Columbo (1971) s02e05 Episode Script

Requiem for a Falling Star

And have made it look like Jean's death was a mistake.
I would never typecast you as a detective.
- I've been in love with you all my life.
- Are you insane? - I'm afraid she's dead.
- Oh, I'm sorry.
If Charles ever found out I took that money Unless, of course, he's a blackmailer.
Whose bedroom did you pry into this time? I'm here to arrest you for the murder of Jean Davis.
Hmm, darn.
Missed him.
! Print it.
! Beautiful, Nora.
I don't own this studio anymore.
Come in for a close-up, huh? Nice, tight, just about here.
Where's Jean? Get rid of the gun in the next shot, will ya? Miss Chandler.
Where's Jean? She was here a few minutes ago.
- Look who's here.
- Are they inside? Yes.
Thanks, Bob.
Oh, happy birthday, darling.
Save it for tonight.
I want you to know I have everything arranged.
I've completely organized your birthday.
That's why you're such a good social secretary.
Right you are.
Now, you have to be at the Beverly bookstore every night this week for an autograph session.
So So, when I get home, I want the candles all lit.
My dinner waiting.
And your hostess likewise.
Just don't let the wicked witch hold you up.
Remember, tonight is your night off.
jean! Jean? Oh, Jerry.
I didn't know you were in town.
Had to rush home.
Do some local promotion for my new book.
Oh, another book? Whose bedroom did you pry into this time? just a collection of some of my own movie columns, Nora.
Uh, Jean, dear.
Thanks for bringing him here.
Now, would you run along and tell the director that it's too late to try for my close-up.
Oh, yes.
- It's nice to see you again.
- Right.
So long, Jean.
All right.
Why are you here? Why, to see you, of course, Nora.
To see if you've given my little proposition any more thought.
I have.
I've decided to write my own biography.
Good-bye, Mr.
I understand there's a big gathering of studio brass coming up.
Real estate developers, TV moguls all the hucksters.
Oh, come on, Jerry.
Get to the point.
Nora, while I was in New York, I did some more research on my book about you, remember? Aren't you gonna pour me one? Buy your own.
Thank you.
And I finally managed to dig up some hidden accounts on that last picture you made in Italy.
That bomb.
You didn't lose a penny on it, but the studio lost two million dollars.
I'm afraid I'm just too tired to talk right now, if you don't mind.
I won't bore you with details.
But I also understand that the biggest brass of them all is arriving here tonight, isn't he? Mr.
Conglomerate himself? Frank Simmons.
And I got to thinking.
With all the trouble you're having with the studio right now, wouldn't they just love some ammunition? Wouldn't Simmons just love to hear how one little has-been movie queen managed to fix the books and out-swindle him? I'm not gonna write any of it, you understand.
I'm on your side.
Oh, I know how much all of this means to you, Nora.
I understand.
How much do you want? Just a reasonable amount for my research, that's all.
For my time? All right.
I'll call you first thing in the morning.
Nora? You changed already? The director said that What have you been telling Jerry Parks? What? Nothing.
Don't lie to me.
Don't you know he's a blackmailing, smut-peddling No.
You think he likes you.
Nora, I simply won't listen to you.
Oh, yes, you will.
No, I won't.
He loves me.
He's asked me to marry him.
He what? It's true.
Well, when did all this happen? We saw a lot of each other before the trip to New York.
The last one.
He's been writing to me.
He asked me in his letter the day before yesterday.
I- I was going to wait to tell you for a while, but - And you believed him.
- Oh, please, Nora.
You really think that creep is a prince in disguise.
Stop it! I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
And so am I.
I didn't mean to Nora, I've never told him anything about you.
And he's never asked.
Not once.
It's not the way you think.
Oh, I would never do anything to hurt you, or let him.
Now, look.
That's enough.
That's enough.
I'm the one that should be apologizing to you.
I just didn't understand.
I didn't I didn't understand how deeply you felt about him.
All right.
We just forget it.
And it's 6:00 and you have errands to run.
It's a very long list I'm afraid.
What? Well, you've got my dress to pick up.
That's urgent, of course.
But I was sort of planning tonight to to Oh! Oh.
You were going to take that Dorothy what's-her-name to the concert.
Isn't that what you told me? Well, yes.
But I'll never get through all of this before 9:00 or 10:00.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I just I don't know what it is.
I suppose we've been together so many years, I just can't stand the thought of losing you.
Now, look.
You never mind how I feel about Jerry Parks.
I'll get rid of that somehow.
Oh, he does admire you.
Truly he does, Nora.
Oh, yeah, of course.
Who doesn't? Now, darling, you will do those errands for me, won't you? I'm sure poor Dorothy won't mind missing another concert.
Well, I-I guess I can.
But I-I am sorry about everything.
Could I change my order to lobster? It's a little late for that.
What? No! No, no, no, darling.
Whatever you like.
You can have whatever you wish.
Weren't those lobsters in Boston absolutely divine? I've never tasted anything as good.
Oh, darling, Boston.
- I'll never forget that night.
- When were you in Boston, Nora? Last month, when I invited her.
I didn't realize you two knew each other so well.
Fallon, before I bought your studio, I made a personal inventory of all of your property.
Pardon me for interrupting.
Miss Chandler, may I see you a moment, please? If somebody wants an autograph, just sign it yourself, Joe.
What is it, Joe? A gentleman to see you.
He said it's rather urgent.
Oh, all right.
Excuse me.
Don't be long.
No, no, no.
Joe, how've you been? Fine.
Uh, Miss Chandler, we've been trying to reach you.
I'm afraid there's been a pretty bad accident.
What? There was an explosion and fire at the house of a friend of yours, Mr.
Jerry Parks.
Oh, no.
Why come to me? I mean, Mr.
Parks isn't particularly a fr You tell her yet? Nora, it's Jean.
Miss Jean Davis, ma'am.
She was alone in Mr.
Parks's car and Well, I'm-I'm afraid she's dead.
You're a little late.
Yeah, I know.
I got tied up on the freeway.
The stunt cars are up in the backlot.
Go up this street, make a left and straight up the hill.
Okay, yeah.
Excuse me, Officer.
What is it? Officer.
I don't know anything about any stunt cars.
I'm here to see Miss Chandler.
This isn't for the demolition derby, uh, sequence? I'm here on official business.
I thought you saw my police sticker on the windshield.
- What sticker? - That sticker.
Right, right, okay.
What happened to my sticker? Yeah, I'll tell her when she comes in.
Someone took my sticker.
Mister, you either state your business or get out.
You're holding up the traffic.
I had the sticker this morning.
Yeah, uh Lieutenant Columbo, police department.
I'm here to see Miss Chandler.
Okay, Lieutenant.
Her bungalow is right up the street.
Make a right.
You can't miss it.
Hey, Lieutenant.
Did you ever think of getting another car? Yeah, but I got another car.
My wife drives it.
Of course, it's nothing special.
Just for transportation.
What do you want? I understand this is where Miss Nora Chandler She can't see anybody right now.
Uh, my office called.
I'm from the police.
Lieutenant Columbo.
All right.
There's, uh, there's a lieutenant Lieutenant Columbo from the police.
All right, all right.
I'll take care of it.
This gentleman will take care of you.
You're the police.
Uh, yes, sir.
All right now.
Miss Chandler had to be hospitalized last night, you know.
I'm terribly sorry to hear that, sir.
I'm sure that there's very little you have to bother her with now.
The Davis girl was her secretary and constant companion for 1 8 years.
I wouldn't do anything to upset her.
You can imagine the kind of shock that Miss Chandler's experiencing.
So, you get out quickly.
You understand? Fully, sir.
Frank? Please, it's all right.
I wanna see him.
Good, girl.
See you at 2:00.
Make it quick, don't lean on her, or you'll have to answer to me personally.
You understand? Go on in.
Please, come on in.
Oh, yeah.
Uh What's the matter, Lieutenant? Are you all right? No, it's just that You know, Miss Chandler, if anybody ever told me I'd be standing here, I mean, right face-to-face with you.
I mean, I've been in love with you all my life.
I know.
You never expected to meet a legend.
Would you do me a favor? Would you call my wife? Just say hello.
It'd give her a tremendous thrill.
I mean, she saw every picture you've ever been in ever since she was a kid.
I mean, ever since high school.
I know how long ago that was, Lieutenant.
It's right there.
Thank you very much.
Just take a minute.
She'll get a big bang out of it.
It's me.
Put her on.
Where is she? Went to get fish.
When she comes back in the house, tell her not to leave.
Now don't hang up.
I'll be right back.
Say hello to my brother-in-law.
His name is George.
Just say, "Hello, George.
" Hello, George.
Guess who that was.
What do you mean you don't know? Don't you go to the movies? What are you, a moron? Hello, George.
This is Nora Chandler.
How are you? Ask him how tall he is.
George, how tall are you? Sorry, George.
I gotta run.
You're terrific.
Oh, thank you.
We try.
Now, what else can I do for you? Well, as a matter of fact, ma'am, uh, I would like to ask you a few questions, if you don't mind.
Oh, of course not.
Why don't, uh Why don't we out on the lanai? Oh, certainly.
Boy, right here in the middle of a huge movie studio.
This is like a regular house.
Do you live here? Mm-hmm.
When I'm filming.
It originally was built for me when I was a child actress.
I saw those pictures, too, on television.
The ones where you were dancing.
Why don't they make them like that anymore? Without all that violence.
Lieutenant, you said you wanted to ask me some questions.
You see, I hardly remember what happened last night myself.
It's still a blur.
Must have been a terrible shock to you.
That Miss Davis was very close, I guess.
Very close.
I'll tell you why I'm here.
It's because the arson squad is investigating that fire that trapped her in Mr.
Parks's car.
Arson? They're not sure yet.
Could be nothing.
But the neighbor, he's the one who called the fire department, he said he saw something that looked like an explosion.
Oh? What else did he see.
Who? Oh, the neighbor.
Nothing, I guess.
Say, your husband was just a little guy, wasn't he? Al Cumberland practically built this studio, in case you didn't know.
No, I meant short.
I mean, I always figured he was tall.
Like you, Miss Chandler.
I always thought you were tall.
I thought everybody in the movies was tall.
I notice he was a big man in the Shriners too.
Now that's something I know about.
That's a double eagle ring, Scottish rite, 3 2 degrees.
I had an uncle.
He played bagpipes in a Shriner's band.
He couldn't play a note, but nobody could tell the difference.
When was this picture taken? As a matter of fact, that was taken the day before he died.
Uh, Lieutenant, do you mind? I really am very tired.
Would you mind coming to the point? I'd like to know about Jean.
Excuse me.
Yes, yes, there is a lieutenant here.
From which office? Oh, yes, of course.
Uh, it's for you.
Ma'am, please excuse me.
I'm terribly sorry.
That's all right.
Don't bother me now.
Right away.
Ma'am, uh, please excuse me.
Oh, no, no.
That's quite all right.
What a lovely garden.
Fountain and everything.
Hard to believe this exists right in the middle of the studio.
Yes, you know, that fountain was part of a set from a picture I made a long time ago called Sarah Goes to College.
Can I have a memento? Not for me, for my wife.
She loves mementos.
Every time we go into a fancy restaurant, she steals an ashtray.
But, for me, it's embarrassing in my line of work.
Oh, but your work, according to that caller is homicide.
Correct? Yeah, that's true.
Can you imagine the embarrassment if she ever got caught? But surely, Lieutenant, surely they don't think Jane was murdered, do they? You know, I'm having such a good time here, I keep getting sidetracked.
Miss Chandler, would you mind coming for a ride with me down to police headquarters? I'm sorry if it's a bit dusty in there.
Oh, that's quite all right, Lieutenant.
Didn't get a chance to wash it.
Been very busy this past week.
Uh, Jeffries, you got everything? Yes, sir.
Oh! Is that Oh! Yes, miss, that's Mr.
Parks's car.
- Don't look at it.
Don't look at it.
- Uh, Mr.
Parks says just a minute.
Are you all right? I'm fine.
You sure? Thank you.
All right.
Parks says that he and Miss Davis traded cars last night a little after 7:00.
Traded? A boy in the bookstore confirmed it, sir.
Heard Miss Davis say that she just had to run an errand, and then she was gonna go on out to Parks's house to wait for him.
I- I don't understand any of this.
Jean was just running errands for me last night.
Is this your handwriting, ma'am? Yes.
Yes, that's the list I wrote for her.
Where did you find it? Mr.
Parks gave it to us, ma'am.
It was in her car.
The one he drove out to his house in later, while she was supposed to be getting their little party ready.
Only, of course Their little party? Oh, I don't believe it.
She barely knew Mr.
He's lying to you.
Well, not entirely, ma'am.
You see, Miss Davis did have a flat tire.
- Which one was it? - Left rear.
Flat tire.
What? Parks got the boy in the bookstore to change it for him.
Uh, Miss Chandler, I'm afraid Mr.
Parks claims your secretary had a date with him last night.
But when she got down to the bookstore where he was, she was all upset because you'd given her those errands to run.
Well, he said it wasn't too hard to talk her into skipping the errands, except for the dress? Poor little Jean.
She never could make up her own mind.
Anyway, when they went outside, her car had this flat tire.
Oh! Oh, so that's why they traded cars.
And then she drove off.
If I'd only known.
If I had any idea.
There, there.
I'm sorry.
There, there.
All right.
All right, boys.
Let's get this flat tire carefully checked now.
The valve stem and the nail or whatever did it.
That might be a slow leak.
You never know about that.
Could we have this area cleared here, please? Please, I-I wanna go home.
I guess you can see now, ma'am, why we need your help.
It's apparent that it was just by accident that they traded cars last night.
So, a murderer, if he had his plan set to set a fire, would have no way of knowing that.
A murderer? Yes, ma'am.
So what we have to do now is look for somebody who wanted to kill Jerry Parks.
You understand, Miss Chandler, the only reason your poor secretary is dead is because somebody made a terrible mistake last night.
Mistake? Of course it occurred to me, Lieutenant.
You see, Miss Chandler just couldn't think of anybody who might have wanted to hurt Jean Davis.
But maybe a thousand who hate my guts, right? Oh, no, sir.
Never said anything like that.
Nobody's even proved there was arson here yet, so until they do Sir, they sort of have.
You see that empty gas can he's got? Well, you've been away for a while, haven't you? Mm-hmm.
Well, he just found that on the side of the hill there.
You told these people that you never store extra gasoline here, didn't you? That's right.
And they found another one back here in those bushes by the swimming pool.
And scorch marks from there, from that bush, right back here to the garage.
Boy, this is a terrific view you have here, sir.
Meaning what exactly? Well, that could mean that, uh, somebody used gasoline to start the fire.
You see, our laboratory says that that car's gas tank just couldn't have blown up first.
The worst burning was outside, from underneath.
All right.
Maybe it was a crank.
I don't know who it was.
That's your department, Lieutenant.
Yes, sir, it is.
You're right about that.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
Oh, Mr.
Uh, may I use your telephone? Certainly.
There you are, Lieutenant.
Thank you very much.
Boy, they're really impressive.
You must know a lot of celebrities.
Did she sign that personally? Yes, she did, Lieutenant.
May I ask you something, as one professional to another? Well, I wouldn't dream of trying to stop you.
Writers fascinate me.
I don't know how you do it.
Where do they get their ideas.
That fascinates me.
Where do you get your ideas? But I'm not that kind of writer.
I'm really a reporter.
I see what you mean.
Well, I guess a writer like you has to collect everything, doesn't he? What's that supposed to mean? I never read any of your books.
No offense, sir.
But my brother-in-law, he's got one or two around the house, and, boy, how do you manage to collect all those things about all those famous people? Gossip, that's all.
I keep my ears open.
Well, listen.
I suppose you do it the same way we do it.
You listen to an informant.
Maybe you pay off a servant here and there.
Get next to an employee.
Like somebody's secretary? Is that what you're trying to suggest? No, sir.
Well, get this straight, Columbo.
I don't know what Nora told you, but I was seeing Jean Davis because I was very fond of her.
Certainly, sir.
I'm sorry.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that at all.
No, no, not at all.
No, I guess I was just wondering if you had a file here on Nora Chandler and, of course, I never asked to see it.
I would never do that without a subpoena.
Be my guest, Columbo.
Dig in there.
Learn the truth about Hollywood's most idyllic marriage, about Nora's secret fights with her husband, about Al Cumberland's famous casting couch.
Oh, a casting couch.
Yes, I've heard of that term.
Read how he left her in tears at the studio on that lovely summer weekend and went fishing in Malibu, where he went floating off into his drunken sunset forever.
That's not new.
You can see that in any old police file.
Of course.
And in every newspaper.
Why, that was 1 2 years ago.
Practically ancient history by now.
I don't think I've written a word about Nora since.
Why would I? Who cares about an aging actress, sliding downhill? Listen.
She's still pretty important on TV.
And on The Late, Late Show, I don't miss a picture she's in.
However, that's another story.
Let me say this.
You'll never know how relieved I am to find out that there is no scandal connected with Nora Chandler.
I mean, the shock that I felt when I saw her name on this file.
Believe me, listen.
I remember this woman when she was 1 7.
Don't ask me the name of the picture.
Played a teenager, gets married the same night she graduates from high school to an older man and the guy didn't love her.
Relax, Lieutenant.
Take my word that Nora Chandler and I are very, very good friends.
I'm pleased to hear that.
Now we can get down to business.
We'll go looking into some of these other people that you've been collecting information on.
Excuse me.
Who? Oh, I'm very sorry.
I'm afraid you've got the wrong number.
Would you mind, uh, dialing again? It's quite all right.
No trouble at all.
You see, Lieutenant, famous people don't mind being gossiped about.
They thrive on my little publicity.
Well, one sure didn't.
I mean, if someone tried to kill you last night.
Do you think he'll try to kill me again? Nonsense.
Whoever he is, must be scared to death right now.
Don't you think? You know, I'm sorry, Lieutenant.
I have things to do.
Oh, forgive me.
I understand.
Why do you keep saying "he"? Hmm? About the person who made that mistake last night.
Well, it's perfectly natural, isn't it? You say "murderer," I say "he.
" Male chauvinist at heart.
I guess you're right.
You know, it's sort of like if, uh That was a woman who just called you on the phone, wasn't it? Because I notice when a man calls and he gets the wrong number, I just say, "Sorry.
Wrong number," something like that.
Only when it's a woman, well, I guess it's just natural to be more polite.
You see what I mean? I'll try.
You know, I'm terribly sorry, but I have writing to do.
Oh, Lieutenant.
I thought you wanted to use the phone? Yeah, but I was just gonna call my wife, and she's probably still talking.
Hello? Nora.
Hi, doll.
I was wondering if you wouldn't try to get in touch with me.
Oh, just, uh, leave it right there.
I won't be a moment.
Well, you certainly got here on time.
Good ol' Nora.
Never a wasted motion.
Come on in.
I'll buy you a drink.
No, no, somebody will recognize me.
What, uh, what about over there? Come on.
Nora, dear, I can't tell you how badly I feel.
Spare me your grief-strickened act.
It's not one of my favorites.
Now, what have you told the police? What is there to tell? That you tried to kill me? That would be like disposing of the goose who owes me a golden egg.
Don't you think? I had nothing to do with it.
Not that I wouldn't be delighted.
Of course not.
Well, I can hardly believe it myself.
Oh, you might have wanted to maim me a little.
Never mind about that.
The point is what will Mr.
Simmons and the other studio people believe? To say nothing of that persistent police lieutenant.
You mean, if, uh if I don't pay you what you want to keep quiet? Oh, pay me about 1 0 times what I would have asked for before.
I'm sure you understand, Nora.
If they ever suspected your lovely motive for wanting me out of the way Well, I certainly know you need the money.
The way you cried to Jean in that letter the other day, about how your former wives attach every penny you earn.
Where did you get this? From a copying machine.
I made copies of every letter you wrote from New York.
Jean never knew, of course.
Oh, that proposal.
That was a classic.
"Darling, as I lie here awake, I" Careful, Nora.
The head of the studio mail room is one of my dearest and oldest friends.
You're not going to get a cent.
Suppose the police knew about your motives for committing murder last night.
- My what? - Oh, you could have arranged it very easily.
Now, couldn't you? Yes, and, uh, and have made it look like Jean's death was a mistake.
- Are you insane? - What happened? Did she finally realize why you were interested in her? Oh, I knew she was making withdrawals from savings.
And I gather from her letters, you were, quote, borrowing from her heavily.
She catch on? Nora, stop this! You know it just isn't true.
I was not after Jean's money.
I don't know whether it's true or not.
But the point is, what will the police think? You've used so many women before.
Miss Chandler, I sure didn't expect to find you here.
I mean, not with, uh I was just on my way to an appointment and ran into Mr.
Parks here.
Well, it was really you I came to see.
Only then I noticed your car was parked there in the Oh, yes.
Columbo, did you follow me? Oh, no, sir.
No, no.
Uh, not at all sir, no.
You see, what happened was, the arson investigator said you kind of left in a hurry, and I thought you were going to be busy writing.
I decided it could wait.
You know, Columbo, I don't enjoy being watched.
And I certainly don't need police protection.
Don't be so certain about that, sir.
That's what I came to tell you.
We just located another neighbor of yours, and he remembers almost being hit by a car tearing down that road in back of your place last night.
And it was just after the fire.
Uh, what kind of car was it? Oh, nothing fancy.
Not like you movie people drive.
No, it's just a small, dark, American compact car.
I'm afraid he didn't notice the driver.
So, you see, I thought that maybe by now you'd have come up with somebody that you think wants to harm you.
Because, sir, that's what this thing looks like, more and more.
No, I can't think of a single person yet, Lieutenant.
Gee, that's too bad.
Because I thought maybe that's why you two were getting together.
Oh, no, no.
We were just talking about Jean.
Yeah, I noticed you looked very upset.
Um but I thought, Miss Chandler, that you didn't approve of Mr.
And, sir, quite frankly, some of the things that you said about Oh! Would indicate to me that You just don't understand show business, Lieutenant.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
I I have an appointment with some very important financial people.
You see, Hollywood is fighting for survival, Lieutenant.
You know, Lieutenant, she's so right.
Her dear, departed husband would be spinning in his grave, if he had one.
Oh, I-I'm sorry.
We just can't help you now.
Neither one of us can help you now.
There! You see that? Millions of people still love her.
I really don't know what you're talking about, Sergeant.
Don't misunderstand me.
I haven't officially accused you of anything.
But it seems to me you could have put your husband's body in the car, driven it off and ditched it somewhere.
I- I really don't understand you, Sergeant, or your insinuations Or whoever wrote this, I can't remember the next line.
Cut it.
Honey, what's the matter? Well, it's so ridiculous! She just sits there while this policeman all but puts the handcuffs on her.
Nora, look.
I've got to go with the script here.
It's television.
I know it's only been two days since No, no, no, no.
It's all right.
Quiet back there, please.
Let's, uh, let's do it again, please.
You're uptight.
Now, just easy.
Yeah, I'll cool it.
jerry? All right.
Let's get ready.
Go ahead.
Roll it, please.
And action.
I really don't know what you're talking about, Sergeant.
Don't misunderstand me.
But I haven't officially accused you of anything.
But it would seem to me that you could have put your husband's body Quiet, there.
! Cut it.
Wait, wait.
Cut it.
I'm sorry, Sid.
I'm sorry.
You dropped the cue.
Look, y-you mind if I just walk around a minute? No, go.
Jerry, kill 'em all.
Cut! I'm sorry.
I hope I didn't spoil anything? Well, hello.
No, no.
I I like to take a break now and again, and I was just going over this section of the scene.
Don't let me interrupt.
Oh, no.
Not at all.
What are What are you doing here, Lieutenant? Oh, I'm just, uh, talking to all sorts of people here on the lot, finding out what I can.
This is fascinating.
You know, as long as I've been in Los Angeles, this is the first time I've ever been on a movie studio.
Oh, it's true, Fourteen years, never been here before.
I thought you were supposed to be looking for Jean Davis's killer? Uh, yes, ma'am, only it's not easy.
You see, I found out that almost nobody liked this guy Jerry Parks.
Some people really hate him.
Only he still won't help us with any suspects.
I don't understand why.
Do you? Of course not.
Why would I? Uh Unless, of course, maybe he's a blackmailer.
You don't think that's a possibility, do you? A what? Oh, really, Lieutenant.
I realize I'm just guessing.
Only it's funny.
They're a lot of people that just won't talk about him.
I thought that was maybe because he had something on them.
I'm not sure.
What do you think? I think you're wasting your time, Lieutenant.
Well, you know, it always takes a long time to figure out what really happened, but this case this case is particularly difficult.
I wonder if you'd excuse me? I- I really am holding up Remember the tire? Miss Davis's tire? We found out the car had been serviced that day.
They couldn't even find a nail.
We're still trying to figure that out.
They even took the tire, they put it in a tub of water and, uh Miss Chandler? Well, it sounds very important, darling.
Don't get wet.
Oh, one other thing that I did find out.
The American compact? You know, that the neighbor, he saw tearing away right after the fire? Oh.
Yeah? Well, I noticed 20 cars just like that parked right here on the lot.
I I don't understand.
What I discovered was studio regulations.
You see, if you park a car near a soundstage, you have to leave the keys inside.
And these crew members, they work late.
So almost anybody who noticed that Mr.
Parks was back from New York, they could have taken one of those cars and gone right out to his house.
We're ready, Miss Chandler.
Makeup! My, my.
Aren't we perspiring? Terrific person, isn't she? She sure is.
Huh? Sure is.
Tell me about these movie stars.
What do they do, they drink a lot? Oh, not her.
What's in the thermos? This? I just keep this in case she needs it.
She only takes a drink when she's under the pressure.
You know what I mean.
I know you're busy, but if you could give me Bob.
It's all right.
I'd rather have you taking up my time than holding up their schedule in there.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I didn't realize What is it you want to know? Um, well, you know, I keep hearing these stories about, uh, Miss Chandler having some sort of trouble with the studio.
When hasn't she? Ever since she inherited a big piece of it from her husband.
But Nora made the mistake of sinking most of her money into her own films, one bomb after another, I'm sorry to say.
But, you know, I've kind of enjoyed it.
What you're talking about there.
Right there.
That's the current problem.
Nora's half acre.
Huh? Her cottage? Al Cumberland gave it to her before they were even married.
But about 1 2 years ago, when Cumberland's fishing boat was found smashed up in the surf out there at Malibu, the movie business was already on the rocks.
By the time the court declared him dead, this studio was near bankruptcy.
I don't understand.
What does this have to do with Cumberland gave her title to that property, Lieutenant.
She won't sell, no matter how much we offer.
By now, it's about all she's got left, but she still won't sell.
Gee, you know, in a way, I don't blame her.
I mean, it must have real sentimental value to her.
Right in the middle of the most valuable piece of real estate in Southern California.
How do you think we're gonna put this place back on its feet anyway? By subdividing.
But there she sits, holding up every sensible development plan we've got.
We even tried to buy off the back part which she rarely even uses wouldn't even sell that.
Well, maybe sometime, she'll change her mind.
Yeah, when hell freezes over or some genius upstairs finds a way so we can legally blast her out of here.
Actors, Lieutenant.
Take my advice avoid actors.
They'll kill you.
Well, thanks, Mr.
I'll be sure to tell your boss I appreciate your hospitality.
- I am the boss.
- Oh, gee.
You know, it never occurred to me.
I mean, anybody so young It's all right.
I would never typecast you as a detective, either.
Well, I certainly am impressed, sir, the way you handle your inventory.
You handle it the same way we handle a piece of evidence.
Well, we have to, Lieutenant.
If the script calls for a shrunken head or a Ming llama, we have to know right where we can lay our hands on it.
I only wish we could locate things as quick and as easy as you people do.
Glad to help you.
Thank you very much.
Lieutenant Colombo.
I've been looking all over for you.
See that? Tracked me down just like that.
Thank you again.
What's on your mind, sir? Uh, Miss Chandler wants to see you in Edith Head's, uh, office.
It's just down here around the corner, sir.
Here we are.
Right through that door there.
She ought to be there by now.
Oh, Lieutenant.
She said it was urgent.
Hey, Lieutenant, stop ogling those girls and come in here.
Well, listen, uh Take a look at this.
Have you ever seen such beading in your life? Feel it.
Look how heavy it is.
Can you imagine walking around in that? Look.
A little overdressed for this time of the day, huh? What do you think? Uh You couldn't care less.
Edith is designing a whole new wardrobe for me.
Oh, Edith, this is Lieutenant Columbo.
How do you do? Edith Head.
How do you do? Which of these do you think would be better for the new scene? This one? No, I like this one.
I'm wedded to it, but I don't like the red.
This would be a lot better.
In other words, using this fabric on this here.
I think it'll work just as well.
Are you still wearing that tie? Do you know ever since I met you you've been wearing this stupid thing? Edith, haven't you got a decent tie around here? Of course I have.
Oh, let's get this off.
All right.
Is she the one I see on the Academy Awards? Yeah.
What's her name? Edith Head.
Edith Head.
Those are her Oscars? Yeah.
Aren't they fantastic? She won these? Yeah.
Lieutenant, I've been lying to you.
About what? About Jerry Parks and me.
Remember when you found us together yesterday and I said we were just talking about Jean? Yes? Well, Jerry Parks has some awful awful stuff on me.
He has research records in his files, and I didn't want him to tell anyone How about this one, dear? Oh, that's perfect.
Oh, yeah, too much.
Oh, Edie.
Thank you.
Would you, uh, would you bring in that ombre chiffon? I'd love to look at it.
The one from the dress? Yeah.
Thank you, darling.
See, that was wrong of me, wasn't it? I mean, for Jean's sake.
F- For Jean's sake you ought to know everything and stop wasting your time around here and start looking in the right places for whoever it was that was responsible for her death.
Well, what sort of things does Mr.
Parks have on you? Oh, I want to show you.
All of it.
The whole truth, right out in the open.
Can you get a court order and make that man show you his files? Well, I guess I can.
Oh, isn't it beautiful? Here it is.
Oh, yes.
Oh, yes, that's it.
Isn't that lovely? It's gorgeous.
Don't you love it? Yes.
I think it's perfect, dear.
No question.
We'll use it.
Thank you so much.
Well, Lieutenant, I guess you better do what you have to do.
I was just thinking, uh I've got an anniversary coming up next week.
I wonder if I could have that back and save this for a special occasion.
Why don't you get your wife to take you on a shopping tour for your anniversary, huh? Take a look at some suits and shirts, slacks, socks, shoes Are you sure you want to do this? Yeah, I'm sure.
Hey, look at some raincoats while you're at it.
Casting couches, gossip, a rehash of the old Al Cumberland story.
Who gives a damn about any of that? All right, Jerry, where is it? Where is what? The new entries.
The Italian movie.
Nora, what are you trying to pull - Where is it? Show him.
- Are you out of your mind? Do you realize Make him show them.
- I don't believe you.
- Make him show them.
Well, I-I guess you better show us.
Well, I certainly never intended to let anybody see this.
I don't care what happens to me.
Finding Jean's killer is all that interests any of us at this point.
All right.
Here you are.
Those are ledger sheets.
Yes, ma'am.
Can you read a budget? No, ma'am.
Well, I'll cut to the bottom line.
The production manager was an old, old friend.
And in order to save my own skin, we made the studio lose two million dollars.
You mean, you deliberately falsified Absolutely.
The word is swindled, Lieutenant.
Are you sure you want to reveal this? Yes.
It's just what Mr.
Fallon is looking I know.
I know.
Simmons Miss Chandler has voluntarily disclosed What are you doing? Just a moment.
That is evidence.
No, that is not evidence.
My company owns Mr.
Fallon's company, Lieutenant.
And I already know all about this.
Just give me a minute.
You already knew about this? And you don't care about this money? I don't understand.
Well, of course, I care about two million dollars.
But, uh, well, Nora and I have talked the whole thing over and we've reached an understanding.
Well, that must be a big relief to you, ma'am.
But when did this Uh, 1 0 days.
- Ten days ago.
She told me the whole thing.
- Ten days ago? Yes.
And if you have any further blackmail you'd like to just a minute, Mr.
I'd like to remind you that blackmail is still illegal.
You have to be able to prove that before you can say it again.
Well, I suggest that if you've got anything to say at all, you get it out now.
There might be something else.
Such as? And then again, there might not.
Sir? If you have anything pertinent to this case, I advise you to get it out now.
There's nothing else, is there, Nora? He's bluffing.
Sure of that, Nora? You're damn right I am.
You heard the lieutenant.
Let's see what else you've got.
Just my suspicions.
You can't get a search warrant for what's in here.
You couldn't get bus fare for what's in there.
This is his humor, Lieutenant.
There's nothing else.
All in all, Jerry, you are a bore.
Let's go, darling.
I find you somewhere beneath contempt, Mr.
And, Lieutenant, as for you, you have an obtuse manner which some people find ingratiating.
I do not.
Do you follow me? Yes, sir.
I hope we can assume that it's clear that Nora had no reason to kill this this journalist? Yes, sir.
She has nothing to hide.
You saw that for yourself? Yes, sir.
I am gonna hold you responsible for any further harassment of Miss Chandler.
Yes, sir.
Well, you think it's good enough for the working press? Too good for them.
Oh, Tom, would you get that? I still have to finish my makeup.
And, uh, darling, look, would you take this up with you? Certainly, Nora.
Thank you so much.
Yes? Lieutenant Columbo to see Miss Chandler.
Is, uh, she expecting you? I don't think so, but this is official business.
Uh, well, she isn't, uh, quite dressed yet and, uh, she is going to a press reception.
Oh, I won't bother her.
I'll just wait right here in the living room.
Thank you very much.
- Miss Chandler.
- Yes? Lieutenant Columbo.
What is it? On, nothing important.
I'm just here to bring you up-to-date on the case.
Oh, that's very considerate of you.
Um, I'll be out in a moment.
Just make yourself at home.
You mind if I use your telephone? It's a local call.
No, not at all.
Go right ahead.
Help yourself.
It's me.
Is she there? Why does she have to go shopping every day? Do you have any idea where I am right now? Don't get smart, George.
I'm in Nora Chandler's bungalow.
You're what? No kidding? What's the title? I never heard of that one.
What channel? Thank you, George.
Hello, darling, it's me.
Yes, I delivered the package.
No, no one saw me.
No, don't worry, darling.
No, no.
You see, I took Charles's coat and hat.
So even if anyone did see me, the street was so dark, they would have thought it was Charles.
Phillip, I'm frightened.
Are you sure we did the right thing? Darling? Darling, when can I see you? I can't go on like this.
You're You're leaving tonight? But we were going to go together.
Phillip, you promised.
Phillip, don't hang up.
Phillip, I love you.
You know I love you.
What more can I do to prove it to you? If Charles ever found out I took that money Lieutenant Columbo.
Right here, Miss Chandler.
I'd do anything for you.
I hope you don't mind my watching your TV? You're on.
Oh, no.
I never saw this picture before.
George told me.
Isn't that awful? I didn't like it when I made it and I don't like it any better now.
Really? I found it very interesting.
Uh, I hope you'll excuse me.
I have a press reception and then we're shooting process tonight.
Well, if you don't mind, I'll just tag along and I can fill you in as we go.
Is that all right? Yes.
That guy Phillip in the picture, what does he do, he frame you in the end? Uh-huh.
You have seen it.
No, no, no.
I just had a hunch.
From that conversation I just heard, I knew he was no good.
I know he's up to something.
I just knew it had to be something like that.
Thank you.
Have you been able to persuade Mr.
Parks to suggest someone who might have Oh, yes, ma'am.
Those files of his.
There's a hundred people in there that might have wanted to kill him, only, uh it's really this flat tire that I wanted to tell you about.
Uh, this what? Uh, Miss Davis's, remember? 'Cause see, the trouble is, that tire just won't go flat.
I mean, not for us.
We thought it might be a rim leak, but in all this time, there hasn't been a single bubble.
Oh, that sounds very interesting.
Yes, ma'am, only it does mean I've been sort of wrong.
About Miss Davis's death being a mistake, I mean.
About what? Well, what I mean is, if there's nothing wrong with that tire and it'd just been checked that day when she had the car serviced, well, that means that somebody must have let the air out of it.
Do you see what I mean? No.
Right there in back of the bookstore.
Somebody who was watching them, somebody who wanted them to trade cars so that it would just look like Miss Davis's death was a mistake.
Anyway, I'll tell you what it boils down to.
I gotta start all over again.
I was wrong.
Oh, you know, you're priceless.
Some hoodlum lets air out of a tire and you think But the valve stem was nice and tight.
And when kids let the air out of the tire, they just loosen it and they run away.
Anyway, there are other things.
Like that car that was tearing away from the house just after the fire.
Well, what about it? Well, if the person in that car actually lit the fire I mean, if it wasn't started by some kind of device or something well, you don't really believe someone that close couldn't see who was in Mr.
Parks's car, couldn't see that it was Miss Davis that was gonna be killed? I haven't the slightest idea.
No, ma'am, that's it.
I was wrong before, dead wrong.
Even my bosses agree.
It was Miss Davis that the murderer wanted to kill.
Clever idea, huh? Mr.
Parks, he's got all those enemies.
We might never have guessed.
Lieutenant, do you mind? I really have to go.
Well, ma'am, you're the only one that can help me now.
I mean, you're the only one that really knew about Jean Davis.
And what's worse, I'm afraid, who else besides Mr.
Parks could have possibly known where she was gonna be that night and you? Well, I still think Jean's death was a mistake.
It just had to be a mistake.
All right, cut it.
Cut it.
Okay? That's good, dear.
That's a print.
Okay, Doug? Good here? Thanks.
Um, honey, I'm gonna have to break for dinner to avoid a meal penalty, you know? Yeah? So, we'll come back and do a few shots of you going the other way, okay? Sounds thrilling.
Nora? How do you like your stockholders before or after dinner? Oh.
Surely, you're not gonna feed them here? No, no.
They just came here to gawk.
I promised them dinner later.
Uh, I think I'll meet them later.
I really have to go to my dressing room.
I've been on location all day, and I have a wardrobe change for the next scene.
Oh, all right.
I'll hold them at bay.
See you later.
Fellas, I think that, um She's got a lot to do.
We can get together Okay, Charlie, see you tomorrow night.
Officer, I understand somebody tried to run down a Mr.
That's right.
Missed him completely.
He wasn't hurt at all? No.
Just a few scratches.
Took him to the hospital, a few X-rays just to play it safe.
Anybody see who did it? Not a soul around here.
Anything else I can Shh.
Well, like I said.
We'll get to you Are you a Shrine Excuse me.
Are you a Shriner? No.
Is your partner a Shriner? I don't know.
Why don't you ask him? Excuse me, are you a Shriner? No.
Is anybody here a Shriner? I'm Lieutenant Columbo, police department.
I could use some help.
Is anybody here a Shriner or does anybody here know a Shriner? Lieutenant.
Are you a Shriner? No, but, uh, Frank the bartender on the corner is a Shriner.
Sir Thank you.
Does he have a Shriner's ring? I don't know.
Why don't you ask him? Thank you.
Hey, just a minute, mister.
You can't go in there.
They're shooting.
Police emergency.
Hey, wait a minute.
! Where do you think Emergency.
Hey, what the hell's going on? Cut it! Mister, are you crazy? Sorry.
Yeah, but you can't Hey, what are you doing here? Police.
Miss Nora Chandler? She's right there.
We're shooting.
Police emergency.
Forgive me for barging in.
Parks somebody tried to kill him again.
What? This car tried to run him over.
But who? Did he see who it was? I don't know.
He hasn't been able to say anything yet.
What? Severe concussion.
Still unconscious.
It looks very bad.
Very bad.
I'm so sorry about all this.
That means Jean's death was a mistake, just as you thought in the first place.
Miss Chandler, at this point, I don't know what to think, but I was hoping you'd be able to help me.
But how? Uh, may we have some privacy? Uh, yeah.
Do you mind? No, it's all right.
Uh, save it, fellas.
Parks was onto something new.
He didn't say what.
Didn't want to speak on the telephone.
He had some new evidence.
I was on my way to see him when he got hit by this car.
You remember the other day he said he was suspicious? We thought he was just saving face? Yeah.
He was onto something.
But how can I help you? I want to show you something.
The ambulance driver found this in Mr.
Parks's personal effects in this envelope with the initials marked "N.
" N.
Those are my initials, but it's certainly not mine.
Too bad.
I was hoping you'd be able to tell me what it means.
I have to tell you, Miss Chandler, at this point, I'm up in the air on this whole business.
Nora, is everything all right? Uh, yes, sir.
I was just about to leave.
Um All right.
Uh, forgive.
Uh, ma'am, as soon as he's able to, uh I'll tell you what he says.
All right.
Uh, darling.
Darling, would you mind very much if, uh, you went on with the others? I'll try and join you later.
I've got this sick headache.
But, Nora Uh, please, darling.
Sidney? Look.
I'm-I'm not feeling well.
Yes, dear.
Could we come back to this tomorrow? Sure.
Sure, go ahead.
Jer? Let's, uh, call the cop car in.
Yeah? We'll change the angle and shoot them following her.
Okay, new setup, fellas, okay? What is it, Lieutenant? I guess it's a lot of things, Miss Chandler.
Would you care to explain that and what you're doing here? You know, a part of me really didn't want them to add up.
You know, Lieutenant, I really don't feel very well.
I wonder if you mind leaving and perhaps we can chat some other time.
I know you killed Jean Davis.
I find you amusing up to a point, Lieutenant, but you've passed that.
There's just so many pieces that didn't add up tire that wouldn't go flat, why you refused to sell the cottage that bothered me.
Would you kindly get out? I'm just not in the mood for any more of your rambling speculations.
I'm here to arrest you for the murder of Jean Davis.
Oh, you're not serious.
You let the air out of her tire, you stayed to see her get into Parks's car and then you killed her.
I'm afraid I am serious.
But why? Why would I do that? I loved Jean.
The "why" was very difficult to figure out.
"Meeting Parks's study, Tuesday, June 6.
" Do you remember after you admitted juggling the books on the Italian movie and then Mr.
Parks intimated he still had something on you? "Note Parks probably bluffing.
Nevertheless, Chandler unnerved, quickly takes drink.
" Oh, that means nothing.
Well, it could mean you had something else to hide.
The prop man told me you only drink under pressure.
Had a theory here "Nora Chandler has secret, jean Davis knows secret.
" There's a motive.
I have it written right here.
"Possible motive prevent Jean Davis from revealing secret to Jerry Parks.
" Oh, you must be desperate, Lieutenant.
You have no proof of anything.
"What is the secret? See, key? What is secret?" That's what bothered me.
" "Why fountain doesn't run?'" That bothered me.
Yeah, that's what started to bother me.
That's what fountains are for.
Why didn't the water run? Most people like the sound of running water.
I do.
- Well, I don't.
- Well, that's what I assumed at first.
And then I spoke to the head of the property department.
You know, they keep incredible records.
You know, there's a number at the base of that fountain? I saw it that day that I picked the flower.
Anyway, the prop man told me that you ordered the fountain for sentimental reasons.
Yes, but I told you it was from a picture I'd just finished.
September 1 6, 1 960.
That was the day you ordered the fountain.
Well, I don't remember the exact day.
September 1 5.
The day before.
That was the day your husband disappeared.
Now it starts to make some sense.
I have a possible explanation for why the fountain doesn't run.
In order to lay water pipe, somebody would have to dig up the lawn, wouldn't they? Drink, Lieutenant? Thank you.
Jerry Parks wasn't hurt, was he? No, ma'am.
Where'd you get that ring? Borrowed it.
I was just playing hunches.
I had nothing to go on.
I was just guessing.
I had nothing concrete.
I just wanted to see what you'd do.
When you came in here, you didn't even turn on the lights.
Just ran right straight through to the fountain.
You know, coincidence.
If I hadn't called George, if he hadn't been looking at TV, if it was some other movie, if you hadn't been dressed like a man, 'cause that's when it occurred to me.
Twelve years ago, somebody standing on a beach at night saw your husband get in a boat and go out to the ocean.
I remember the photographs.
You and your husband the same height.
It could have been you.
It was.
You see, uh, I-I I married Al because I thought I could, oh, improve myself, you know, my career.
And And then I-I began to, uh, care about the marriage.
So when he went playing around, you know, all the starlets, all that bit, well, it hurt.
So I put up with it, you know.
I put up with it until, uh, one night he brought one of them right in here.
And we had a hell of a fight.
We argued, fought, and I I struck him with a bottle.
And he I- I-I panicked.
And I buried him out there.
Jean knew.
Well I'll get a coat and we'll go.