Our Day At "The
This souvenir badge was handed out to the audience members on the day
The debut of "Columbo: Ashes To Ashes" was an
exciting event for all "Columbo" fans, and Peter Falk's pre-show publicity tour
gave us some rare
and memorable moments.
Televised footage on various shows included Peter Falk sketching women in his studio,
displaying the ragged remains of Columbo's original raincoat, and with wife Shera, feeding
fish food to one of their 5 dogs, Lucchia.
But it was Mr. Falk's appearance on ABC's "The View" that brought major
excitement to a number of folks from The Ultimate Columbo Site who were specially invited
to attend this live broadcast.
We met at the ABC studio in Manhattan, where an assistant producer ushered
five of us to the front of the queue and then assigned us questions which we
would be asking Peter Falk. After being assured that we would not be hit with
stagefright in front of 10 million viewers, we were ushered to the sound stage
and assigned to strategically placed seats. This would allow Debbie Matenopoulos, one of
the co-hosts, to access us easily. The rest of the audience was then allowed to fill the
seats around us.
One funny sidenote: Later, during a commercial break, a stage hand approached us to be
sure we were prepared. She also mistakenly approached one fan, who was not part of our
group, and told her to be ready to ask Peter Falk her assigned question. The stage hand
then walked away. The poor, mortified fan, who had no idea that certain people had been
prepped for questioning, turned to her friends in panic and cried, "WE HAVE TO SAY
We immediately squelched her fears.
All audience members were given special edition "Ashes To Ashes" buttons, which
we exclusively show here. We were also handed Tootsie Pops, and a stage hand mentioned
that this was because Columbo would no longer be
smoking in future episodes. A check with the Columbo Office the next day
proved that rumor false.
Ted Kerin distinguished himself as biggest fool in the crowd by showing up
dressed completely like Columbo (he still claims it was the producer's idea), and he was
called down to the stage during audience warm-up to improvise something. Ted performed his
perfectly awful Columbo impression, waving and nodding much like Columbo walking to the
stage in "Now You See Him," and the audience was in a good enough mood to greet
this with laughter.
Peter Falk made his entrance from the back of the theatre, through the audience, and was
mobbed by so many kissy women and hand-shakers that he was nearly hurled down the
stairs on live television. He deftly recovered, but two of us were able to use
this opportunity to reach out and grab Peter's arm, under the guise of lending
counter-support againt the crush of well-wishers. The writer of the "classic
Columbo" script that we have been mentioning on this site was one of those people,
and he hopes that this selfless act results in his story being
sold "pronto". (As you can see, he is a very imaginative, fiction writer.)
Barbara Walters conducted the interview with Peter, confessing she's a huge
fan of his work, especially "Columbo", and that she has actually
purchased all the videos. She asked whether the Columbo character was really Peter
Falk, and Peter replied, "Well, I'm just as sloppy as he is, ...but I'm not nearly as
Peter wore his Columbo outfit for the occasion, and chatted about a wide variety
of topics. He talked about his Oscar night mishap when, nominated for his role
in "Murder, Inc.," he excitedly rose to accept as the academy award was
announced for "Peter.......Ustinov!"
And everyone especially enjoyed his hilarious baseball story, about removing his
artificial eye and handing it to a bad umpire. Falk was just as charming as his
most famous character, getting wild cheers and applause throughout from a nearly
Then it was time for audience participation.
Kathleen O'Regan, a longtime fan and website visitor, was one of two audience members
who got to ask Mr. Falk questions on live TV. Summoning her courage, Kathleen
brought down the house when she said to Peter, "I think you're extremely attractive
and I find you very, very sexy, and I wonder if a lot of other women feel exactly the same
way about you."
This brought an explosion of hoots and cheers from the audience, not to mention Barbara
Walters who stood up and pointed to herself with both hands. Peter, with perfect comic
timing, then asked for Kathleen's phone number.
Ted Kerin was up next, momentarily startling the panel with his Columbo costume. Co-host
Debbie Matenopoulos, dubiously studying Ted's outfit,
warned Peter Falk: "He's basically YOU."
Ted tactfully ignored Debbie's next remark ("Are you a stalker??"), while Peter
Falk raised his eyebrows and said, "Lookit this guy!"
When Ted asked, "If you hadn't become an actor, is there anything else you'd
want to be?", Peter replied, "Well,...if I hadn't been an actor, I
probably woulda been a box-boy at Food Giant." Host Meredith Vieira took this
as her cue to suggest that Peter could have been an artist, displaying one of his
beautiful girl drawings which drew applause.
And then it was over. It was a memorable day that none of the participants will soon
Peter Falk's most quotable quote: "Being chased by Columbo is like being nibbled to
death by a duck."
Click here to see a RealVideo clip of Our Day At "The View"