Just One More Thing

The folks over at InnerTube noted the uncanny similarity between the real-life conflict between attorney-turned-pseudonovelist Robert Tanenbaum and his ghostwriter cousin Michael Gruber and a classic episode of COLUMBO.

Had this been a plot for a Television show, Tanenbaum would have shot and killed
Gruber before he had the chance to reveal the secret to a reporter from The
Romantic Times. (Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t have been much fun for the

familiar? It’s the plotline for the first episode of ‘Columbo’ as a series
(third ‘Columbo’ outing overall if you count the two pilots). "Murder By The
Book" starred Jack Cassidy, who would have been the Tanenbaum-type character,
and Martin Milner as the Gruber stand-in.

Not that he ever had murder in
his heart, but Tanenbaum sounds like he would have made for the perfect
antagonist to Lt. Columbo. He was not only a lawyer and (alleged) author, but
also a teacher and a mayor! It sounds as if his social standing would have been
quite a formidable challenge to the attempts by the shabby, fumbling little
detective trying to investigate him.

2 thoughts on “Just One More Thing”

  1. This isn’t written in stone, but for y’all who are into this kind of trivia, Jack Cassidy was in several Columbo episodes, I think, and one of them–I think the one mentioned here–was written by a then-unknown writer by the name of Stephen Bochco and a then-unknown director named Stephen Spielberg.
    And if I’m wrong, well, it’s the sort of story that “should be true.”

  2. Your post reminded me of another episode of Columbo where Jack Cassidy plays a literary agent who kills a mystery writer played, interstingly enough, by Mickey Spillane.
    Columbo was a great show, and it surprises me that the quality of the scripts fell so low in the newer episodes of the 90s.


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