Yes folks, it really is almost that time of year again when we turn our attentions to Christmas wish lists for ourselves and our nearest and dearest.
Depending on your personality make-up this can be either the most wonderful or most frustrating time of year. If you traditionally struggle to find inspiration for the Lieutenant lover in your life, help is at hand! Here I outline a range of splendid stocking fillers of all types and at varying price points that are simply guaranteed to delight Columbo fans.
And if you’re the Columbo fan in your relationship / family and fancy some of these items, don’t be afraid to playfully forward this on to friends and well-wishers to make sure they can avoid making thoughtless choices when they could be making your very heart sing!
NB – I’ve included prices where possible, but usually an approximate value for US dollars and British pounds because everything I search for shows up in Aussie dollars. Capische? Eccelente…
ART: City of Angels poster
This striking piece of work is sure to be a talking point wherever you choose to place it. Although not geographically accurate, it does feature scores of Columbo landmarks and killers in cute cartoony style. Available in a range of sizes from sensible to HUUUUUGE (such as the one on my own wall), there’s a spot for this in every Columbo fan’s home!
Price: Varies, starts from approx US$10 / 8.50 GBP
BOOK: A Christmas Killing
The only official seasonal Columbo adventure, this excellent 1972 novel is an original tale written by Alfred Lawrence that sees the Lieutenant investigating the murder of a young apartment store window dresser.
It’s only available second hand these days and prices can be high as a result (upwards of US$50), but for the Columbo completist it’s a great gift, and the Christmas theme makes it ruddy ideal. You can read my review of the book here.
Price: Varies, starting from approx US$50 / GBP 40
ART: Very Suitable for Framing
One of the most sublime Columbo artworks I’ve ever seen, artist extraordinaire Alistair Little’s work, entitled ‘One More Thing’, would impress even Dale Kingston.
Quality prints of the original commissioned work are available via Alistair’s website – and Columbophile blog readers can earn a 10% discount simply by entering the code ONEMORETHING10 at checkout before midnight on 1 December. HUZZAH AND HURRAH!
Price: Approx US$50 / 38 GBP (including reader discount)
FASHION: Columbo t-shirt
A striking design, featuring Columbo’s beloved catchphrase, and available in all sorts of varieties and sizes, you can publicise your love for the Lieutenant to the whole world with these cracking tees!
Price: Approx US$15 / 12 GBP
BOOK: The Columbo Phile
The 30th anniversary reprint of Mark Dawidziak’s seminal 1989 Columbo tome is available now – and at just $30 represents a real bargain for fans.
Featuring digest and analysis of all the 70s episodes, as well as input from the show’s creators, stars and Peter Falk himself, it’s simply the greatest Columbo book of them all. The updated edition contains an overview of the ‘new’ Columbo episodes, a new preface and a remembrance of Peter Falk.
Of course, avid collectors may also be interested in the original 1989 version. This is out of print and can be expensive, but the value this will provide for a true fan cannot be measured.
HOME: Columbo cushion
Nothing screams “I LOVE COLUMBO!” quite like some themed soft furnishings, amirite? And this rather nice pop-art style Columbo cushion would brighten up any sofa!
Price: approx US$20 / 15 GBP
ENTERTAINMENT: DVD box set
Why bother being held ransom by unimaginative scheduling or heavy-handed editing dished out by the networks? The best way to enjoy Columbo is to own every one of the 69 episodes yourself, which makes the full DVD box set a true no-brainer.
With crystal clear picture and sound, this is Columbo the way it ought to be viewed and every fan, if they can afford the very reasonable outlay, ought to have it. Will be well worth having a look online for this on Black Friday to secure even better prices.
Price: US$ 55.99 (buy US version here) / 37 GBP (buy UK version here)
ART: Stanley Chow print
Globally-renowned artist Stan Chow is much in demand for his striking likenesses of leading football stars (or soccer to US readers), but it’s his stunning version of the good Lieutenant that will most interest Columbo fans. I’d go so far as to say it’s as quirky and charming as Columbo himself!
Price: Varies depending on size. From US$15 / 12 GBP
BOOK: Cooking with Columbo
A lovely item that sits proudly on my own kitchen shelf, the Cooking with Columbo is jam-packed with recipes from the show itself, or favourite recipes of the stars, including Peter Falk, Johnny Cash, Leonard Nimoy and scores more. As you’d expect, there are plenty of good chilli options! Read more about the book here (I wrote a foreword to it).
Price: US$16 (US readers buy here) / 12 GBP (UK readers buy here)
ART: Ale Giorgini print
Another renowned illustrator, whose work is routinely used by major brands and in notable global publications, Columbo fan Ale Giorgini has turned his distinctive style to portraying the dear Lieutenant in a new illustration, released in September 2019. It’s a beauty!
Price: Approx US$32 / 25 GBP
ENTERTAINMENT: Columbo board game
Notable for its dubious box artwork (it’s obvious Peter Falk didn’t allow his likeness to be used), The Columbo Detective Game is nevertheless cracking entertainment, and a slice of life from simpler times when board games took HOURS to complete and no fool was distracted every 2.5 seconds by frigging phones buzzing!
Essentially a reskinned version of the game ‘Why?’ (also similar to Cluedo), players must navigate their way round a suitably glitzy celeb mansion, collecting clue cards on the way, to establish killer and murder weapon.
I have a copy myself and thoroughly enjoy it, so if you like kitsch gaming with a Columbo twist (and who doesn’t?) you can’t go wrong. Can be found on Amazon and eBay reasonably regularly, but prices can vary.
MUSIC: Ransom for a Dead Man soundtrack on vinyl
It’s one of the world’s great crimes that Universal have never released an official collection of classic Columbo themes from the 70s, but Billy Goldenberg’s sublime soundtrack to Ransom for a Dead Man can be found on vinyl if you look hard enough – usually on eBay or Amazon. I couldn’t find any available at time of writing, though.
If you know a vinyl junkie who’s also a Columbo fan, this is literally the perfect gift, so do try your best to find one.
Price: Beats me…
Just One More Thing (literally)…
Anyone who’s seen The Princess Bride will know that there’s something lovely about the idea of Peter Falk narrating a story to you – and his autobiography from the early 2000s is the next best thing.
Written in a charmingly conversational style, Just One More Thing is really a series of anecdotes from Peter’s life chronicling everything from his stint in the navy and growing up in New York to his stage and film career and, of course, his recollections of Columbo. It’s like the man himself is reading it straight to you…
It absolutely won’t disappoint and really ought to be on the book shelf of every Columbo fan alive.
Price: From $10.50 (US readers buy here) / 6.50 GBP (UK readers buy here)
So there we have it, folks, enough Columbo Christmas goodies to fill a GIANT’S stocking. And if that lot doesn’t tickle yer fancy, there are dozens more Columbo gift ideas here on Redbubble; and here on Amazon. Any purchases made via these pages will earn me a minuscule amount of commission to help off-set costs associated with running this site.
Happy shopping, folks, and if any of these strike a chord with you, do let me know in the comments section below.