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OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 16, 2020 09:50

Johnny plays Tommy Brown - a famous country/gospel singer who kills his hypocritical bible spouting blackmailer of a wife by intentionally crashing his Cessna (he’s a pilot too!) with her and his underage lover on it while he parachutes into the arms of a new nubile choir girl. Ballsy!

And like Sir Mick Johnny is a pretty good thespian but best of all he sings two songs during the episode (the Kris Kristofferson-penned ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ is a personal favorite) and is seldom seen without his famous Martin guitar (Keith owns a Martin too if I’m not mistaken).

Columbo eats a bowl of chili, as he often does, but in this episode it’s a special recipe made from squirrel meat…and it’s served to him by the guy who sodomized Ned Beatty in ‘Deliverance.’ Great cast!

Of the sixty-nine Colombo episodes produced this is the only one in which the murderer implies he could bang Colombo’s wife. Johnny was so Alpha! And yet sympathetic at the same time.

But I’ve saved the best for last. The ghost of Gram Parsons appears (sort of) in the form of Larry Burrell who plays a TV reporter covering the crash site. Larry Burrell actually was a newscaster but of more import is the fact that he happens to be the father of Gretchen Burrell – who was none other than Gram’s wife! I’ve watched this episode numerous times over the years but only recently made this stunning connection.

Gram and Keith often watched Columbo at Nellcote when they wanted a natural high.

Ok I made that last part up but check out ‘Swan Song’ for great music, acting, diabolical scheming, Gretchen Burrell’s father and an airplane crash!

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: ChrisL ()
Date: September 16, 2020 10:18

I was always under the impression that this was the greatest Columbo episode simply because Johnny Cash was in it!

I love, love, love Johnny Cash.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Date: September 16, 2020 12:16

Classic episode.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Bjorn ()
Date: September 16, 2020 12:26

Seen it! spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: SKILLS ()
Date: September 16, 2020 12:40

Met him...twice.

But as Cop shows from the era go i'm a Kojak guy, then Hill Street Blues which is still so damn good

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: September 16, 2020 13:27

One of the best episodes ever . So cool to see the Man in Black opposite the Lt. Colombo and matching wits . I love the band playing by the swimming pool in his swanky mansion with there Silverface Fender Reverb amps and the Man in Blacks Martin acoustic . Great episode ! Oh Just one more question cool smiley

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: gotdablouse ()
Date: September 16, 2020 16:24

Yeah, great episode indeed ! Showed it to my kids last year actually.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Big Al ()
Date: September 16, 2020 16:56

Columbo, like Murder She Wrote, reminds me of grey, dreary afternoon's at home midweek.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Munichhilton ()
Date: September 16, 2020 17:50

Not bad...I enjoyed Johnny as a crooked preacher on Little House On The Prairie as well...he even brought June Carter along on that one

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: September 16, 2020 18:02

Good one with Cash.. a two hour episode if I recall correctly.

Favorite for me was one of the ones Jack Cassidy starred in as " Santini" a magician.
Cassidy (David Cassidy's dad) starred in a couple episodes, always great.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: September 16, 2020 18:10

Quote
MisterDDDD
Good one with Cash.. a two hour episode if I recall correctly.

Favorite for me was one of the ones Jack Cassidy starred in as " Santini" a magician.
Cassidy (David Cassidy's dad) starred in a couple episodes, always great.
Oh yeah , I always wondered if they were related and you now answered it . Santini was a great episode as well .

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: September 16, 2020 18:12

The other episode I loved was the one where the Lt. was going on a cruise with the Mrs. who was never shown in a episode and of course someone has to murder someone and the Lt. is called to duty on the high seas .

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 16, 2020 18:38

Quote
Bjorn
Seen it! spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Yeah but I bet you didn't realize that Gram Parsons' father-in-law was in it. So now that I've gifted you this knowledge I'd think you'd want to call a friend who shares your interest in Columbo and Gram/Keith and say 'hey remember that Johnny Cash episode? Gram Parsons' father-in-law was in it.'

That goes for everyone. I didn't start this thread to discuss our favorite Columbo episodes.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Date: September 16, 2020 19:41

Quote
SKILLS
Met him...twice.

But as Cop shows from the era go i'm a Kojak guy, then Hill Street Blues which is still so damn good

Don't forget The Rockford Files! But I'm with you on Kojak smiling smiley

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: LeonidP ()
Date: September 16, 2020 20:36

Columbo is great, but don't forget another great, but small, Peter Falk role ... The Princess Bride!

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: tomcasagranda ()
Date: September 16, 2020 20:53

The other song was I Saw The Light, which Johnny recorded specifically for the episode.

The I Saw The Light is the Hank Williams tune, not Todd Rungren by the way.

There's only one other instance of Cash returning it, and that was on The Survivors album with Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Justin ()
Date: September 16, 2020 21:10

Is it common medical practice to put a cast over a leather boot?

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: September 17, 2020 00:47

Could be my favorite episode mostly because it's Johnny Cash, but not because of his acting skills ha.
From memory, Johnny says in frustrated anger: "Now you just wait a minute Columbo!!!", and says it not very convincingly lol.
Off the top of my head, several other favorite Columbo episodes, listed by guest actors (who can actually act):
- Dick Van Dyke
- Roddy McDowell
- Leonard "Spock" Nimoy
- Robert Conrad
- Eddie Albert
- Donald Pleasence
And no doubt quite a few others I can't recall right now.

________________
Keep on rolling.......

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: tomk ()
Date: September 17, 2020 09:07

Huge, huge Columbo fan here,
Swan Song is in my Top 5 episodes.
However, I can't see Keith and Parsons watching these--except maybe the first season--and even then the dates are iffy. The Richards/Parsons thing is so blown out of proportion at times. Next thing you'll find out is that they memorized every episode of Get Smart! or something.
Best lines in Swan Song is Falk, at the end...
"I knew. Then I didn't know. And then I knew."
There are dozens, actually. Great episode.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: tomk ()
Date: September 17, 2020 09:22

"Of the sixty-nine Colombo episodes produced this is the only one in which the murderer implies he could bang Colombo’s wife. Johnny was so Alpha! And yet sympathetic at the same time."

Where/when does Tommy Brown say this?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-17 09:24 by tomk.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 17, 2020 11:21

Quote
tomcasagranda
The other song was I Saw The Light, which Johnny recorded specifically for the episode.

I wasn’t aware of that, thanks.

Given the popularity of the Cash episode I’m surprised that other artists like Dylan or Jagger didn’t audition for Columbo – both would’ve made great villains.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 17, 2020 11:23

Quote
Hairball
Could be my favorite episode mostly because it's Johnny Cash, but not because of his acting skills ha.
From memory, Johnny says in frustrated anger: "Now you just wait a minute Columbo!!!", and says it not very convincingly lol.
Off the top of my head, several other favorite Columbo episodes, listed by guest actors (who can actually act):
- Dick Van Dyke
- Roddy McDowell
- Leonard "Spock" Nimoy
- Robert Conrad
- Eddie Albert
- Donald Pleasence
And no doubt quite a few others I can't recall right now.

Yeah, Johnny did flub one line (he put the accent on the wrong word) and his facial expression when he’s desperately searching for the parachute is definitely amateur hour but on the whole I thought he gave an extraordinary performance. It may not have been a stretch since he was basically playing himself but his relaxed Arkansas drawl and impish charm were perfect for the role.

Agree with your list except for Roddy McDowell. It was supposed to be the lead-off episode to season 1 but Peter Falk realized it was weak and held it back.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 17, 2020 11:25

Quote
tomk
Huge, huge Columbo fan here,
Swan Song is in my Top 5 episodes.
However, I can't see Keith and Parsons watching these--except maybe the first season--and even then the dates are iffy.

I said I was only kidding about that.
The reporter at the crash sight was, however, Gram’s father-in-law, a fact I (and I alone it seems) find fascinating. The episode aired about one year after his death.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 17, 2020 11:27

Quote
tomk
"Of the sixty-nine Colombo episodes produced this is the only one in which the murderer implies he could bang Colombo’s wife. Johnny was so Alpha! And yet sympathetic at the same time."

Where/when does Tommy Brown say this?

Early in the episode Columbo, trying to explain the dangers of celebrity, tells Tommy how his wife carries on when she listens to his records.
Tommy – But not like she wants to kill me (laughing)
Columbo – No, just the opposite. (Which would technically mean she wants to give birth to him but…)

Then later during the airport scene, Tommy says ‘be sure to say hi to your wife for me’, laughing lasciviously. He’s clearly making fun of Columbo, even if he doesn’t seriously intend to make him a cuckold.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-17 11:34 by Swayed1967.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: September 17, 2020 13:42

Quote
Swayed1967
Quote
tomcasagranda
The other song was I Saw The Light, which Johnny recorded specifically for the episode.

I wasn’t aware of that, thanks.

Given the popularity of the Cash episode I’m surprised that other artists like Dylan or Jagger didn’t audition for Columbo – both would’ve made great villains.
I think Dylan did not have the acting chops . Mick Jagger would have been great , but I think he had his sights on the silver screen and if offered a Guest slot then would have turned it down . Today I think he would do it , but that is moot as there is no more Lt. Colombo . I loved when ABC re started the series in 1989 I believe and there were some killer episodes with super good guests like Faye Dunaway , George Hamilton , George Wendt .Very well written episodes . One of the final episodes was about the club scene in the late 90's (I think 97 ) and people were all stoned out on Ecstasy and of course someone got murdered .

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Date: September 17, 2020 13:56

Love me some Columbo, but what exactly was the Stones content here again?

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: ChrisL ()
Date: September 17, 2020 14:19

Quote
DandelionPowderman
Love me some Columbo, but what exactly was the Stones content here again?

Come on Dandy, keep up.

Johnny did a spectacular cover of No Expectations on Gone Girl.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Date: September 17, 2020 14:25

Quote
ChrisL
Quote
DandelionPowderman
Love me some Columbo, but what exactly was the Stones content here again?

Come on Dandy, keep up.

Johnny did a spectacular cover of No Expectations on Gone Girl.

Ah, gotcha! smiling smiley

+ he and Keith both have recorded Girl From The North Country winking smiley

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Posted by: Swayed1967 ()
Date: September 17, 2020 18:17

Quote
DandelionPowderman
Love me some Columbo, but what exactly was the Stones content here again?

How about the making of Exile on Main Street? Is that enough Stones content for you?

You've seen the pics of Gram and Gretchen at Nellcote. Gram was more important to Keith than his drug dealers and Mick learned a few licks from him as well. Larry Burrell, Gram's father-in-law, is in that Columbo episode as I think I've mentioned a hundred freakin' times. Without his seed, Exile would probably be a very different record. Maybe I should've said Stones connection rather than content but hell Gram and Gretchen were family.

Re: OT: Why ‘Swan Song’ guest-starring Johnny Cash is the greatest of all Columbo episodes (Stones content)
Date: September 17, 2020 18:40

Quote
Swayed1967
Quote
DandelionPowderman
Love me some Columbo, but what exactly was the Stones content here again?

How about the making of Exile on Main Street? Is that enough Stones content for you?

You've seen the pics of Gram and Gretchen at Nellcote. Gram was more important to Keith than his drug dealers and Mick learned a few licks from him as well. Larry Burrell, Gram's father-in-law, is in that Columbo episode as I think I've mentioned a hundred freakin' times. Without his seed, Exile would probably be a very different record. Maybe I should've said Stones connection rather than content but hell Gram and Gretchen were family.

I love Gram, but in no way that's documented did he participate in 'the making of Exile'.

The fact that his father in law did a cameo in that episode is funny and cool (and indeed it's worth a new thread), but it's not 'Stones content' smiling smiley

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