There’s more to the man than what lies behind the cigar smoke. There’s Lieutenant Columbo, and there’s Peter Falk. For a lot of us it’s difficult to distinguish between the two. They’re not the same, but Lieutenant Columbo wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for Peter Falk, and vise-versa.
On the surface, Lieutenant Columbo was slow, easily distracted, a fumbling mess wrapped up in his ever-present raincoat and amid a cloud billowing cigar smoke. But everyone underestimated the man, every time. He knew what he was doing, fooling everyone else all along.
Peter Falk was also a man with more than met the eye, and I do mean in the singular form, “eye.” At age three, he had an eye amputated and lived the rest of his life with a glass eye. He was told he could never be an actor with just one eye. After failing a screening test in the 1950s, he was told “for the same price I can get an actor with two eyes.” Falk obtained a masters degree and had a career as a management analyst before finally successfully going into acting, producing, and writing.
When Peter Falk became Lieutenant Columbo, the part had already been played by two actors. Falk developed the character of Columbo, providing his own wardrobe and often adlibbing much of his lines in the series spanning over three decades, and eventually working his way to also becoming executive producer of the program in 1989.
Peter Falk formed the Lieutenant Columbo we all love; the well-mannered detective who knew what he loved, such as Tuscano smokes, his equally awkward basset hound Dog, and his detective work. Peter Falk and Columbo are men of class, and deserve recognition from us here at Sumo & Stogies.
Ahh, there’s just one more thing…Thanks for all the great films!