COLUMBO -- The Complete Third Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jeff#, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I just found the 3rd season of Columbo (1973-1974) in Walmart today for $30.64, and didn't hesitate to buy it.

    Unlike the release of the first 2 years, this edition of that season's 8 episodes actually has a bonus which in itself is uncommon for Universal TV show collections: It includes the Mrs. Columbo episode "Death is a Parlor Game" from March 1979.

    This is a clever move on Universal's part, because there aren't that many episodes of Kate Mulgrew's first prime-time series. Just as Mrs. Columbo never appeared on the original Columbo (or even Falk's sequel series years later), don't look for Peter Falk on the spinoff either. I hope additional episodes turn up in future Columbo sets, rather than Mrs. Columbo being released on its own. The episode with another future Star Trek spinoff star (Rene Auberjonois) was the most clever story that series presented, in which Kate Columbo uses a videotape as evidence to trap the murderer!

    In its original run, the producers realized that calling the show "Mrs. Columbo" was a mistake so they had her divorce (!!) the LAPD Lieutenant offscreen and in that show's second season (later 1979) she used her maiden name Callahan. The series was retitled "Kate Loves a Mystery". It never made it into 1980, and it would be at the end of that decade when Peter Falk returned to the role that made him famous in an excellent (and equally successful) sequel series of occasional 2 hour movie specials on ABC. He would continue to play that character well into his 70s until 2002.
     
  2. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Here's a decent Columbo episode guide - if anyone's interested. [​IMG]

    I'm watching through season 3 right now. Columbo always cheers me up, so Universal can't release the rest of this series fast enough! [​IMG]

    As for season 3, I'm not happy about having flipper discs - nor adding an ep of Mrs Columbo onto one of them, thereby compromising bitrate. However, I'm very pleased with the transfer quality - apart from a bit of film dirt, the picture looks excellent. [​IMG]

    Now when are we going to get some real extras - particularly a Falk or a McGoohan commentary?[/hopeful]
     
  3. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

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    I never heard of Mrs. Columbo before. That's interesting. Is the spinoff considered canon? I don't remember Columbo ever mentioning a divorce.
     
  4. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Columbo never mentioned a divorce. It was Kate Columbo who did in her own show. The spinoff is disregarded by a lot of fans, but I thought it was mildly likeable in its own right.

    Somehow it seemed illogical that Kate - a newspaper reporter, would investigate crimes on her own but she did. Elderly actor Henry Jones played her editor, Josh Alden. Underage daughter Lily was regularly seen. But since her daddy was always out of the house on a case, we only saw the two of them in scenes at home. When Kate became single again, the producers also decided to give her a visible contact on the LAPD in the second season: Detective Mike Garrick played by Don Stroud.

    Mrs. Columbo aired along with other short-lived Universal series from the 1970s in a syndicated offering years ago. The other rotation shows included the Jim Hutton version of Ellery Queen and Judd Hirsch's first series, a well-done cop show called Delvecchio, which co-starred future Hill St. Blues actors Michael Conrad and Charles Haid. I first saw it on WGBS Channel 57 from Philadelphia, a station which went out of business years ago.

    Lt. Columbo continued to mention his wife throughout the 1990s / early 00s series as well. It's almost as if the divorce never happened....unless the man remarried. [​IMG]
     
  5. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Nothing is compromised because Universal probably felt it was more economical to make these discs double-sided instead of single-sided as before to save money.

    So it made sense to put the 1 hour Mrs. Columbo on one of the discs. What's more, that episode "Death is a Parlor Game" guest stars Donald Pleasance, who is also in one of the Columbo episodes "Any Old Port in a Storm" in this same set.
     
  6. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Yeah, but it's squeezed in with two regular Columbo episodes. I've now watched those two eps on disc 2 side A (I'll watch the Mrs Columbo ep later today), and the picture quality isn't as good at the previous ones: more ringing due (I presume) to a smaller bitrate. They're still very watchable, but it might have made more sense to add Mrs Columbo to seasons 4 & 5, which have fewer eps.

    OTOH, as you pointed out, it's nice to have the Donald Pleasance tie-in. He was such a good actor. [​IMG]
     

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