Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just One More Thing, Sir.

The rumpled fellow above is one Peter Falk born this day 1927, in New York City. At the age of three his right eye was removed due to a malignant tumor, and he has worn a glass eye for most of his life. The picture above is from his most famous role, that as police detective Columbo. The rumpled raincoat, the 1959 Peugeot, the often mentioned but never seen Mrs. Columbo, these are the things that I best remember about Falk. He got his start in a theatre in West Port, Connecticut. He was working at a dead end job in Hartford, and had to drive to West Port. The drive made him always late for the rehearsals, and one day the director asked him why he was late. He told her that he was late because of the drive from Hartford. She replied there was no theatre in Hartford, and inquired how he made a living acting there. Falk said that he was not a professional actor, and she retorted "well, you should be." He drove back to Hartford, and quit his job the next day. He got his big break in 1960's Murder, Inc. But it as Columbo that I best remember him. The role won him four Emmys, and is one of the iconic roles of American television. You always knew who the crook was from the beginning, and you always knew that Columbo would show up, and get his man. The bumbling, goofy exterior was a lovely front for a clever, insightful mind. His most famous trick was to pretend to leave the suspect's presence, but snaps his fingers and ask "just one more thing." It was that one more thing that always got them in the end. The one more thing was always the real reason that he was talking to the suspect to begin with, and it was what lead to the crook's downfall. He also had a wonderful role in The Princess Bride as the grandfather reading the "story" to a young Fred Savage. He is still alive and kicking, but it has been recently reported that he is suffering from dementia, and can not even remember his role as Columbo. That is a true tragedy, and does make this a bittersweet post, but for always getting his man in such fine fashion, Peter Falk (September 16th, 1927-present), you are my hero of the day.

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