Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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No Laughing Murder 

Someone is found dead after the engagement party for the offspring of two estranged comics.


Walter Grauman


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 5 more credits »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
George Clooney ... Kip Howard
Pat Crowley ... Trudy Howard
George Furth ... Farley Pressman
Buddy Hackett ... Murray Gruen
Arte Johnson ... Phil Rinker
David Knell ... Acting Police Chief Wylie Ledbetter
Steve Lawrence ... Mack Howard
Sheree North ... Norma Lewis
Beth Windsor Beth Windsor ... Corrie Gruen
Pat Delany Pat Delany ... Ms. Kline (as Pat Delaney)
Alice Nunn ... Henrietta
Richardson Morse ... Dr. Worth
Daniel Chodos Daniel Chodos ... Al
Paul Ganus ... P. A.


Mack Howard and Murray Gruen were a celebrated comical duo but parted in anger. Murray's daughter, Corrie, brings their friend Jessica along to his own Hiawatha lodge for her and Mack's son Kip Howard's engagement dinner. Murray, however, makes a scene, claiming Mack stole a fortune in royalties on videos of the duo, denied by Mack and his business manager who claims there is no profit. Then Murray is stabbed in the back and suggests he only saw a color, that of Mack's robe. Later, Murray's agent, Phil Rinker, is found hanging in the storeroom, suicide according to a note. The sheriff being sick, his only deputy, local youngster Wylie Ledbetter, now proud Acting Police Chief, is delighted as a mystery fan to have Jessica coach his forensics and interviews, but startled when she proves by measurements it must have been a murder, staged as suicide. Jessica next concludes from a peephole the stabbing was a separate mischief, then proves it by setting a trap for Phil's killer. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 March 1987 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color | Black and White (still photographs)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title comes from the phrase No laughing matter which means a serious situation. See more »


[first lines]
P. A.: And now, the comedy sensation of 1957! Let's hear it for Mack and Murray!
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References Rage in Heaven (1941) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Taking a Stab at Hanging It up in the Boondocks
26 August 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

When Corrie Gruen (Beth Windsor) and Kip Howard (George Clooney) decide to marry, they face a few major problems, including a feud between his father, Mack Howard (Steve Lawrence), and her father, Murray Gruen (Buddy Hackett), a stabbing in the back, and murder in their secluded Catskill Mountains retreat.

It all begins in New York City, at the television studio at which Mack Howard performs his Comedy program. Three characters of this sequence, Manager Al (Daniel Chodos), Production Assistant (Paul Ganus) and Reporter Miss Kline (Pat Delaney) provide background material toward the plot of "No Laughing Murder," an episode bearing the alternate title of "No Laughing Matter."

Thirty years earlier, Mack and Murray were billed as "The Comedy Sensation of 1957," but over the years they have become estranged, they bickering over lost profits from videocassettes sales of their vintage programs.

And now, Mack's lovely peacekeeping wife, Edie Howard (Pat Crowley) gives Mack an ultimatum, as she plans to gather the troupes for a retreat at Hiawatha Lodge, a dilapidated Catskill resort isolated in upstate New York, which Murray Gruen has purchased to renovate with the assistance of sweetheart Norma Lewis (Sheree North).

Talent Agent Phil Rinker (Arte Johnson) and Business Manager Farley Pressman (George Furth) join in the forthcoming problems, as Kip and Corrie arrive at the old inn with Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), a dear friend of Corrie's late mother, Doris Gruen.

Twelve in all have access to Hiawatha Lodge, nine guests, who were locked inside on the night of its fateful incidents, plus Cook Henrietta (Alice Nunn), Doctor Worth (Richardson Morse) and unseasoned Acting Police Chief Wylie Ledbetter (David Knell), as the mounting feud turns deadly.

"No Laughing Murder" also alludes to a reference of the Classsic Film "Rage in Heaven" (1941), starring Ingrid Bergman, Robert Montgomery and George Sanders.

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