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Arnold raced out of the door,

April 4, 2010

Fans of Murder, She Wrote are often as fascinated by every detail of the opening credit sequence as they are with the actual episodes. In it we see Jessica engaged in a host of wholesome Celebrex related elderly persons activity tropes – most of which have very little to do with staging murders to solve or writing about those staged murders. The exception is a few key scenes showing the audience glimpses into Jessica’s writing process, which involves lots of determined key tapping, carriage returning and the satisfying shuffling of papers into what looks to be a menu from Red Lobster.

We’re also curious about the manuscript we keep seeing flashed across the screen.

Who is this “Arnold” and more importantly, where’s the fire, so to speak?

Sleazediary seeks to answer this very question:

Then again, maybe he’s the one who has committed a heinous crime – after a heavy drinking session he ‘followed through’ when farting in bed and horribly soiled the sheets in his hotel bedroom. Unable to face the shame of being thought incontinent by hotel staff, he legs it.

The site Books by J.B. Fletcher: The Definitive Guide to Murder, She Wrote surmises this:

In the course of twelve years, Jessica Fletcher wrote more than thirty books – that’s more than two and a half books a year, a very prolific production rate for any author – and those are just the ones that we know about from their explicit mention in the series! Further testament to Jessica’s considerable talent as a writer was her ability to consistently hit the bestseller list year after year. Apparently, she never sacrificed quality for quantity.

As to the question of which novel contains the phrase Jessica is seen typing in the opening credits (“Arnold raced out the door”), your guess is as good as mine. Another enduring mystery: where Jessica, between travel, teaching, and solving other people’s murders, found the time to write all these books!

My own thoughts vacillate between sensing there is more to the Arnold story than twelve seasons worth of episodes and two seconds of screen time reveal and believing Arnold – like the second most famous guest star in any episode – is just a red herring. As far as I know neither the producers of the program nor Angela Lansbury have ever publicly addressed the issue. Moreover Arnold has never come forward to respond with his own version of the events.

Never fear! I will add this phrase to my google alerts and keep you updated. In the meantime please enjoy Kimmi’s faithfully rendered homage to the opening sequence.

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reminder about offsite links: as much as possible I attempt to find links that aren’t clicks to oppressionland. That said any views expressed are solely those of the site’s owner and do not reflect the views of IFMIB or its interested parties.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2010 5:26 pm

    Oh this made me laugh so much! The opening scene does make me want to take whatever Jessica’s on so I, too, can enjoy a satisfying old age even while rebuffing the advances of all the horny guest stars whose hospitality I’m otherwise enjoying.

  2. April 4, 2010 5:27 pm

    They wine and dine her and she can’t be arsed to cough up so much as a peck on the cheek. But I ain’t mad at her.

  3. April 4, 2010 5:31 pm

    I think Arnold’s the guy who doesn’t have an alibi (he was clearly seen racing out the door, probably on the sleazy hotel’s occasionally functional security cam). A few lines up he was enjoying himself, until something burst open as it landed in the room. This probably resulted in the hooker’s last score, from which Jessica will ultimately exonerate poor hapless Arnold (and I never met an Arnold who had any significant degree of hap).

  4. April 4, 2010 5:33 pm

    A few lines up he was enjoying himself, until something burst open as it landed in the room which probably resulted in the hooker’s last score from which Jessica will ultimately exonerate poor hapless Arnold (and I never met an Arnold who had any significant degree of hap).

    Sounds like he was living in one of my blog posts.

  5. April 4, 2010 5:33 pm

    You know, I can honestly say I’ve never seen an entire episode of Murder, She Wrote. I’m not sure why.

  6. April 4, 2010 5:39 pm

    When I was a kid I think the most satisfying aspect of the show was making up lyrics to the theme music with my sister…

    “There is a murder, a murder she wrote…Jessica can kill you by bus, bike or boat… Jessica, get out of there (cello solo) Jessica, get out of there…”

  7. April 4, 2010 7:15 pm

    “There is a murder, a murder she wrote…Jessica can kill you by bus, bike or boat… Jessica, get out of there (cello solo) Jessica, get out of there…”

    There’s the Tea Spit Take. (tm Snarky)

  8. msjacks permalink
    April 4, 2010 8:41 pm

    OH MY GOD, SO MANY LOLS. EXTRA LOLS AT THE RED LOBSTER MENU PART. LOL LOL LOL, LOL THE LIVE LONG DAY.

  9. msjacks permalink
    April 4, 2010 8:42 pm

    Also sometime let’s get down and play my Murder, She Wrote board game. That’s right, my Murder, She Wrote board game.

  10. April 4, 2010 10:08 pm

    OK obsessive geek that I am, I did some freeze-framing with the season 3 opening. The first time we meet Arnold, here’s what J.B. Fletcher is typing:

    Arnold raced out of the door, and started to dash across the street. 
    He was almost hit by a passing car. A cab screeched to a halt. Started to
    drive across the street.
    

     
    The next time we see the passage, it’s changed somewhat:

    (somebody) was a good-looking ...
    in Paris at that time with the child(?) of ...
    ...with Ernest and with Scott and ...
    He was enjoying his ...
    Arnold raced out of the door, and started to dash across the street.
    as he was doing   
    

     
    The typing ends here and soon J.B. is pulling out the page from the typewriter, looking very satisfied. She must have made revisions but there’s nary a crumpled-up piece of typing paper to be found.

  11. April 4, 2010 10:11 pm

    separate incidents.

  12. April 4, 2010 11:09 pm

    Then again, maybe he’s the one who has committed a heinous crime – after a heavy drinking session he ‘followed through’ when farting in bed and horribly soiled the sheets in his hotel bedroom. Unable to face the shame of being thought incontinent by hotel staff, he legs it.

    I’m often afraid that when I have to push, my fart will turn into a “shart”, especially if I’m away from home and a new pair of clean underwear. I have a pretty good policy for the “hard farts”– if it’s warm, you should probably save it for the restroom.

  13. April 4, 2010 11:10 pm

    *closes the casket. rolls it away*

  14. msjacks permalink
    April 5, 2010 12:42 am

    “Then again, maybe he’s the one who has committed a heinous crime – after a heavy drinking session he ‘followed through’ when farting in bed and horribly soiled the sheets in his hotel bedroom. Unable to face the shame of being thought incontinent by hotel staff, he legs it.”

    Gas with an oily discharge.

  15. April 5, 2010 1:21 am

    Meridian FTW.

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