It’s just as well I’m not of an excitable nature, otherwise news of the upcoming ColumboCon would have caused my heart to explode with joy!
Regular readers may remember that I had a Columbo Convention on my wishlist of things to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first airing of Prescription: Murder in 2018. Refresh your memory with the full list here. As with pretty much everything else on the list, I assumed this was merely wishful thinking. Praise the Lord, but it turns out I was wrong…
“The ‘Columbo Mystery Convention’ is the brainchild of writers Rick Lerztman and Dr Bill Birnes.”
Admittedly this isn’t something Universal has organised to shine the spotlight on the greatest freakin’ show they ever touched, but let that take nothing away from what is sure to be a magnificent tribute.
No, instead the ‘Columbo Mystery Convention’ is the brainchild of writers Rick Lerztman and Dr Bill Birnes, new pals of mine, and, more importantly, the authors of the recently published biography Beyond Columbo: The Life and Times of Peter Falk (read more about that here).
The event is in its early planning stage right now, but anyone with even a passing interest in the show and its leading star would do well to keep July 2018 free from pressing duties so as not to be double booked when the final dates are set!
ColumboCon: What we know so far
Details are still sketchy, as befits an event in its planning infancy, but here’s what I know so far:
The date: mid-July 2018, the aim is for it to be a four-day celebration
The location: Precise venue TBC, but event will take place in Ossining New York, Peter Falk’s home town
The format: Panel sessions discussing Columbo mysteries and the life of Peter Falk; view memorabilia from the show; chance to meet the writers, actors, directors and creators of the show; Columbo mystery-writing competition
Who might be there: Still TBC, but the organisers are confident that high-profile stars and contributors will support the event. Who knows, we could see the likes of Dabney Coleman, Ed Begley Jnr, Stephen Bochco sharing their memories and experiences. Dare we hope for William Shatner, Steven Spielberg and Dick Van Dyke? Too early to say…
While there will be a strong Columbo theme, the intention is for this to become an annual event to celebrate the mystery writing genre as a whole.
Talking about the inspiration behind the event, Dr Bill Birnes said: “The roots of Columbo are firmly set in the manner of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Columbo was the modern incarnation of Sherlock Holmes and continued the tradition of the cerebral mystery.
“We believe that the many readers of the great mystery books deserve a yearly forum to meet the great authors, creators and minds of the genre.”Rick Lertzman added: “America’s love for Columbo and Peter Falk has continued over the years. There are tens of thousands of fans loyal to the exploits of Lieutenant Columbo and ‘Columbo Con’ has them firmly in mind. It will be a true celebration of America’s favourite TV detective.
“With expected guest appearances by some of the show’s most notorious villains we hope to see fans turn up in their trench coats, drive up in their Peugeot convertibles, and be ready to weigh in on Columbo’s most perplexing cases.”
Sounds good to me!
Unconfirmed event rumours
The following internet rumours about ColumboCon have yet to be confirmed, so don’t get your hopes up!
- On-site ding-a-ling ice cream concession
- Live round-robin chess matches against unstable Grand Master
- Free chilli, black coffee and hard boiled eggs
- Dissolving suture treatment for minor cuts and scrapes
- Dog-walking service available through MM7
- Subliminal cut-free screening of Columbo episodes on the big screen
- Boodle Boy on hand to shine shoes
- Limerick and darts knock-out competition
I have it on excellent authority that Mrs Columbo will be in attendance. She will, however, be tantalisingly just around the corner and out of ear-shot at all times…
I will update this article with new info as and when. There’s no mailing list yet for the event, but if you want to keep up to speed email me directly and I’ll let you know when I hear more juicy details.