Friday, June 24, 2011

Peter Falk dies at age 83

I was saddened to learn this morning that actor Peter Falk had passed away. Of course he will always be remembered as the rumpled raincoat clad detective Lt. Columbo. That show was one of four detective series rotated every sunday night during the "NBC Sunday Mystery Movie" in the early to mid-70's. I watching the rundown just about every I'm reminded of the fact that out of the four original sleuths, my Mom always hated Hec Ramsey. I can hear her saying, 'oh, I can't stand that Hec Ramsey! He's just so dirty looking."

Falk had a very lucrative movie career as well, with roles in films I grew up with like "The Great Race", "Murder by Death", "The Cheap Detective", "The Brink's Job" and "The Princess Bride". But the one movie I connect him with the most after his role as TV's Lt. Columbo is Vince Ricardo in the 1979's "The In-Laws". His loose cannon CIA agent was so well teamed with Alan Arkin's New York City dentist Sheldon Kornpett in this screwball comedy that's absolutely one of my favorite movies of all time.

Here is the original 1971 opening for the "NBC Sunday Mystery Movie" that was an umbrella for "Columbo", "McCloud", "McMillan & Wife" and "Hec Ramsey".

And here is one of Peter Falk's funniest and most iconic scenes from "The In-Laws".


At June 24, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Anonymous Allen said...

God bless Peter Falk, four Emmys and two Oscar noms, great talent.

I must confess I do not remember Hec Ramsey. Banacek, McCloud, Columbo and McMillan & Wife (and later Quincy) were the shows I watched.

At June 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

Banacek and Quincy were definitely a later edition to the rotating roster. This was definitely a great testing ground for potential regular series, especially Quincy.

One person on YouTube wrote that shows were so well done back then and today they're mostly crap. In a lot of ways I agree with him.

At June 25, 2011 at 5:59 AM, Anonymous Allen said...

Back then they would nurture a show, let it grow on an audience and also find an audience. It had to do pretty darn bad in the ratings before it was cancelled.

They also had the benefit of less competition. Basic and premium cable have made it so hard for anyone to produce one good show let alone a rotating line-up of FOUR really good shows!

And another thought, we would watch these shows with our parents right? Between all the sex, violence and language I'll be hard pressed to find a show that I would be able to share with (future) Maddy.

At June 26, 2011 at 12:01 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

That is so very true about shows being nurtured back then. There were a number of shows given more than enough time to find their airwave legs that probably wouldn't even make it two weeks today.

And the competition is absolutely more harsh these days what with all the cable networks and shows that litter cable TV. Before cable (or even right near the beginning), series were not disposable like now. There were some really iconic elements that continue to be the blueprint for television production today. But it's harder to find stand alone front-runners with such a loaded field. Not like back in the day when the three networks ruled.

Yes, I absolutely watched my favorite shows with my parents. More my Dad than Mom. Definitely agree that it's harder to find something to pass on to children with all the extreme elements today. It seems like family films are the only thing that comes close to middle ground viewing.


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