Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crush on Columbo


I can't remember the first time I watched an episode of Columbo, but it had to be in the early '70s. It was Sunday night and each week it would rotate between Columbo, McMillan and Wife and McCloud. Of all three, I enjoyed Columbo the most. It was different than most mystery shows because you knew right away who did it. You spent the rest of the hour seeing how Columbo solved the mystery and watch the bad guy or gal, squirm while being tracked.

I loved it. Columbo wasn't a pretty boy detective. Nor was he a rude, arrogant guy with a gun (he never carried one). He was perceived by many who came across him as a "schmo." But we avid watchers knew better. He was brilliant, doggedly dedicated and at times, completely compassionate to the victims and even villains.

His character was a devoted married man who loved his wife and his Bassett hound named "Dog." He noticed details that most of his coworkers and villains overlooked—from a stuffed light bulb and Ruth Gordon, dust on the shelf in the airplane locker of bad girl Lee Grant to picture frames with Ross Martin and incriminating fingerprints. Classic Columbo!


I own a complete collection of DVDs of Columbo and I watch them again and again. It's like visiting a favorite uncle. Peter Falk is an amazing actor. I guess I should honestly say "was," since Falk doesn't act anymore. He's alive, but suffering from dementia. What a waste of a great acting talent. No more Columbos. It would have been amazing to see a new Columbo, with him as a grandpa, detecting away in his retirement. It’s too sad.

But I lift my glass to Peter Falk. You gave us a memorable and brilliant performance of a great detective. Your fans still adore you, Mr. Falk. Thank you.


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