Columbo (1971–2003)
22 user 4 critic

Old Fashioned Murder 

The spinster head of a family-run museum murders her brother when he threatens to dissolve the financially strapped institution.



(teleplay by), (story by) (as Lawrence Vail) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Ruth Lytton
Janie Brandt
Edward Lytton
Mrs. Brandt
Peter S. Feibleman ...
Milton Shaeffer
Jon Miller ...
Sgt. Miller
Jess Osuna ...
Dr. Tim Shaeffer
Anthony Holland ...
Lucy Saroyan ...
Gary Krawford ...
Watch Salesman
Eloise Hardt ...
Cathy - Maid
2nd Detective
Giles Douglas ...


The Lytton family owns a museum. Siblings Ruth and Edward (curator and trustee, respectively) have devoted their lives to it, but with things not going so well, Edward has decided to sell it. Ruth doesn't agree and plans otherwise (the old-fashioned way). She has a niece, Janie, whom she loves more than her mother does, who has hired Milton Schaeffer, a petty thief and inveterate gambler (and the brother of her (Janie's) lover), as their new security guard. With a subsequent double-homicide on hand utilizing these details, Columbo delves into the family's personal history to help unravel spinster Ruth's ruthless scheme. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia / with additional information by statmanjeff

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Plot Keywords:

museum | trustee | curator | murder | death | See All (64) »


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Release Date:

28 November 1976 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The mansion that the Lyttons live in is the same one that Bruce Wayne lived in on the Batman TV series. See more »


In talking with Janie, Ruth's arms change positions between shots from hanging at her sides to being folded. See more »


Columbo: Well, you've got some family, Miss Lytton. Everybody thinks I'm getting ready to arrest them.
Ruth Lytton: Everybody but me.
Columbo: Yes. It's a relief talking to you. I was beginning to feel like a policeman.
Ruth Lytton: You ARE a policeman - and a good one. You say a thing when you're ready to say it and not before.
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This Old Man
English folk children's counting song.
Whistled by Peter Falk
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User Reviews

one of the best
9 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the best Columbos. You can't beat the cast, the storyline, or anything about it. I can't be as erudite as the other poster, so I'll just say I loved it.

The cast is top notch - Joyce van Patten, Jeannie Berlin, Tim O'Connor and Celeste Holm, who is a riot. "I am not without influence, Lieutenant Columbus!" And a line I use myself even today: "I have told you, I cannot leave a room without a man to escort me." That line gets a neat twist at the end of the movie.

Joyce Van Patten, Holm and O'Connor are all family members who own a museum.

It's Van Patten's whole life, but it's a money pit and O'Connor wants to get rid of it. There lies the conflict.

I highly recommend this particular Columbo.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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