All those intricate plot twists in last week's acclaimed CBS movie "Vanishing Act"--written by "Columbo" creators Richard Levinson and William Link--couldn't hide the fact that this one had been seen before. And before. And. . . .
In fact, the Mike Farrell-Elliott Gould-Margot Kidder mystery, about a husband who reports his wife missing and later claims that the woman who finally shows up isn't his wife, is the fourth adaptation of Robert Thomas' old play, "Trap For a Lonely Man."
"But ours wasn't a remake--it was our own version," insisted Levinson, who said that only a couple of reviewers commented on the reworking. "But now we're getting phone calls. It seems that the 1976 version has been running on late night TV and some people recognized it."
That one starred Jack Klugman, James Franciscus and Elizabeth Ashley. Then there was the '60s TV production "Deadly Honeymoon," starring Rossano Brazzi (in this one, the wife's hubby disappears). And the Broadway play, "Catch Me If You Can." And once upon a time, reported Levinson, the play was optioned by Alfred Hitchcock.