We are all familiar with Lt. Columbo’s rumpled overcoat and the 1959 Peuget convertible he drove instead of a LAPD police car. Do you remember when Mrs. Columbo gave him a new raincoat for his birthday in “Now You See Him” He said he could not think with the new coat and was actually trying to lose it Finally he did, and was able to go back to wearing his old coat.
Are we familiar with some of his family members?
Often Columbo mentions Mrs. Columbo. I don’t think we ever really saw her. In the episode “Rest In Peace, Mrs Columbo” we saw photos said to be of his wife. However, at the end of the show it was revealed to the killer that the photos were of someone else and not of Mrs. Columbo at all. In a couple of other shows it was revealed that Mrs. Columbo’s favorite music was Madame Butterfly and that she also loved Chopin. Family celebrations were said to be very important to Mrs. Columbo who cared deeply about her family. She also was quite busy with her Church, volunteered at the hospital, helped her sister with her children and walked the family dog.
Columbo himself was born and raised near Chinatown. It is said he grew up eating as much Chinese food as Italian. The Columbo household consisted of his grandfather, parents, 5 brothers and a sister. Columbo was one of the middle children. Both Columbo’s father and mother were Italian. Columbo’s father never made more than $5,00 per year. He wore glasses, loved Reggiano cheese and taught his son to play pool. Columbo’s mother liked books and got very upset if any of the children folded down a page corner. Grandfather is said to have made wine in the basement and would let Columbo stomp the grapes. As a younger man grandfather worked as a tail gunner on a beer truck during Probation.
We know Mrs. Columbo had a least one brother George who was short and at one time owned an auto repair shop in the Valley. We aren’t sure if she had other brothers or if George held many jobs. In “Case of Immunity” a brother of Mrs. Columbo was a waiter, in “Blueprint for Murder” a brother was an attorney and in”Dagger of the Mind” a brother was in the National Guard. Did George do all this? Doubt it, but who knows. Mrs. Columbo had several sisters, at least three, Rachael, Ruth and Rita. She also had several nieces and nephews and cousins.
We can’t really be sure if Mr. and Mrs. Columbo had children. In Rest In Peace Mrs. Columbo he said they never had any children. In several other shows he mentioned that his wife complained about the ice cream man coming at dinnertime and spoiling the child’s appetite. In another show he needed a babysitter. In still another show he says he went on a picnic with his wife and kid. Maybe in the beginning of the shows he and the Mrs. had no children and then as the years go by the had a family.
Whatever the family situations, the Columbo shows offered us many hours of pleasure. We all enjoyed his ability to outfox the criminals who thought because of his appearance and bumbling ways he was stupid.. They didn’t give him any credit for his intelligence until it was too late and he’d caught them.
There was a later spin off of the Columbo show called Mrs. Columbo in 1979-1980. In this TV show her first name was Kate . The show did refer to the fact that her husband was a police lieutenant, but Columbo was never seen. The program was not very well received and only lasted 13 episodes. A couple other shows were tried as spin offs of the Mrs Columbo show, but non were successful.