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)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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 »


Supposedly the burglar is shot by the accountant who is shot in return. Columbo listens to the inventory tape many times but listens to the answering machine tape only once. If the two men shot each other at nearly the same time, the answering machine (fake) message would have two gunshots to account for the dual deaths. It had only one. Columbo failed to pick up on this (even if to consider simultaneous gunfire). 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
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User Reviews

Columbo goes to the museum...
10 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Old-Fashioned Murder is not one of my favourite Columbos of all time, but I do consider it one of the sadly under-appreciated episodes. It is filmed beautifully, and the music adds much to the period and the mood. Old-Fashioned Murder is well-written with some amusing dialogue, with the scene with the hairdresser one of the funniest moments of the entire series, and the story while not as efficiently paced as other entries is still diverting. Peter Falk is excellent as always, Joyce Van Patten is wonderfully dry and calculating and of the support cast Celeste Holm is a riot.

All in all, a very good episode if missing out just on the truly great standard. It's a shame it's so under-appreciated, when (although I love Columbo) I can think of at least 6 other Columbos that fare much weaker. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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