If I had a dollar for every time a Lieutenant lover had bemoaned the lack of a Columbo Blu-ray boxset, I’d be a wealthy man indeed. If you’re amongst those many fans, this week’s news that the series will get a Blu-ray release this year may well have set your heart a-flutter.
According to Frank Tarzi, VP of Acquisitions at Kino Lorber, there are two Columbo boxsets in the works: one featuring the ‘classic era’ 1968-78 episodes; and the second containing the 1989-2003 revival episodes. The classic episodes are set to be released in late summer, with the ‘new Columbo‘ set following in late 2023 or early 2024.
While a Japanese Blu-ray boxset has been available for some years, its prohibitive pricing has placed it out of reach of most fans. I’m also not aware of any extensive extras on that particular set. More than merely releasing the series in glorious HD, the new boxsets will provide the sort of extras fans have been clamouring for since Columbo was first made available on DVD in the early 2000s. For the Blu-ray, each episode will feature audio commentary from experts of the day as well as archival excerpts from those involved in the production.
The new boxsets will provide the sort of extras fans have been clamouring for since Columbo was first made available on DVD in the early 2000s.
Of course, it’s agony that so many guest stars (including Peter Falk himself) will not be able to contribute their recollections of the series personally, but there should still be plenty of excellent background intel to satisfy serious fans. Here’s hoping the likes of Steven Spielberg, Lee Grant, Dick Van Dyke, William Shatner, Clive Revill, Susan Clark and Trish Van Devere may pop up on the audio tracks to provide first-hand commentary on the filming of the show, too.
Given the resurgence of interest in Columbo since the ultra-successful Rian Johnson series Poker Face acknowledged it as a major influence this year, I’d expect this updated release to sell like bowls of chilli at a Columbo Convention. You’ll be able to find out more info on release dates, pricing and extras right here as and when details become available.
In the meantime, do sing out on what you’d like to see included as extras on the sets. Personally, I’ve got everything crossed that the full series of Dale Kingston’s World of Art will work its way onto the discs. We patient fans deserves nothing less…
Dale Kingston’s World of Art, or Martin Landau’s cooking show.
I’d like a full length version of the “Milo Janus jingle” and the full length version of the song at the end of “Bye bye, Sky High, IQ.”
With so many of the 70’s stars obviously being unavailable, it would be nice to hear commentary from certain Columbo “experts”, hint hint, nudge nudge, Columbophile. (Or maybe a podcaster or two, ahem.)
I wouldn’t hold your breath on that front!
Great News. I hope it is ‘Region Free, or at least produce a Region B version.
Is it known yet which languages will be included ?
I personnaly hope there will be french subtitles.
most of the japanese Columbo blu ray episodes have been edited/butchered in terms of playing time length…major scenes have been entirely deleted and are now missing from the Japanese columbo blu ray sets – i recently returned a columbo blu ray set to amazon for for these very reasons – missing episode scenes (cut out and deleted) and reduced playing time due to all the garbage editing – criminal – and many buyers have complained for the same reasons…if these soon to be release new columbo blu ray sets mentioned at this site have been copied from the japanese columbo blu ray sets dont waste your money buying these sets….hopefully the new columbo blu ray sets leave everything in tact and do not reduce playing time significantly by cutting out scenes from many episodes.
I have this Japanese boxset,the episodes are not edited in any way,the Blu-ray picture is a lot better than the DVD,where did you get the idea that they have been edited?
The one extra above all else I hope is included is a first season Columbo opening sequence for the NBC Mystery Movie, with the silhouette Flashlight Man and Henry Mancini’s classic theme. Even more ideal would be an option to have that play before an episode via seamless branching.
And of course, the complete Dale Kingston’s World of Art.
Great news! I just told my husband what I want for Christmas! Yaaaay!
I am happy to hear of the boxsets but my expectations for the “extras” are modest. The people producing these boxsets haven’t promised interviews or commentary from Spielberg or any of the stars who played murderers. The 1970’s were a long time ago. Some of those stars may be in poor physical or cognitive health, may not want people to see what they look like now, or may not consider their appearance on Columbo to be a particularly important part of their careers.
Just purchased the DVD series in 2023 and as of this moment my wife says that we are not getting the Blu-ray series. She does not like commentary.
I had the DVDs & bought the Japanese Blu-Ray set back around the time it was released (that one includes both all the “classic” episodes as well as the “new” ones that came out as T.V. movies). Picture quality is a big improvement over the DVDs IMHO, & I’m sure the same will be true of the new Kino sets. I’m very happy with the Japanese ones, even without extras. Frankly, for me, i own many box sets & individual discs with tons of extras, but I rarely watch them & so won’t be springing for the new sets, but I’m sure they’ll be welcome to all the “Columbo” fans out there.
If I post all the links for these, I’ll be unable to submit the comment, but I’ll keep trying. Otherwise, you can scour youtube for these items that can go on a wish list, things you may have already been aware of, but let’s get them in Blu-Ray quality:
***The first of several Peter Falk “Columbo” appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”, 9/15/72: Falk on the couch wearing his raincoat: “Listen, Johnny, I don’t wanna plug the show….”
***1972 Emmys acceptance speech:
***On Carson, 1973, promoting “Any Old Port”
***There’s a clip somewhere of Falk on Carson, excited about the upcoming 1974 “Exercise in Fatality” episode and “new writer” Peter Fischer. I’ve seen it before, can’t find it today.
***Falk in character as Columbo on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Frank Sinatra: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_UN2S8SasY). Falk is hilarious, and I’ve always wondered if he had writing help on that, or was it all Peter? It’s notable that the jokes aren’t riffs on Sinatra, they’re all observations that are funny because they spring from the Columbo character. The roast guest list is vintage 1978 pop culture: George Burns, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Dom DeLuise, Rich Little, Don Rickles, Ronald Reagan (not President yet). and many more.
***1985, 4 commercials for COOP, an Italian supermarket chain. For copyright purposes, he’s not officially “Columbo” here, but the character is there in (Italian) spirit, with a dog and talking about his wife.
***Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton, 1999:
If the Blu-Ray set includes episodes of “Mrs. Columbo” like the DVD series did, they should knock a few bucks off the price.
Love the Sinatra one. Must have been scripted or Falk more if a genius that we first thought.
If it was scripted, it had to have been done by someone very familiar with the Columbo character who Peter trusted. The roast aired in early Feb 1978, about a week after “Murder Under Glass”, right about the time that Falk started to layer on the exaggerated Columbo schtick. But he’s very natural and unforced on the roast, as befits someone who is quite comfortable in the character’s skin. There aren’t really any “jokes” per se that Falk delivers, just characterization, so I’m leaning toward the bit all coming from Peter.
Here are the spots for the COOP Italian supermarket chain. Sorry, no subtitles here. Anybody speak Italian who can give a rough translation?
I add that the voice is the original Columbo’s italian voice.
The dialogues are nothing specials, however here is a translation.
PF: You were right. Shopping is good here. There’s much to choose from. Just a moment…and this brand?
Woman: It’s the Coop brand, only selected products…
PF: Gosh! I have to tell…
Woman: your wife!
PF: Bravo…my wife…
PF: Excuse me, have you seen a dog?
PF: Excuse me, have you seen a dog?
Man: Yes, he went there.
PF: Sorry, I’m looking for the dog. Oh, what a beautiful fresh fruit…and what vegetables!
Man: sure, we go to get them every morning
PF: Every morning? And where?
Man: at the farms chosen by Coop
PF: May I? Mmh, and COOP choose well…sure, it’s a consumer cooperative…The dog!
PF: I’d like to understand why COOP is the number one in Italy. Excuse me, just a question…why do you come here?
Woman: because here we make good purchases.
PF: Excuse me..which one would you choose?
Woman: It’s just the same…everything is so fresh here.
PF: Just one last question. What’s the meaning of COOP?
Woman: Consumer Cooperative
PF: Consumer Cooperative…but then we are COOP! That’s why people trust it! I have to tell my wife.
PF: Oh, sorry. I was thinking about my wife.
PF: Sorry, be kind….Thank you.
I’ve seen your face before…
Oh, the toys. They’re beautiful. Which ones would you reccomend?
Have we met before?
Father Christmas: maybe…
PF: I choose this one, it will be a beautiful present.
Father Christmas: I’ll take care of the gifts! Merry Christmas!
PF: ah, that’s who it was! Look what had to happen to us!
Thanx Lorenzo. I’m sure the ad agency would have loved to legally shoehorn a “One more thing” in there.
The thing I’ve been hoping for is that it’ll include the Chevy Mystery Hour episode with Bert Freed (and I’ve been reply-guying Kino-Lorber about it just to get it on their radar).
Really looking forward to this! Kino-Lorber does great work!
Daniel, that would be great, but “Enough Rope” has been out of public circulation for decades, available for viewing only during occasional special screenings by the UCLA Film and Television Archives (last showing was April 2021). It would be a major coup for Kino-Lorber to obtain the rights for disseminating it to a wide audience, but it certainly would goose the Blu-Ray sales to the Columbo-hardcore.
Can’t imagine the video quality will be any better than the DVDs, and I doubt they’ll be worth the price for the extras alone. So it’ll probably be a no from me.
If it isn’t any better then they wouldn’t be doing it. Blue ray has ‘scrubbed up’ lots of old series.
Of course the quality if your TV is also a big factor.
You can’t imagine that a series shot on 35mm would look better at 1080p resolution than 480p? What?!
It was shot on 35mm film, not video tape. Unless they do something mad, the quality can’t be anything but better – you’ve got over 6x more pixels. Heck, you could master it at 4K without upscaling from 35mm.
Had to check that the 90s episodes didn’t switch to tape; they didn’t.
It depends on if they put a lot into the blu ray video transfer. Sometimes with the older shows, Ironside particularly the DVD transfer isn’t so good. All they really care about is getting out the product, ringing the bell, and taking the money. I hope it’s quality because I’m buying it.
I hope that they don’t try to “improve” it by changing the aspect ratio of the original presentations.
The 89-2003 episodes are 16:9 in HD on Peacock and look great in that ratio!
Already told the missus, that this is the only Christmas present in town. LOL!!
Could be pricey. That’s the way of ‘vintage’ shows / artists these days.
But who cares, it’s Columbo
I’m sure it’ll be more affordable than importing the Japanese Blu-ray set for about $300 😱