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Prescription: Murder (TV Movie 1968) Poster

(1968 TV Movie)

Trivia

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Bing Crosby was also offered the role of Columbo, but didn't accept it because he felt that it would interfere with his golfing.
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This is the first of two pilot movies made before Columbo became part of the Mystery Movie wheel that played on NBC for most of the 1970s.
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This is the only time in the series that Columbo wears a pair of hush puppy style shoes.
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Columbo establishes two of his most famous trademarks by needing to borrow a pencil and, just before leaving the psychiatrist's office, by saying, "There's one more thing..."
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The reception room at Dr. Flemming's office features a distinctive painting, of trees and white houses with red roofs, which is prominent in several scenes. This same painting later appears in Columbo: Suitable for Framing (1971), as part of the art collection sliced and stolen by Dale Kingston.
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Several different sources have different first names for Columbo. By focusing in on his badge he occasionally flashed, some say it was Frank some say it was Joseph. The board game Trivial Pursuit has it as Philip, which they got from a trivia book that purposely made it up to see if anyone was paying attention. The writers say he definitely was not given a first name.
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Originally written as a play, the production was out of town bound for Broadway in 1962 when Thomas Mitchell (who was playing Columbo) died. The production closed and the script was later reworked for television. This film, which established Peter Falk as the definitive Lt. Columbo, was adapted from the 1962 play by the same authors. The play in turn had been adapted from The Chevy Mystery Show: Enough Rope (1960), in which Bert Freed originated the role of Columbo.
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The role of Lt. Columbo was offered to Lee J. Cobb, but he had to decline due to a clash in scheduling.
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Unlike in the regular show where Lieutenant Columbo had a more subtle, incisive method of interrogation, in "Prescription: Murder" he is more aggressive and intimidating.
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The house with pool used in the final scene is the same house and pool used in The Rockford Files: Backlash of the Hunter (1974) and later in Columbo: The Most Crucial Game (1972).
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To appear much taller than Peter Falk, Gene Barry wore lifts on his shoes during the scenes they had. In real life, Falk was 5 feet 4 and Barry was 5 feet 8.
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When Columbo asks if it's okay to smoke on the soundstage, he mentions that he likes a cigar but his wife would prefer he smoked a pipe. He adds that he doesn't like a pipe. Bing Crosby, reported to be an early choice to play Columbo, was known for smoking a pipe.
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Although Peter Falk has top billing, he doesn't make his first appearance as Columbo until 30 minutes into the TV movie.
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Character actor William Windom - cast as the attorney friend of the killer - would appear in the first season's "Short Fuse" from 1972.
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First appearance of Peter Falk as Columbo.
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During the regular show, Columbo would adopt a more subtle approach with interrogating everyone associated with a case.
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When eating the popsicle on the studio lot, Columbo litters by dropping the popsicle wrapper underneath the catering can.
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One of the five episodes where a murderer is some kind of medical person. Here the murderer is a psychiatrist, in Columbo: A Stitch in Crime (1973) a heart surgeon, in Columbo: A Deadly State of Mind (1975) again a psychiatrist, in Columbo: Sex and the Married Detective (1989) a sex therapist and finally in Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown (1990) a dentist.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

This film would later on become a subject of controversy due to a very politically incorrect line uttered to Dr. Flemming late in the film. Columbo says that Flemming will not be able to get away with the crime on account of the fact that he had employed a woman as an accomplice, since she wouldn't be able to keep her mouth shut. The woman, Miss Hudson, does subsequently spill her guts and Flemming is apprehended. Later on, in most versions of the movie, this line was removed, as it was deemed chauvinistic.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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