleplay by)

Stanley Ralph Ross (story by)

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

Produced by
Edward K. Dodds .... producer
Dean Hargrove .... executive producer
Roland Kibbee .... executive producer
Original Music by
Dick DeBenedictis (music score) (as Dick De Benedictis)
Cinematography by
William Cronjager (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Bob Kagey 
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
Phil Cook .... assistant director (as Phillip Cook)
Sound Department
Wallace R. Bearden .... sound (as Wallace Bearden)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Grady Hunt .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: Mystery Movie theme
Hal Mooney .... music supervisor
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
99 min | USA:98 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-18 (2005) (DVD) (self applied) | UK:PG (video rating) (2005)

Did You Know?

This episode uses footage of an actual Johnny Cash concert.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Columbo questions Tommy about the arrangement changes to his recording of "I Saw the Light" he plays his guitar. Johnny Cash plays a very typical chord pattern but it not the one that you hear. For example, the first chords heard (not accounting for the capo) are G, Em C & D. What Johnny actually plays is G, C, D7th back to G and so on. Not only is the pattern wrong but the timing of the changes become very noticeably out of sync. Johnny is an accomplished guitarist so there was no reason to fake his playing other than possibly for better sound quality. He probably went through the motions of playing silently. Whoever added the track later was careless in not even coming close to matching what he was playing.See more »
Lt. Columbo:My ears pop in an elevator. As a matter if fact, I don't even like being this tall.See more »
Sunday Mornin' Comin' DownSee more »


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33 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
A Haunting And Very American Tragedy, 29 January 2006
Author: Dan1863Sickles from Troy, NY

Rich, sexy, haunting and ultimately quite tragic, this classic COLUMBO episode combines a stark and surprisingly powerful performance by country superstar Johnny Cash with an even more sensational star turn by screen legend Ida Lupino.

Tommy Brown is a weak, shiftless country music singer, lured into the Christian crusade by his strong-willed, majestic wife Edna. Even though his talent and charisma are what make the Lost Soul Crusade such a breakout success, Edna keeps all the money to realize her dream of building the great tabernacle. Tommy can't even afford his own car! So one night he sets up an ingenious plan to kill Edna (and her sweet, pretty young assistant) and leave himself in control of the music fortune that should rightfully be his.

What makes this crime story a classic is not really the clues or the mystery, but the way each character is so richly full and rounded. Tommy Brown is not really an evil man. At the beginning he makes a very good case that Edna should share some of the money he earns with his music. He's weak, but he's not just a nobody. He really does have a special talent and he feels very strongly that the American dream should be his. Money, fame, and success are not worth killing for -- but when a man has a special talent and has to watch his money go out of his hands, to build someone else's dream, it's not fair.

Edna Brown is equally fascinating. Even though she's a very attractive older woman, it's obvious she has no use for Tommy in her bed. She's truly a woman of God, with courage and vision and an unselfish dream. Her tragedy is that she really is too strong to understand human weakness. Using blackmail and scare tactics to keep her sinful husband in line somehow doesn't make her quite so repulsive as you would expect. She really is like a majestic and queenly figure. At the same time, watch the way she treats her assistant, Mary Ann. This is a very pretty, shy young girl Tommy seduced and ruined. It would be so easy for Edna to make the young girl's life miserable, screeching at her and picking at her for giving in to her sinful desires. But if you watch closely, it becomes obvious that Edna looks after Mary Ann just like a mother. The two of them are devoted to each other. And when Tommy makes his fateful decision, you really feel for all three people -- trapped in an American tragedy of greed, guilt, and spiritual ambition gone wrong.

Even as a ten year old boy, I was hypnotized by this story. It struck me as being far above the usual television drama. And now, thirty years later, having gone to school and read books like ABSALOM, ABSALOM and An American Tragedy, my opinion of this very special COLUMBO episode is even higher. This is not only great television, it is truly a work of art!

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