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October 22, 2014

Peter Falk was the third Columbo

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 24th 2007 7:02PM

Peter FalkMany people know the classic trivia fact that Bing Crosby was approached to star as Lt. Columbo but said no because it would interfere with his golf. And many know that Columbo actually started on stage as a play. Prescription: Murder, the first Columbo movie, was first a stage play, with Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billy in It's A Wonderful Life) as the detective and Joseph Cotten as the murderer. But did you know that there was another version, several years earlier, in 1960? And on television.

The first version was an episode of the anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show. William Link and Richard Levinson wrote an episode entitled "Enough Rope," which is basically Prescription: Murder with a few differences. Columbo was played by Bert Freed (that's him as Columbo on the right).

The episode still exists on kinescope. It might make for a fine extra on one of the Columbo DVD sets. Though I think I can say even without seeing these two other versions that no one could top Falk.

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