Thursday, December 8, 2005


Lee Goldberg has an interesting story in his blog about a lawyer named Robert Tanenbaum who became a novelist. Apparently he was pretty good, with at least eleven great mysteries to his credit; right up to "Act Of Revenge" circa 1998.

Only thing was... Tanenbaum didn't write the books. He was slapping his name on novels that were being written by Michael Gruber.

Here's where my belief that living in Toobworld would be a lot more exciting than just existing here in the Real World. Had this been a plot for a Television show, Tanenbaum would have shot and killed Gruber before he had the chance to reveal the secret to a reporter from The Romantic Times. (Okay, so maybe it wouldn't have been much fun for the victim....)

Sound familiar? It's the plotline for the first episode of 'Columbo' as a series (third 'Columbo' outing overall if you count the two pilots). "Murder By The Book" starred Jack Cassidy, who would have been the Tanenbaum-type character, and Martin Milner as the Gruber stand-in.

Not that he ever had murder in his heart, but Tanenbaum sounds like he would have made for the perfect antagonist to Lt. Columbo. He was not only a lawyer and (alleged) author, but also a teacher and a mayor! It sounds as if his social standing would have been quite a formidable challenge to the attempts by the shabby, fumbling little detective trying to investigate him.

(Actually, based on Goldberg's description of events, this time around it sounds as if the ghost writer would be the one who commits the murder. Gruber is portrayed as one unhappy camper, even though he should be taking the responsibility for the campsite he's lying in...... Ugh! What a stupid metaphor. Sorry about that, Chief.)

If the story is appearing in this month's issue of San Francisco Magazine, it makes me wonder if one reason might be that the events unfolded in the Bay area. (I'm far too lazy to Google Tanenbaum and find out where exactly was he a mayor.) If so, then the story - had it gone the Toobworld way, - wouldn't be right for 'Columbo', but that's okay since the Lieutenant has already been there, investigated that.

But it would make for a great plotline in 'Monk', since Adrian Monk works in Frisco. He's had to butt heads in the past with an S.F. police commissioner (NOT Stuart MacMillan) during a case, and that guy wasn't even the murderer. Imagine the difficulties he would have to face should he have to confront a mayor or some other powerful politico who had a more desperate reason to spar with Adrian Monk.

And of course, since this is a bit of wish-craft for Inner Toob, why not invite Peter Falk to guest star in the episode as Columbo. The Lieutenant might have heard about the particulars of the case in the news and decided to go up to San Francisco to offer his advice and expertise since his earlier case had been so similar.........

Just sayin' is all.


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