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?


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


When Columbo and his sergeants examine the dead body in the phone booth, Columbo refers to one of the sergeants as "Carter;" but, when he later talks to Ruth Lytton in the same room, Columbo refers to the same sergeant as "Sergeant Shaw." Sergeant Carter/Shaw is played by Mike Lally. 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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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
See more »

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User Reviews

The Museum
27 February 2016 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

Joyce Van Patten stars as Ruth Lytton, the never-married head of the family-owned museum that has been sadly losing money. Her caring but stern brother Edward(played by Tim O' Connor) has decided to convince their sister(played by Celeste Holm) to close the museum, which is something Ruth cannot allow, so she concocts a surprising(for her) plan to murder him, blaming it on a guard with a shady past, then killing him too. Lt. Columbo(Peter Falk) doesn't believe it was a botched robbery, but how to find proof against the spinsterish Miss Lytton? Oddly flat episode isn't that compelling, but is still innocuous enough to make it passable fare.

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