Hello Dirk ( any connection to PITT???)
Let me begin by thanking you for my comment on the JACK PALANCE version of DRACULA which I ran across while ordering the new PBS version of THE 1977 FRANK FINLAY version. I thought my comment was well buried. Thank you for your kind words. I went to your homepage and found so many reviews. "The Rage: Carrie 2." caught my eye and I made a comment.
I just wanted to tell you how much I really enjoyed your review of COLUMBO particularly the "second generation" films as you call them. I must add that you are well informed and informing! Falk first came to my attention , of course, in MURDER INC. For which he received the first of 2 OSCAR nominations in a row (followed by POCKETFULL OF MIRACLES). During this time he also received an EMMY win for THE DICK POWELL SHOW (1961)
For episode the THE PRICE OF TOMATOES. Now I was 10 years old when these things occurred but did catch the movies in re-runs of THE DICK POWELL SHOW in the late 1980's on a great network called, at the time, THE NOSTALGIA CHANNEL. Now called, I believe AMERICAN LIFE TV and available to me here in Northeast PA where I reside (As an aside they also run THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., MAVERICK, COMBAT and 77 SUNSET STRIP for mid-fifty people like me.
Falk's big breakthrough in my house was THE TRIALS OF O'BRIEN. As an Irish grandson of coal miners on both sides of the family you can imagine the resonance that show had with me. Of course it failed. However I vividly remember sitting in front of our 25" ZENITH color TV watching PRESCRIPTION:MURDER wonderfully featuring GENE BARRY after a nice turn in BURKE'S LAW. That was 1968 and at 17 I thought it was "OSCAR caliber material." .......I was young..........
Now to the substance of the review. There are many stories about the origin of COLUMBO especially the one where BING CROSBY was offered the role. (I can't imagine!) I checked the invaluable IMBD and found this, "This film, which established Peter Falk as the definitive Lt. Columbo, was adapted from a 1962 play by the same authors, which had starred Thomas Mitchell as Columbo. This in turn had been adapted from the "The Chevy Mystery Show" (1960) episode "Enough Rope", in which Bert Freed originated the role of Columbo Just a bit of info of which you are likely aware.
I bought, as a AMAZON PRIME member, all six seasons of COLUMBO, I was tired of seeing the episodes butchered on BRAVO. Then I was thrilled to see they were also releasing the second generation movies. I "pre-ordered" them immediately(whatever that actually means...you either order them or you don't.
Now, to the substance of the review. Thank you so much for mentioning Shera Danese. She had caught my attention through her natural beauty but also by the fact that I noticed her as an actor. As she became familiar to me through COLUMBO and was delighted to find that she was actually married to Peter Falk (who turned in a wonderful performance in the movie ANZIO if I may add).
You make the following comment, "Many say that this more recent series is "sub-standard,"" adding intuitively..." but I just don't see this, at least with the ones I've seen ." I couldn't agree more and THANK YOU for setting the record straight. I felt that the movies were a step-up from an already fine show. Opening up the show from the very familiar UNIVERSAL lot.
Additionally you mention, "Some argue that the actors are no-names..." and site, among others,
Fisher Stevens, Lindsay Crouse, Robert Foxworth and Fionnula Flanagan. Allow me to add MY comments on these "no names" if I may.
LINDSAY CROUSE once married to David Mamet (his loss) and nominated for an OSCAR for PLACES IN THE HEART 1984. However, please catch her in ICEMAN (1984) for a knockout performance!
ROBERT FOXWORTH first came to my attention in TV's 1970 series STOREFRONT LAWYERS (later MEN AT LAW) and then later in a great movie but failed Gene Roddenberry pilot: THE QUESTOR TAPES (1974) and then considerable fame in FALCON CREST.
FIONNULA FLANAGAN,(are they kidding?), this great Irish star of stage and screen has received three EMMY nominations and one win (RICH MAN, POOR MAN (1976) and currently starring on SHOWTIME'S BROTHERHOOD.
You also mention FISHER STEVENS (not a favorite of mine) but excellent in one of my favorite episodes which was stolen right from under him by a brief appearance of STEVEN HILL as "MR MAROSCO."
In conclusion, (finally!) thank you for all your insightful observations. It was a pleasure reading them and I appreciate the effort you put into preparing them. I certainly look forward to catching up on old and discovering new reviews. I may not agree with them but I promise the discourse will be with a civil tongue.