Columbo (1971–2003)
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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)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter S. Feibleman, who wrote this episode's teleplay, cameos as Milton Shaeffer, the museum's security guard. See more »


When Columbo offers to walk Ruth home, his left hand touches his face, but when the scene changes to a different camera, his hands are clasped together below the belt line. See more »


Columbo: You know, when I say "Homicide Department," most women, they act a little upset, so I try and calm 'em with a little chit-chat. I've been doing that for so long that I forgot to notice that you weren't upset. Forgive me for wandering off.
Ruth Lytton: I've disappointed you. My sister won't. You needn't even bother saying "homicide." "Foul play" will do it. She faints.
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The Girl from Ipamena
("Garota de Ipamena") (uncredited)
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
Portugese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Instrumental version heard in beauty salon
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User Reviews

Average, yes, but fun with it
9 June 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

OLD FASHIONED MURDER is a solid TV movie from the COLUMBO stable. It was put on TV in 1976, during season six of the show, so by now the format was familiar and it's left to the scriptwriters to throw spins on it. What follows is a story that's engaging while being entirely middle of the road and rather predictable.

The story involves a family-run museum which is struggling to make ends meet in the modern world. In this show, dodgy finances equal murder, thanks to an elaborate plan involving an alcoholic security guard who's asked to stage a robbery and his own disappearance, only to find himself murdered by his own employer. When another character intervenes, it's up to Columbo to solve a double murder.

Peter Falk is by far the best thing about this show, and that's particularly noticeable when the rest of the cast isn't up to much (Joyce Van Patten is one of the more lacklustre guest stars, steadfastly refusing to get annoyed - even irritated - with the shabby sleuth). What keeps this moving is the solving of individual clues, Falk's natural humour, and some broad comedy thrown into the mid (like the fainting sister). The scene where Columbo goes to get his hair cut is probably the highlight here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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