The Lt. Columbo Forum

An area where fans from all over can ask each other questions and voice their own ideas and opinions on anything Columbo.

This Forum is fondly dedicated in memory of  "cassavetes45"  (Carleen Zink),
Columbo's greatest fan and a great friend to us all.
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"Filler Time"

I justed watched Make Me a Perfect Murder and I had forgotten about the 3.5 minutes of filler/unnecessary time of Columbo fooling around in the editors booth with all those shapes and lines on the TV screens.

In real life nobody would let him play around with the boards. This is just one example. There are others in the series that use interesting scenarios just to fill up some time. Anybody else notice this? ( and if I heard that Walking my Baby song one more time I would sing it in my sleep).

Re: "Filler Time"

My opinion, Columbo is loaded with "darker" esoteric messaging, symbolism and suggestion. This scene is in that set of Columbo scenes that are trying to tell us something beyond just cute shapes on the screens. I've made a few low-level attempts to freeze-frame and ponder that one, but never came up with an idea there.

I do not believe they inserted completely meaningless scenes for filler time. I do agree they probably had to extend a few scenes to include longer cuts, etc. But this one here means something. I believe this episode (Perfect Murder), Identity Crisis, Grand Deceptions, Deadly State of Mind and Bye Bye Sky High IQ are vehicles for deeper esoteric parallels I've always wondered about, and have my own ideas. I also think Commodore was one of these, and not just a "bad episode" as some suggest. I actually like that episode, but understand how some may not.

I recall somebody here mentioning this concept, and that they'd be interested in sharing what they thought about certain esoteric symbolism in ID Crisis. I can't find that post, but I'd like to hear more if that person is around. Or, if others have ideas.

"Oh and Raymond, I'll be watching Walking My Baby tonite". hehe

Re: "Filler Time"

Maybe it was to capitolize on George C. Scott's cameo

Re: "Filler Time"

I think the ultimate in Columbia filler is the bizarre sequence in Sex and the Married Detective where Columbia shows off his tuba skills.

Can anyone even attempt to explain a plot reason for that scene?

Re: "Filler Time"

That scene in Make me a Perfect Murder has always struck me as odd. I mean there are scenes that are obviously put into some of the episodes (particularly the longer ones) to stretch the episodes out more, but that scene just felt unusual and surreal. Anyway i love the scene where he hounds Kay on the tv screens, another surreal scene in that episode.

Re: "Filler Time"

Woops spell check made a mess of Columbo.

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I didn't know there was a George C. Scott cameo.

Even though it isn't VERY long, the plane landing in THE MOST CRUCIAL GAME could be called a fraction longer than it needs to be.

Re: "Filler Time"

In the past, I've cited Columbo's scene with Vito Scotti in "Candidate For Crime" as a case of "filler time" at its worst. Columbo goes through a whole rigmarole about a new jacket etc. for minutes on end before getting to the heart of the matter of did Nelson Hayward order a new jacket. This kind of stalling is ridiculous because it makes Columbo look just silly. He should do the stalling around bit with a *suspect* because that way it comes off as part of his underlying brilliance but when he does this with someone who is NOT a suspect and Columbo certianly knows that, then we have a case of the writers trying to fill time with shtick.

"Columbo" was not the only Mystery Movie title guilty of this. "McMillan and Wife" is loaded with filler scenes that are basically (1) Mac and Sally have romantic byplay and (2) Enright has a comical scene. These scenes never advance the storyline or the plot whatsoever but again are clearly of the "how do we get this padded to 90 minutes and two hours?" Those who love to watch the actors will generally not mind but if you are concentrating on the plot too much it really gets annoying.

Re: "Filler Time"

As much as I like BOTH scenes, in Death Lends A Hand, Columbo takes two different scenes to tell Ken Archer that he doesn't suspect him at all. I'm not sure if that could be called padding or if he's deliberately letting him "stew" so he'll tell him the whole truth, or both. I guess I mean that as a question more than anything else.

Re: "Filler Time"

Many of these filler sequences are used to inject humour. The scene with Vito Scotti in 'Candidate for Crime' and several of his scenes in other episodes are good examples. Another would be the scene with the driving instructor in 'Negative Reaction'. Given the whole of 'Columbo' is a heavily sanitized version of an actual crime investigation I don't see a problem with this.

Unfortunately it does backfire on a few occasions when the fillers don't really work, such as 'Make Me a Perfect Murder' and the tuba episode already mentioned. To this I add the 'waiting for Lewis Lacey's address to be printed' scene in 'An Exercise in Fatality'. This is unusual in that Columbo comes across as impatient and just a bit annoying, in a way he doesn't when time's being wasted elsewhere.

Re: "Filler Time"

Another one is In Blueprint for Murder when Columbo goes to the city offices to find out about digging up the pyle. He walks into office after office only to find a mile long line and at the end of it gets told, "Lunch hour. Come back. 1:00." While I do find this scene funny, it's unnecessary to the plot and could be cut down to end after the first guy tells him what he needs to do.

Re: "Filler Time"

I think the Ken Archer scenes in "Death Lends A Hand" are different. That shows the early Columbo not weighed down by "gimmicks" who is doing some genuine investigating. He might know that Archer didn't do it because of the ring issue but he also from an investigating standpoint needs the full information on Archer's relationship with Mrs. Kennicutt. He has to make him sweat just a little bit to get that information and *then* he can tell him he's in the clear.