'COLUMBO' "THE MOST CRUCIAL GAME" I wrote about this episode this past weekend when COZI-TV replayed it as part of their Saturday night double-header: I've always believed that this was the most over-loaded episode when it came to guest stars: Robert Culp, Dean Stockwell, Dean Jagger, James Gregory, Susan Howard, Valerie Harper, Val Avery, and even the LA Lakers. But I'm watching it now and - Say.... where's my remote? I'm always losing that thing. You'd think I'd always have it at hand; in fact, my family says that when I get buried, there'll be a remote control in my hands instead of a rosary. Oh, there it is! Now where was I? Oh yeah. Just one more thing - I'm watching it now and I just realized there is another guest star in this episode. Theoretical, of course, just another of my Toobworld theories. Being the sadistic bastid that I am, I made them work for the answer. I even gave them clues. One of them was that the phantom guest star had appeared in ‘Columbo’ in an earlier episode from that same season. And there were even some picture clues:But for you, dear members of Team Toobworld, here is the answer:John Cassavetes as Alex Benedict from the episode “Ètude In Black”. Playing on that radio was Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik". And that’s what the symphony orchestra was playing in Cassavetes’ episode. The IMDb backs me up on this and everybody knows that the IMDb is NEVER wrong…. Columbo Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (writer: "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" - uncredited) - Étude in Black (1972) - The Most Crucial Game (1972) So we know it was playing on that radio in “The Most Crucial Game”. In ““Ètude In Black”, Alex Benedict was conducting the symphony orchestra in rehearsal at the bandshell, urging them to play the piece quasi una fantasia (“Like a fantasy.”) But of course, Lt. Columbo had other plans for the rest of that afternoon.The concert that was broadcast on the night of Jenifer Welles’ murder was later re-broadcast on the educational channel (known today as Public Broadcasting) on Saturday morning. So a recording was made – which solved the murder case of Lt. Columbo - and I think it’s pozz’ble, just pozz’ble, that the audio recording of that concert was also played by National Public Radio as well.Not only that, but I think they may have even re-broadcast it several times over, perhaps even during fund-raising marathons. After all, the concert had gained some notoriety as being the last conducted by Alex Benedict who had just committed murder a little over an hour before the performance.We never heard "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" performed during the actual televised concert, as the PTB for that episode’s production instead focused on a different piece of music which was more dramatic as the scene switched back and forth from the concert to the police investigating Miss Welles’ house. But it couldn’t be the ONLY piece of music played during the evening. So I think they did perform "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" and Alex must have felt there was something wrong with that night’s rendition which warranted a rehearsal to get it back into the shape he wanted.BCnU!