I feel the same way about the episode in that I didn't like it at first, but it grew on me. It has one of the best "gotchas" and it's particularly good that Dr. Collier is so arrogant. He's almost childish when Columbo says something like: "This man is Mr. Morris". And Collier snaps: "So!". It cracks me up.
It's funny how much people used to smoke and how quickly it all changed.
The "Sorry I don't have a willy", remark was probably snuck in for an American audience by a British writer. Willy is slang for penis, but I expect that few Americans, especially back then would know that.
Regarding the word "highway", in America it usually refers to the interstate system built during the Eisenhower administration. However, state routes are often called highways, especially if they are very busy. The road by the beach house didn't look busy though.
Columbo takes special rage against doctors. Other than this episode, he famously threatens Dr. Mayfield and he lets Dr. Fleming know exactly how he feels about him. Perhaps it bothers him that somebody is supposed to be a healer but shows little regard for life. I guess he was relatively friendly to Bart Kepple because he kept forgetting that he was DOCTOR Kepple, lol.
Pete, that's an excellent observation - never heard that distinction made before. Great stuff!
I know almost nothing about it, but I think the scream coming from that room is a small joke about "Primal Screaming," a kind of therapy where patients are encouraged to actually do that.
The Room-Scream thing is an attempt at humor. It's like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon - the character opens a hospital room/bathroom/dressing room/bedroom and a woman is changing and she screams. It just reveals Columbo's single-minded focus and offers a bit of a chuckle.
i agree with you that the hypnosis scenes are too long. They serve a purpose up to 1.4. I kind of got lost. It was almost like listening to the 15-minute version of Volaire.