This gentleman is from out of town.
He says he knows you.
How are you?
Glad to see you again.
The Great Santini:
The greatest wire act, he and his brother.
You should have seen them.
How is he?
Well, he's still working.
I gave the act up.
I got a little bit too old Mr. Santini.
"NOW YOU SEE HIM"
Actor Mike Lally was like a lucky charm for the TV show 'Columbo', appearing in 24 episodes of the series. Usually he played small roles in the background; some of them could be assumed to be the same man, especially his police detective/photographers.
His biggest role on the show was actually as himself, but the televersion. Lally might have been an actor in the Real World, but in Toobworld, Mike Lally had been a member of a high-wire act in his younger years.
By the time we met his "televersion", Lally was broken-down, living in a shabby SRO in Los Angeles. And it looked like he spent most of his days on his bed in his bathrobe, drinking.
(It was probably drink which led to the end of his career on the high-wire. Some days he would hang out in Skid Row, drinking right out there on the street. That's how he first met Columbo during the Galesko murder investigation, although neither one remembered the encounter.*)
(As it turned out, Santini was going by the name "Washington" in those days. In response to Lt. Columbo's follow-up question, Santini sarcastically replied that his first name was "Martha.")
Unfortunately for Santini, Columbo was also in the Magic Caste audience that same night as Mike Lally. The detective tracked down the former trapeze artist in order to get some information on Santini's background, learning enough to realize that his real identity was still shrouded in secrecy - and that it could be the key to the solution of his murder investigation.
Playing himself, and yet not himself, in Toobworld puts Mike Lally in a select group of "televersions" Others who had different lives in the Television Universe would include:
- DENNIS RODMAN - an extra-terrestrial ('3rd Rock From The Sun')
- WILLY MAYS - a warlock ('Bewitched')
- EMMA THOMPSON - born and raised in Akron, Ohio ('Ellen')
- JULIANNE MOORE - shot in the stomach by an arrow ('Nightcap')
- DICK VAN PATTEN - died years before he actually died ('Cybil')
- BO DEREK - an evil spy ('Chuck')
At any rate, on the occasion of the 118th anniversary of his birth, I'm tipping my Toob topper to the memory of Mike Lally - not the actor, but the aerialist....
*Remember - this is the televersion of Mike Lally, not the actual man. It's just a role he was playing.