Monday, September 16, 2019


Often with my Thursday Theories of Relateeveety, I often turn to ‘Columbo’ and seek out possible family relations for the various characters in the episodes – murderers, victims, and those on the sidelines.

I think it’s time I turned my attention to the main man himself.  And since he would have been 92 today….

First off, big thanks go out to Ted Kerin, who collected all the info about Lt. Columbo’s family for the best Columbo web site out there.

Q. Did Columbo come from a big family?
A. Yes. His mother was in the hospital having a baby "about once a year for a while there" ("Murder Under Glass"). Dinnertime at the Columbo household 
"was like, well, you know, Madison Square Garden." ("Lady In Waiting")

Q. How many brothers and sisters did Columbo have?
A. Five Brothers and one sister. "We were never lonely." 
("Make Me A Perfect Murder")

Q. How many of Columbo's siblings can you name?
A. He has a brother Sal, who taught him to smoke at age 12 ("Strange Bedfellows"). 

He also had an older brother, who was very popular with the girls: Columbo got "an education" by impersonating his older brother on the telephone when the girls called. ("Murder In Malibu") 

I think we can combine all of those references into being about just one of the Lieutenant’s brothers, excluding his younger brother “Baby”, and O’Bviously that would be Salvatore Columbo.  Sal should then be the brother who taught him to smoke cigars, and he was the one who was popular with the girls in school.  Sal Columbo also has a voice that Frank Columbo found easy to imitate and he might have fallen into sounding exactly the same as Sal out of habit... and because of the cigar habit. 

None of those brothers made it into the ‘Columbo’ series – hey, if we weren’t going to meet his wife, it was unlikely we were ever going to meet his brothers nor his sister Mary.

But of course, I’m not bound by the confines of TV series borders when it come to my theories of relateeveety.  Nothing says we have to find any of them (but especially Sal) within an episode of ‘Columbo’.  I looked elsewhere and finally found him right where I expected to – at least as far as location goes.  New York City.

But as far as the TV series…?


[1966: Atop the Empire State Building, a tour guide is showing the latest group around the Observation Deck.]

Here on top of the Empire State Building, you're on the hundredth and second story above the ground level. At a height of one thousand four hundred and seventy three feet. This is the tallest building, the tallest structure in the entire world. Now you'll note, when you come up in the elevator, it took you seven minutes. Well, this way down, you wanna get down in a hurry, it would take you thirty seconds.


Well, of course, we don't recommend that. Now as we gaze out across the panorama. As we gaze out across the imposing panorama of our proud city, you will notice many other notable buildings. Among them the Chrysler Tower, that's one thousand and forty six feet high, and the Chanin Tower, that's six hundred and eighty feet high and already it's threatened with obsolescence.  

Observe also the mighty Hudson river and now if you'll come with me to the north aspect of the building, I will point out many more items of interest.  

And that was that, the scene shifted its attention to one of the stragglers from the tour group named Morton Dill.

Nothing in his speech to the tour group would suggest that he was Columbo’s brother, let alone that he was Salvatore Columbo.  But listen to the way he talks – the raspy quality, the Noo Yawk inflections.  Add to that a similarity in appearance – I’m not saying they’re identical twins but there is a resemblance.

And the actor who played the tour guide, Arne Gordon, was definitely older than Peter Falk.

If you’d like to check out the tour guide “in action”, click on either of these two links below.  You can either watch the full episode or go to about 4:35 into the episode for the beginning of his quick scene.

Just one more thing….

Making this claim that the tour guide and Lt. Columbo are brothers doesn’t harm the integrity within their respective shows.  It’s all a bit of “wish-craft” on my part to curate this illusion that most TV series are connected in some way. 

And thanks to those skilled in photoshopping, we already know Lieutenant Columbo has dealt with the Time Lord known as the Doctor….


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