The good Lieutenant left our screens so many years ago that the idea of a Columbo year in review never occurred to me. However, there have been a number of thrilling developments in relation to the show this year that warrant revisiting.
Even the most ardent fan might have missed some of the Columbo happenings of the year (even those most treasured gems who religiously check this site every week), so here’s an overview of the Columbo year that was – as well as a sneak preview of what could be in store in 2018.
ColumboCon on the way?
There were klaxons of joy sounding in August of this year when the writers of a new Peter Falk biography announced they are organising a Columbo Convention, set to take place in Peter Falk’s home town of Ossining, New Year, in July 2018 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the show as we know it.
What I’ve been told about the event so far is chronicled here and if it does go ahead this threatens to be a marvellous tribute to TV’s greatest detective. As a caveat, though, I have been seeking updates on event progress, timelines, costs etc for some time and have, alas, not had a response.
While that’s no reason in itself to fear the worst, I only wish I had more news to share as this announcement was met with much excitement by fans across the world. As soon as I hear anything else, rest assured I’ll be sharing it in a heartbeat.
Meanwhile, rumours of a Columbo reboot, that were such big news in 2015, have yet to resurface. We must assume that there will be no movement on this front anytime soon.
Columbo’s raincoat and shoes fail to sell at auction
A little piece of TV folklore went under the hammer in November as one of the original Columbo raincoats (there were two in circulation) as well as his famous shoes were listed among the goodies in the Bonhams TCM ‘Out of This World’ auction.
The legendary Columbo wares were expected to fetch between $80,000 – $120,000, a price tag that some fans might consider a bargain! Amazingly, though, the items failed to reach reserve. Although Bonhams hasn’t released any information about the Columbo lots, a number of folk who were listening in live reported that the bidding didn’t get beyond $40,000. Quite what the future holds for these magical items remains a mystery.
Columbo immortalised – in sneaker form!
Now for something completely different… In April 2017, Italian sportswear giants Diadora released the N.9000 Columbo set as a direct homage to the world’s greatest detective.
The cream and beige colour scheme references Columbo’s wardrobe, while the 044 APD licence plate number is on the right heel, and imagery of ‘Dog’ emblazons the tongue and insole. Prices vary depending on where you live, but I got pair delivered to my home in Australia for around US$100. They’re kick-ass cool and comfy as sin. The Lieutenant would approve.
It’s farewell from him…
Each year, one of my sad duties is to chronicle the list of Columbo guest stars who passed away over the previous 12 months. I will do so again in January but amongst the high-profile Columbo contributors we lost in 2017 were Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (who was at the helm of 1978’s Murder Under Glass) and Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau, who starred as dastardly twins Dexter and Norman Paris in one of my very favourite episodes, Double Shock.
Any Old Port retains number 1 spot in fans’ poll
Thousands of keen viewers have cast their votes in the ‘Favourite Episode poll‘ on this site since 2015 and for the second year running, Any Old Port in a Storm has topped the standings. The perennial fans’ favourite leads the way by a country mile from nearest challengers (and Jack Cassidy vehicles) Murder by the Book and Now You See Him.
You can read the top 10 as it stood in July 2017 (when I update the list annually) here. If your favourite is conspicuous by its absence, make sure you vote for it today to give it a chance to race up the polls in 2018.
Here’s what else you might have missed…
Columbo superfan and artist Tika Viker-Bloss staged an art show in London in October showcasing ‘The Women of Columbo‘.
Her exhibit featured a dozen works and included paintings of scenes from episodes including Make Me a Perfect Murder, Double Shock, Rest in Peace Mrs Columbo and Try & Catch Me. Read more about the show here.
One enterprising fan is doing what he can to get a Columbo Lego set through Lego Ideas. The set features a cigar-holding Lieutenant and ‘Dog’ along with the legendary Peugeot 403.
The set is delightful and would doubtless find a place in many a fan’s home. The catch is that 10,000 people need to support the project before it even has a chance to progress on to serious consideration. Read more about it here.
Another project you can throw your support behind is the Columbo Google Doodle campaign. The 50th anniversary of the first airing of Prescription: Murder is in February 2018 and I can’t get enough of the idea of marking this with a special Google Doodle.
Read more about this campaign, and how you can let Google know you’re behind it, here. And if it happens, you can give yourself a deserved clap on the back!
What’s in store for 2018?
That, of course, is the $64,000 question. With it being the show’s 50th anniversary next year, it’d be nice to know for sure that a range of celebratory events and product releases will be in evidence. However, that may be wishful thinking. There are a couple of items to look out for, which ought to cheer the cockles of the heart.
Set for release in late February 2018, specifically to mark the 50th anniversary of the show, look out for a Columbo cookery book!
Combining recipes from the show with the favourite recipes from contributing guest stars, Cooking With Columbo was compiled by Columbo super-fan Jenny Hammerton and promises to offer endless culinary inspiration for fellow fans, well beyond chilli, hard boiled eggs and black coffee…
Fans hankering to enjoy the Lieutenant is the highest definition possible will be pleased to hear that the complete series Blu-Ray is set for release in the UK in the first quarter of 2018.
As far as I know, the complete series Blu-Ray has only been available in Japan up to now, so this ought to bring cheer to great reams of the English-speaking world.
The Columbophile blog in 2017
I’m delighted to report that 2017 was a blockbuster year for this blog! This the 44th and final post for 2017, and the 86th post to the site since launch in July 2015. The site has had more than 275,000 page views in 2017 alone and I’m grateful to each and every one of you who takes the time to visit this site, leave a comment or share the content with your networks. Together we’re helping to keep the Lieutenant’s legacy alive.
In terms of episode reviews, I got through nine episodes in 2017. This is a couple less than I’d like, but it takes time to do them well. I will need to up the pace, though, because at current rate I won’t get through the episodes until 2022!
If you missed any reviews this year, here are the links to those published in 2017 in chronological order.
- The Most Crucial Game
- Dagger of the Mind
- Requiem for a Falling Star
- A Stitch in Crime
- The Most Dangerous Match
- Double Shock
- Lovely but Lethal
- Any Old Port in a Storm
- Candidate for Crime
- Double Exposure
The first review of 2018 will be Publish or Perish, and frankly I can’t wait as that’s one of my very favourite episodes.
I will take this opportunity to wish you well for the rest of 2017 (and beyond) and thank you again for your visits, kind words and support over the past 12 months. The Columbo community never ceases to amaze and delight. Here’s to you!