"Just One More Thing..." - The COLUMBO Discussion Thread

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
edited June 26 in General Movies & TV Posts: 12,775
Here is a thread specifically designed to discuss the TV detective inverted mystery series Columbo. Columbo ran for a total of 35 years and 69 episodes, from the first pilot episode in 1968 until the final 'special' episode in 2003, making it the longest running TV series in history.

Here we can discuss episodes, themes, characters, Lt. Columbo himself, Peter Falk etc. Really just anything Columbo related! There are plenty of interesting James Bond connections with Columbo too, as they share a good few of the same actors.

I hope this turns into an interesting discussion thread. :)
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Comments

  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    One of the greatest Bond connections was Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man, The Prisoner, Ice Station Zebra), who turned down the Bond role before Connery stepped in. In anyways, his contribution to this series was intriguing, especially in the episode where he keeps delivering his famous pickup line, "Be seeing you." The series overall was brilliant.
  • Posts: 4,914
    Gotta love that series!

    I remember at first it threw me off a bit when I realised that Dick van Dyke seemed to be playing every bad guy, but then I found the recurrence of main actors in different roles to be a lot of fun!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    edited August 2017 Posts: 12,775
    One of the greatest Bond connections was Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man, The Prisoner, Ice Station Zebra), who turned down the Bond role before Connery stepped in. In anyways, his contribution to this series was intriguing, especially in the episode where he keeps delivering his famous pickup line, "Be seeing you." The series overall was brilliant.

    Yes, that episode was called "Identity Crisis" and there were a few little reference to The Prisoner throughout such as the one you just mentioned there! Patrick McGooghan also directed that episode too.
    boldfinger wrote: »
    Gotta love that series!

    I remember at first it threw me off a bit when I realised that Dick van Dyke seemed to be playing every bad guy, but then I found the recurrence of main actors in different roles to be a lot of fun!

    Well Dick Van Dyke was only in the one episode of Columbo called "Negative Reaction" but perhaps you are thinking of one of the returning guest star killers like Jack Cassidy (3 eps), Robert Culp (4 eps, 3 as the killer), Robert Vaughan (2 eps), George Hamilton (2 eps), Patrick McGooghan (4 eps) or William Shatner (2 eps)?
  • Posts: 10,503
    Love the show. Still watch it whenever it's on.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2014 Posts: 23,883
    This is hands down my favourite tv show from the 70's. I have the whole set on DVD (the box set which has better quality than the individual seasons).

    There are a lot of similarities with Bond for me, as follows:

    What's great about this show is that you can rewatch them every couple of years (like Bond) and not get fed up. The characters are so interesting, although admittedly it's all held together by a superb performance by Peter Falk.

    Every time I watch it, I'm so amazed by how advanced the show was for its time (i.e. how good it must have been back then for viewers that were watching other movies/shows). This is similar to how I feel about older Bonds.

    I used to dislike the 70's original NBC episodes when I was younger, and preferred the 90's tv movies that came out on ABC. I similarly disliked the Connery Bonds (only when compared to Roger's) when I was younger. Now I can't get enough of the earlier 70's episodes, just like my opinion of Connery's Bonds has gone immensely up as I've aged.

    Although it's great to have famous actors portraying the villains, that's not really what draws me to the show. It's more the excellent characterizations, the psychology of the villains, their arrogance, the interesting vocabulary used (my word how that's declined in American TV over the decades), the witty banter between Columbo & the villain, & their eventual come-uppance. In this respect, it's terribly similar to Bond, and that may be why I enjoy it so much.

    I'm also impressed by the female villains in this show. Smart, independant & wily. In fact, all the villains are wily. It is a witty show full of smart people, but none smarter than the deceptive Columbo.

    The music is excellent too - suspenseful & in your face in that old school sort of way.

    There is almost a contemporary '99%/1%' angle to the stories, as most of the villains are very rich and powerful, but it's never enough.....they want more,.....and they cross the line.

    Recently I was lamenting the death of Falk and wondering if there could ever be anyone who could play this role again, gvien how he defined it. I had given up on it, until I read a post on a forum where a possibility came to mind. The one actor who could breathe new life into this disheveled genius: Mark Ruffalo. Watch Zodiac or Collateral and you'll see what I mean. No one can top Falk, but Ruffalo could pull this role off. There's hope yet.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,267
    I went through the entire run last year. Great show. And great memories growing up with THE NBC MYSTERY MOVIE.
  • Posts: 11,037
    Peter Falk was just superb as Columbo, although my parents loved the show throughout its run. I just could not get into it for some reason although i did give it a try.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    edited November 2014 Posts: 12,775
    Thanks for all of the great comments so far. Here is an interesting video that I found on You Tube about the atypical Columbo episode 'Last Salute to the Commodore':

  • Posts: 2,341
    I did not watch the show much when it ran in the seventies. I was more partial to "McCloud" and "McMillian and Wife". I did get an appreciation of "Colombo" watching re runs late at night.
    I liked the formula of showing the murderer (usually the main guest star) in the beginning and then watch the Lieutenant catch them in lies etc. Some of my favorite guest stars / murderers were:
    Robert Conrad, Ross Martin (funny how both stars of the Wild Wild West were featured)
    Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke (yes, that funny man Dick Van Dyke) Johnny Cash to name a few.

    I once heard that the character of Colombo was based on the detective in the Russian classic Crime and Punishment.
    Anyone else heard this or can confirm it?
  • OHMSS69 wrote: »
    I once heard that the character of Colombo was based on the detective in the Russian classic Crime and Punishment.
    Anyone else heard this or can confirm it?

    I never heard about that theory. Actually to me he always was made from the same mould as Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op. Not from his demeanour, which was much more aimed at dulling his opponents and paying tribute to their usual elevated social status (just look how he treats some of the aside witnesses, there often is very few absentmindedness and politeness to be found,when it does suit him) but his attitude towards his profession. To him it's something he just happens to do very well and which therefore satisfies him. He also happens to be completely merciless when it comes to the job, which is amply shown by him never ever letting someone getting away,even when he sympathises with the motives or knows about the murderers near illness caused dead.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    edited July 2018 Posts: 12,775
    OHMSS69 wrote: »
    I did not watch the show much when it ran in the seventies. I was more partial to "McCloud" and "McMillian and Wife". I did get an appreciation of "Colombo" watching re runs late at night.
    I liked the formula of showing the murderer (usually the main guest star) in the beginning and then watch the Lieutenant catch them in lies etc. Some of my favorite guest stars / murderers were:
    Robert Conrad, Ross Martin (funny how both stars of the Wild Wild West were featured)
    Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke (yes, that funny man Dick Van Dyke) Johnny Cash to name a few.

    I once heard that the character of Colombo was based on the detective in the Russian classic Crime and Punishment.
    Anyone else heard this or can confirm it?

    Yes, that is correct. Levinson and Link confirmed it in interviews - it's also available on the main Columbo site if you look it up. G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown was also another literary influence on Columbo, as was the inverted mystery style of R. Austin Freeman. Freeman claimed to have created the inverted detective story in his 1912 collection of short stories The Singing Bone (quote from Wikipedia):

    "Some years ago I devised, as an experiment, an inverted detective story in two parts. The first part was a minute and detailed description of a crime, setting forth the antecedents, motives, and all attendant circumstances. The reader had seen the crime committed, knew all about the criminal, and was in possession of all the facts. It would have seemed that there was nothing left to tell, but I calculated that the reader would be so occupied with the crime that he would overlook the evidence. And so it turned out. The second part, which described the investigation of the crime, had to most readers the effect of new matter."

    Quote source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_detective_story
  • On Sunday night, MeTV showed the Steven Spielberg-directed episode from 1971. Always interesting to watch. Behind the scenes there was a tug of war going on between new-kid Speilberg (he'd have been 24) and Russell Metty, the old school director of photography (he had photographed Spartacus).
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    Posts: 12,775
    On Sunday night, MeTV showed the Steven Spielberg-directed episode from 1971. Always interesting to watch. Behind the scenes there was a tug of war going on between new-kid Speilberg (he'd have been 24) and Russell Metty, the old school director of photography (he had photographed Spartacus).

    Yes, that was the first episode of the commissioned series Columbo after the two pilots from 1968 and 1971. It was called 'Murder by the Book' and starred Jack Cassidy in his first of three appearances as the guest murderer. A brilliant episode, although it's interesting to note that the second episode 'Death Lends A Hand' starring Robert Culp was actually filmed before it.

  • Posts: 1,052
    Absolutley love Columbo, different angle to the standard whodunnit, as we know whodunnit.

    The beauty is in watching Columbo get under the skin of the killer until they do something stupid that gets them caught!
  • Dragonpol wrote: »
    On Sunday night, MeTV showed the Steven Spielberg-directed episode from 1971. Always interesting to watch. Behind the scenes there was a tug of war going on between new-kid Speilberg (he'd have been 24) and Russell Metty, the old school director of photography (he had photographed Spartacus).

    Yes, that was the first episode of the commissioned series Columbo after the two pilots from 1968 and 1971. It was called 'Murder by the Book' and starred Jack Cassidy in his first of three appearances as the guest murderer. A brilliant episode, although it's interesting to note that the second episode 'Death Lends A Hand' starring Robert Culp was actually filmed before it.

    Three scripts from that first season were nominated for an Emmy: Murder by the Book (Steven Bochco), Death Lends a Hand (Richard Levinson and William Link) and Suitable for Framing (Jackson Gillis). Levinson and Link won.
  • Posts: 4,914
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    boldfinger wrote: »
    Gotta love that series!

    I remember at first it threw me off a bit when I realised that Dick van Dyke seemed to be playing every bad guy, but then I found the recurrence of main actors in different roles to be a lot of fun!

    Well Dick Van Dyke was only in the one episode of Columbo called "Negative Reaction" but perhaps you are thinking of one of the returning guest star killers like Jack Cassidy (3 eps), Robert Culp (4 eps, 3 as the killer), Robert Vaughan (2 eps), George Hamilton (2 eps), Patrick McGooghan (4 eps) or William Shatner (2 eps)?
    Got me there. I was mixing names and faces up. I meant Robert Culp. Also loved the recurrences of Patrick McGoohan. That said, all those you mentioned were fantastic.



    bondjames wrote: »
    Recently I was lamenting the death of Falk and wondering if there could ever be anyone who could play this role again, gvien how he defined it. I had given up on it, until I read a post on a forum where a possibility came to mind. The one actor who could breathe new life into this disheveled genius: Mark Ruffalo. Watch Zodiac or Collateral and you'll see what I mean. No one can top Falk, but Ruffalo could pull this role off. There's hope yet.
    I agree. When I read of the rumour of Ruffalo doing Columbo, I was actually quite happy. In fact, Ruffalo´s Bruce Banner in The Avengers already looks so much like Columbo´s brother that I could imagine that was the reason for the rumour.



    Dragonpol wrote: »
    It was called 'Murder by the Book' and starred Jack Cassidy in his first of three appearances as the guest murderer.
    Nice term ;-)!

  • My all time favourite show, Robert Culp my favourite recurring Villian.The seventies movies the best for me.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    edited November 2014 Posts: 12,775
    My all time favourite show, Robert Culp my favourite recurring Villian.The seventies movies the best for me.

    Robert Culp is my favourite recurring villain too - such a brilliant actor!

    orig.jpg
  • Posts: 10,503
    He was fantastic in The Greatest American hero, great at comedy as well.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    Posts: 12,775
    DrGorner wrote: »
    He was fantastic in The Greatest American hero, great at comedy as well.

    Yes, I've seen a little of that on You Tube. There were comedy elements in it too. I've really wanted to see some of his film roles too. He's one of my favourite actors.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,267
    Immediately after finishing my COLUMBO trip last year, upon recommendations from several friends, I watched all of the BBC show LUTHER (available on Netflix). After a couple of episodes I started noticing some similarities (the killer is revealed to the audience at the start, Luther usually knows who the killer is early on and the game is how he proves it, his unusual, but effective, idiosyncrasies, Luther always wears the same coat, etc…). At first I thought I was just ultra-tuned in because of my run through the entire COLUMBO vault, but I did some research on line to double check. Sure enough, both the star and creator were intentionally riffing on the classic character.

    http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/s219/luther/news/a284056/elba-luther-was-inspired-by-columbo.html#~oWGteuAyPZDVNZ
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    Posts: 12,775
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Immediately after finishing my COLUMBO trip last year, upon recommendations from several friends, I watched all of the BBC show LUTHER (available on Netflix). After a couple of episodes I started noticing some similarities (the killer is revealed to the audience at the start, Luther usually knows who the killer is early on and the game is how he proves it, his unusual, but effective, idiosyncrasies, Luther always wears the same coat, etc…). At first I thought I was just ultra-tuned in because of my run through the entire COLUMBO vault, but I did some research on line to double check. Sure enough, both the star and creator were intentionally riffing on the classic character.

    http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/s219/luther/news/a284056/elba-luther-was-inspired-by-columbo.html#~oWGteuAyPZDVNZ

    Yes, I have the 3 series DVD boxset of Luther and I read only yesterday that it was inspired by Columbo and Sherlock Holmes. It's great to see another "inverted mystery" series made and I really must watch it soon! :)
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Area 52
    edited November 2014 Posts: 32,566
    A bit off topic, but did anyone see DER HIMMEL UBER BERLIN, where Peter Falk played himself/an angel? Brilliant film and Falk was great in it. He really is an angel now.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited November 2014 Posts: 26,267
    I thought it was okay. A little smug for me. Meaning the tone was a bit heavy for the content.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    Posts: 12,775
    This is funny. Peter Falk in character as Lt Columbo in the Roast of Dean Martin:

  • mcdonbbmcdonbb deep in the Heart of Texas
    Posts: 4,119
    I had a friend that met Peter Falk.. said a very sweet man.

    I'm a big Colombo fan too.

    Always thought the guy that played Carla's husband on Cheers would make a good new Colombo.
  • We don't need a new Columbo. This was a great series,conceived in another time for another kind of audience. It's not a sin to leave something alone, even if one could get the feeling with all those reboots,prequels and sequels ( not to mention spin offs). Also to be honest the series had its last good episodes way back in the late 80ies. After that it became worse and worse,with some episodes reaching a insulting level.
  • Too many notes was probably the last episode I watched, never saw any of the subsequent episodes. In the latter period the quality had dipped for sure. Recorded Swan Song recently will have to watch that this weekend, a classic episode guest starring the man in black.
  • mcdonbbmcdonbb deep in the Heart of Texas
    Posts: 4,119
    I agree they are classics ...but wouldn't mind new. That's just me though and I don't think an audience of one is enough to film a movie :-w
  • I have to correct myself. The last good episode ( even a brilliant one) was from 1990 and was called "Columbo Cries Wolf". Highly recommended!!!
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