Yep, definitely an old Peugeot convertible along with his rumpled trench coat. One of my great memories was remembering him and watching my Dad's laughter at this amazing character. I am and will miss them both. BTW, have you ever seen the movie "Murder by Death?" This was Peter Falk at his best. Thank you Neil Simon for bringing us this treat.
I always wondered who the mechanic was who kept that old Peugeot running? Being new to VWs and 50 year old technology at the time, I was constantly on the lookout for just such a person. Happy to report I have found just such a person.
1. His strategy of closing a conversation and then having an afterthought and posing a question to reopen the conversation became, in pharmaceutical selling at least, a part of sales training and, of course, became known as The Columbo Close.
2. Saw Peter Falk one night in San Francisco, I think at the Top of The Mark bar and restaurant during the early 80's. He was accompanied by a beautiful brunette lady about half again as tall as he was and an additional couple. He absolutely commanded the room, conversing with everyone and dancing in the aisles with his lady friend. We left late and he was sril going at it full steam.
Here's a piece I cut and pasted from Wikipedia about Colombo's cars.
Columbo prefers to drive a dirty 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible (which is equipped with a police radio), rather than an official LAPD car while on duty. Peter Falk selected the car personally, after seeing it in a parking lot at Universal Studios. In the show, Columbo boasts that the car is a rare automobile, as it really was: from June 1956 to July 1961 only 2050 were produced, and only 504 were produced for model year 1959. In the episode "Identity Crisis", Columbo tells the murderer that his is one of only three in the country.
Columbo damages the car at least four times: in "Make Me a Perfect Murder" when he t-bones one police car and is hit from behind by another while trying to repair his rear view mirror; in "A Matter of Honor" when he rear-ends another car; in "Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" when it takes him three tries to crash into the killer's car; and in "Old Fashioned Murder" when he crashes into the back of a police car as he arrives at the murder scene. He also has many other problems with the car.
During the show's initial run on NBC, the license number was 044-APD. The car was sold after cancellation of the series, and when the show resurfaced on ABC in 1989 a similar car was found in Ohio, and received a new license plate number, 448-DBZ.
My favorite was one of his early outings. "The price of tomatoes". If I remember correctly it was a play house 90 production. Subsequently, he and Cassavetes did some some solid stuff. Thanks for the recollection.
For many of us older guys, Peter Falk was a kindred soul. Of course, he was an extremely talented actor, who made his profession look easy. But there was something extra.
He portayed many characters, but he always seemed not only approachable, but normal. You felt like he would be good company if you spent time with him. His looks were so ordinary and unremarkable that he gave hope to the rest of us ordinary guys and his success was appreciated by us since he seemed to violate most of Hollywood's mantra regarding the photogenic male lead.
Good on ya, Peter! Maybe we'll have the chance to shoot the breeze someday.
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