IMDb > "Murder, She Wrote" The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel (1988)

"Murder, She Wrote" The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel (1988)

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Peter S. Fischer (created by) and
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
18 December 1988 (Season 5, Episode 7)
Jessica is summoned to California where a recently recovered Air Force plane could pin a decades-old murder on her dead husband Frank. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Cold Reception Foreshadows a Cold Cold Case Investigations See more (1 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher

Michael Ansara ... Nicholas Rossi

Jane Greer ... Bonnie Phelps

Clifton James ... Ray Dressler

Martin Milner ... Lt. Clint Phelps

Richard Roundtree ... Maj. Kevin Cooper

Robin Strasser ... Sylvia Gagliano

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Gen. Marcus Havermeyer
Danny Hassel ... Lt. Gaynes
Doug Dupuy ... Polygraph Technician

Mark Costello ... Guard
Scott Richard Ehredt ... Sergeant
J. Michael Warren ... Young Officer
Colleen McDermott ... Young Woman
Gerry Okuneff ... First Man

John Newberg ... Young Frank Fletcher
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leonard Federico ... Pilot

Bob Minor ... 2nd Mugger (uncredited)

Dale Robertson ... Lee Goddard (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Vincent McEveety 
Writing credits
Peter S. Fischer (created by) and
Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Peter S. Fischer (written by)

Produced by
Peter S. Fischer .... executive producer
Anthony Magro .... associate producer (as Anthony J. Magro)
Robert F. O'Neill .... supervising producer
Robert Van Scoyk .... producer
Original Music by
David Bell 
Cinematography by
John Elsenbach (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Michael J. Lynch 
Production Design by
Hub Braden 
Set Decoration by
Robert Wingo 
Production Management
Ronald Martinez .... unit production manager (as Ron Martinez)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Allen DiGioia .... first assistant director (as Allen G. Di Gioia)
Robert M. Williams Jr. .... second assistant director
Art Department
John P. Bruce .... set designer (uncredited)
John Hathaway .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Robert 'Bob' Jillson .... set designer (uncredited)
Deland 'Dee' Lyttle .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Steve Purdy .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Dale Johnston .... supervising sound editor
Don Sharpless .... sound mixer
Al Gomez .... foley mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Johnny Borgese .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Ron Stephenson .... casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Robert Eli Bodford Jr. .... costume supervisor
Lambert Marks .... costume supervisor
Debi Orrico .... costume supervisor
Radford Polinsky .... set costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Wayne Hampton .... colorist
Marc Wielage .... telecine colorist
Location Management
Pete Juliano .... location manager (uncredited)
Music Department
John Addison .... composer: theme
Laurie Higgins Tobias .... music editor (as Laurie L. Higgins)
Transportation Department
Robert 'Bob' Routhieaux .... driver: production designer (uncredited)
Other crew
Chris Manheim .... story editor
Robert E. Swanson .... executive story editor
Desi Scarpone .... production assistant (uncredited)

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Peter S. Fischer  creator
Richard Levinson  creator
William Link  creator

Produced by
Kevin Corcoran .... assistant producer
Makeup Department
Teresa M. Austin .... key makeup artist
Rita Bellissimo .... hair stylist (as Rita Bellissimo Bordonaro)
Lori Benson .... makeup artist
Dino Ganziano .... hair stylist
Ronald W. Smith .... hair stylist
Gerald Solomon .... hair stylist
Robert L. Stevenson .... hair department head
Ann Wadlington .... hair stylist
Vera Yurtchuk .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Stephen Swofford .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Louis G. Friedman .... assistant director
Elena Santaballa .... dga trainee
Michael-McCloud Thompson .... dga trainee
Art Department
Tom Margozewitz .... assistant property master
Sebastian Milito .... construction coordinator
Ted Wilson .... carpenter
Sound Department
James L. Aicholtz .... sound mixer
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Beau Biggart .... adr mixer
Barney Cabral .... adr editor
Joe Campana .... assistant sound editor
Richard Coleman .... sound recordist
Mark Kamps .... assistant sound editor
Susan Kurtz .... sound effects editor (1992-1994)
Richard LeGrand Jr. .... sound editor
Anthony Milch .... sound editor (as Tony Milch)
Linda Moss .... sound editor
Cindy Rabideau .... supervising sound editor (1993-1996)
Peter Reale .... sound re-recording mixer
Dean St. John .... adr mixer (various episodes)
Clancy T. Troutman .... sound editor
Special Effects by
George Zamora .... special effects coordinator
Steven Burnett .... stunts
Debbie Evans .... stunts
Larry Holt .... stunt performer
Terry James .... stunts
Steve Kelso .... stunts
Gene LeBell .... stunts
Khristian Lupo .... stunts
Buck McDancer .... stunt coordinator
Sherry Peterson .... stunts
Jimmy N. Roberts .... stunts
Michael M. Vendrell .... stunts
Greg Walker .... stunts
Dick Warlock .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Ben Beaird .... key grip
Owen Marsh .... camera operator (1987)
Stan McClain .... aerial camera operator
Keith H. Moore .... assistant camera
Serge Poupis .... first assistant camera
Matt Ramirez .... first assistant camera
Matt Ramirez .... photographer: second unit
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sandra Henderson .... head stylist
Editorial Department
Ken Latka .... film transfer colorist
Ralph A. Riccoboni .... assistant editor (1994-1996)
Music Department
Tim Boyle .... score mixer
Joshua Winget .... music editor (final season)
Other crew
Bundy Chanock .... set medic (1994)
Fred Fein .... stand-in
Betty Green .... title designer
Carolyn Hayes .... production auditor
Beth Humphreys .... legal supervisor
Mary Kara .... technical consultant (1995-1996)
Keith McNulty .... cue cards
Rod Ripley .... assistant to producers
Art Scholl .... pilot (1985)
Susan Vercelli .... production coordinator
Robert 'Bobby Z' Zajonc .... aerial coordinator
Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

60 min | 47 min
Color | Black and White (archive footage)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
UK:PG (video rating) (2007)

Did You Know?

The vintage "Dixie Damsel", one of the few "Air Fortress" still in mechanical order for flight, was flown into Burbank from where the airplane is berthed in Idaho State.See more »
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Cold Reception Foreshadows a Cold Cold Case Investigations, 29 September 2009
Author: WeatherViolet from United States

A vintage newsreel featuring Young U.s. Air Force (USAF) Captain Frank Fletcher's (John Newberg) emerging from the USAF C-97 Cargo Transport Airplane "Dixie Damsel" to embrace American soil en route from Seoul, during the Korean War.

In the current day, from Seattle, Washington, Bonnie Phelps (Jane Greer) telephones Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), in Cabot Cove, Maine, to inform her that the Dixie Damsel has been found in an Alaskan snowbank, after its crew had parachuted during a 1952 blizzard. Bonnie and Jessica had shared quarters back in San Diego, California, during those years when their husbands were stationed together during the Korean War.

And now Bonnie plans to accompany her husband, Clint Phelps (Martin Milner), to Crawford Air Force Base, in California, to greet the arrival of the restored USAF Cargo Transport, which had been abandoned during a 1952 blizzard by four of five crew members, who were rescued 72 hours later.

Bittersweet memories transpire for Jessica, who, upon her arrival to the airfield, observes a Young Officer (J. Michael Warren) and his companion, a Young Woman (Colleen McDermott), merrily exiting into a convertible. Jessica then experiences a pleasant reunion with Bonnie and Clint inside, before accusations begin to fly.

When Air Force Major Kevin Cooper (Richard Roundtree) dismisses Jessica as unnecessary for his investigation, she requests a bit of common courtesy. But their meeting is interrupted by the return of the Dixie Damsel to the airfield.

Officer Lee Goddard (Dale Robertson) had left his Tuscon, Arizona, ranch two days earlier to fly to Alaska, and now to pilot the Dixie Damsel back to Crawford Air Force Base, to reunite with Clint, Bonnie and Jessica. When they ask why they cannot receive answers from Major Cooper, Lee explains that a body has been found aboard the airplane, preserved in the snowbank some 36 years, after being shot. And now, Major Cooper investigates which of the Cargo Transport crew has committed the murder.

Several out of town guests spend the evening at Desert Blossom Motel and dine at Gondolier Restaurant, at which Bonnie, Clint, Lee and Jessica notice the arrival of former Dixie Damsel crew member, radio operator Sergeant Ray Dressler (Clifton James), a grouchy type bearing a superiority complex, who has arrived from Armarillo, Texas, to take the lie detector test, which Major Cooper has scheduled for the next morning.

With Major Cooper on hand, Polygraph Technician (Doug Dupuy) finally administers the test to Clint Phelps, while Jessica waits in the outer office with Lee Goddard and Ray Dressler, who has no use for Major Cooper, nor the arriving Nicholas Rossi (Michael Ansara), who introduces himself as a cousin of the victim, Pete Gagliano, who accompanies Pete's long-estranged daughter, Sylvia Gagliano (Robin Strasser), to identify the body.

Lieutenant Gaynes (Danny Hassle), Sergeant (Scott Richard Ehredt) and Guard (Mark Costello) also serve on the base, where Major Cooper asks Lieutenant Gaynes to make Jessica to feel at home after he accuses her late husband, Frank, of the murder by process of elimination, based upon his preliminary findings of the lie detector tests. Jessica, therefore, demands a complete investigation, and if the Air Force won't do it, then she certainly will.

General Havermeyer (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) arrives on the airfield from St. Petersburg, Florida. He had been stationed in Tokyo during the Korean War, and would frequently ship furniture and other personal belongings back to the States via Air Cargo Transport. During "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel," General Havermeyer had shipped a vintage automobile, which he had purchased for his wife on the occasion of their 20th wedding anniversary.

Jessica is therefore determined to prove that there was a sixth individual on board the Dixie Damsel, supported by the fact that the five parachutes were all missing from the cargo supply, and because she discovers another clue upon examining the vintage automobile.

But that evening, outside of the bar of Gondolier Restaurant, First Mugger (Gerry Okuneff) and Second Mugger (Bob Minor) ambush one of the suspects in a knife attack.

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