Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here is a frame grab from Frank Capra's last movie, "Pocketful of Miracles", in which Peter Falk and Thomas Mitchell share the screen.

Mitchell played Lt. Columbo in a Broadway-bound play by Levinson & Link called "Prescription Murder" (with Joseph Cotton as the killer). Sadly, the great character actor died while on tour with the show, before it ever could open on Broadway. "Columbo" was his last character.

"Prescription Murder" was later broadcast live as an episode of 'Suspense'. It ran only an hour, and there were changes made, especially to the ending. This time it was entitled "Enough Rope" and starred Richard Carlson as Dr. Flemming with Bert Freed as Columbo.

Of course, Peter Falk was the second person to play 'Columbo' on TV and he is the actor we will forever identify in the role. His first appearance was in "Prescription Murder" with Gene Barry playing the murderous psychiatrist.

In the last few days, I've found another picture that reminded me of that first picture with Falk and Mitchell. Here is Dick Powell and David Janssen in a publicity pose for 'Richard Diamond'. Powell played the role on radio, but declined to make the transfer to TV. As one of its producers, Powell had a hand in the selection of Janssen to take over the role for Toobworld.

If I ever get around to working out the plotline for a third Toobworld novel, several of my characters will meet their counterparts from other universes based on Mankind's creative imagination. (For example - Thom Cooper and his wife Maggie will come face to face with their doppelgangers from the Rock 'N' Roll Universe, Tommy and Maggie May.)

Anyway, wouldn't it have been cool to see more of an interaction between Peter Falk and Thomas Mitchell during an episode of 'Columbo'? Falk loved the chance to "play" in his scenes with certain actors, and I think Mitchell's over-the-top bravura could have kept him entertained as much as Vito Scotti did in his scenes with Falk.....

Toby OB

(My thanks to this fantastic Columbo site for the pictures of Mitchell and Freed as Columbo.)

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