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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Question from "Murder by the book"

NHK-BSP has started re-airng Columbo the all episodes again.
50 years has pasted, but the masterpieces have never lost the value.

By the way, a few audiences in Japan have some confusions.
One of them is, about the situation of local calling.

In the 1970s in Los Angeles, was local calling service free?
Exchange to say, did not needed additional fee for local calling with only the basic fee?
So, no calling record left at AT&T,excepted for long distance calling?

In Japan, until 1920, local calling was free.It was included the basic fee.
In 1971, local calling needed 7yen (about 2 cents).

Anyone, please answer me?

Why did not Lt.Columbo check the calling exchange record from the office of Ken and Jim in "Murder by the book" ?

Oh, Just one more thing.
At the begging of the episode, Jim is typing the story of Mrs.Melville. But, he typed "J'ACUSE". Is this miss typing? I think the correct spelling is "J'ACCSE". Why director Spielberg allowed such miss spelling ?

I would like to know the answers.
I kindly ask for your cooperation.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"

Oh,sorry. I mistyped too.
not "re-airng" , in correct, "re-airing".

Please pardon me. I do not use english in my usual life.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"

Oh, I mistyped more.
not "begging". in correct "beginning" !

I have to beg your forgiveness.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"


J’acuse is a mistake. It should have been J’accuse . French for I accuse.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"

In the 1970s local calls weren’t logged. So there wouldn’t be a record of them.

And your English is great.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"

I am happy to answer you. As a longtime member of this forum, I can answer you one thing. Ken Franklin insisted that his partner Jim call his wife from the San Diego area from his own phone therefore, establishing an alibi for himself. Do you understand? Ken was trying to establish an alibi for himself by letting Jim use the phone for a long-distance call.

Re: Question from "Murder by the book"

Ah, I have understood it.

Ken made a long distance calling from the public phone in La Sanka's store, before the murder. This calling is sent from a public pay phone, so, AT&T does not record it.

And the INCIDENT, Ken says to Jim, to make a call to his wife, by direct dial, not by operator.
AT&T records only this one from the cabin.

After the investigation by LAPD, Lt.Columbo finds the calling exchange record of the latter, but it is natural, not suspicious.
Because Jim's wife Joanna testifies that she received a phone from Ken just before the incident, and Ken said this calling was making from the cabin in San Diego.

Oh, how perfect alibi !

Wait. How is the calling exchange record from the office of Ken and Jim's ?
Is LAPD so dumb not to check it ?
Otherwise, the scenario writer ignored this point intentionally ?

I and many of Columbo fans in Japan want to know is this.

"Yes, the local calling in !970's was free. So the calling from the office to Joanna would not be recorded."
I hoped for such answer.