“RANSOM FOR A DEAD MAN”
“FADE IN TO MURDER”
This is the story of twin brothers – Albert and Anthony; both of whom grew up to work in the food service industry. Their last name is unknown.
Albert went to work slinging the chili at Barney’s Beanery, where he was known by the diminutive nickname of "Bert."(We would meet his boss Barney years later.)
The reason I think it was his own place was because Bert felt safe leaving his WWII "souvenirs" there. If he had a boss, that boss might not have approved.
One point of interest between the two would be the placement of the pictures on the walls of both establishments. Those famous pictures behind Tony at the deli are neatly aligned on the wall but the ones behind Bert are disordered, unbalanced.
One reason could be that Bert just didn’t care. It wasn’t his place, so unless Bert the owner told him to straighten them out, they were going to just stay that way. But at Tony’s Deli, they are all neat and orderly on the wall.
That’s another sign that Tony owns his place; why he showed pride in the deli.
But even so, how did Bert's pictures get so uneven in the first place?
When we last saw Bert (We first met him when Lt. Columbo investigated the “kidnapping” of Paul Williams.), it was in October of 1971. (We would not meet Tony until 1976.) Earlier that year, in February, there had been an earthquake in the San Fernando Valley. It registered at 6.6 magnitude and between 58 and 65 people died during that quake. I suppose it's not an exact number because the exact cause of death couldn't be directly attributed to the devastation afterward.
So the quake was bad enough to kill, but all that happened at Bert's place was that a few pictures were left off-kilter. But not enough so that Bert had any compulsion to readjust them. I wouldn't have either - for alls I know, another quake might have happened at any moment, so why bother?