Yo-Ho-Ho, the silly season is right around the corner so if you haven’t already started planning your Christmas shopping for the Columbo fan in your life, now’s the time to get serious!
Luckily help is at hand. The Columbo Christmas Gift Guide shines a light on the plethora of options available to surprise and delight the columbophile/s in your inner circle. And if you’re the super-fan desperate for friends and loved ones to get you something you really want this Christmas, do please subtly send this article their way!
Columbo complete series DVD box-set
It goes without saying that any half-serious Columbo fan needs the complete DVD boxset in their life (expecially in those countries where it’s not available on Netflix – i.e. most of the world). Fortunately, this is a gift that comes at a terrific price, is marvellously packaged in a cigar box-style presentation box – and is, quite literally, the gift that keeps on giving. Often available for as little as 30 pounds / $50 in online stores such as Amazon, it’s a steal and should be top of any wishlist! Although I find the whole concept abhorrent, you might find a price drop around Black Friday.
The complete series is also available on Blu-Ray, as an import from Japan, and some seasons have been released on Blu-Ray in 2018 in UK and US as I understand it. Why no widespread Blu-Ray release? Over to you, Universal…
Diadora N9000 Columbo trainers
Just about the coolest kicks I’ve ever seen, Diadora’s N9000 Columbo trainers of 2017 pay a wonderful homage to Lieutenant Columbo. The colour scheme reflects Columbo’s own wardrobe, while the neat little touches of a print of Dog on the tongue and insole, and the 044 APD licence plate number on the right heel make the heart sing!
I adore them so much that I’m hurt and saddened Diadora didn’t seek me out to send me a pair. Don’t they know who I am…? Nevertheless, I bounced back from this snub in fine style and am now the proud owner of a pair. Prices vary depending on where you live, but I got a pair delivered to my home for approx US$100. I consider that a very reasonable price.
Nothing nails your Columbo colours to the mast quite like striding out in a t-shirt adorned by the Lieutenant’s likeness and catchphrases. US TV station MeTV has a nice little selection available to buy online with prices starting from $19.95. Have a peep here!
RedBubble also has a range, but they turned down the chance to offer readers of this blog a discount on their wares, so let your heart guide you on where you’d prefer to shop…
1. A Christmas Killing
The little-known but officially sanctioned original mystery novel of the 1970s can be picked up reasonably easily on eBay or Amazon (although prices can vary quite a lot), and would make for a delightfully seasonal addition to any fan’s book shelf. Never heard of it? Read all about it here!
2. Cooking with Columbo
Released in early 2018, Cooking with Columbo is the handiwork of Columbo superfan Jenny Hammerton, an avid collector of celebrity recipes, who has compiled this splendid collection of Columbo stars’ favourite recipes!
Featuring recipes from the likes of Peter Falk, Vincent Price, Johnny Cash, Robert Conrad, Trish Van Devere, Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh, there’s inspiration enough to create sensational dinners for one right through to opulent banquets and house parties – including enough chilli variations to keep purists happy (although no squirrel variation recipe makes the cut).
3. Just One More Thing – the official Peter Falk autobiography
Peter Falk’s autobiography Just One More Thing is an absolutely lovely read. There’s plenty of recollections of Columbo, naturally, but the tales of his life are extremely interesting.
Plus it’s written in such a style that it’s almost as if Peter himself is narrating it straight to you. It’s easy to find online and not expensive. So grab a copy NOW!
4. The Columbo Collection
Penned by no less a luminary than character co-creator William Link, this collection of original short stories was released in 2010 and would doubtless tickle the ribs of any Columbo afficianado.
One could argue that some of the stories are a little too short to really make the most of the Lieutenant’s mental faculties, and there are some pretty blatant call backs to the original mysteries, but it’s Columbo written by William Link – so get ‘im, tiger!
It’s inexpensive and easy to find online, so buy with confidence!
5. The Columbo Phile
Now out of print, TV critic Mark Dawidziak’s seminal The Columbo Phile is a real collector’s item and the Holy Grail of Columbo reading.
Released in 1989, it features Mark’s reviews of every episode and season from the original run, as well as behind-the-scenes input from Peter Falk, Levinson and Link, and a range of guest stars, including Patrick McGoohan, Roddy McDowall, Theo Bikel, Susan Clark and many more.
It can be quite expensive (I paid 80 British pounds for a copy some years back), but is worth every penny. It’s the one book every serious Columbo fan should own. Read more about it here!
6. Beyond Columbo: The Life and Times of Peter Falk
A new biography of Peter Falk, Beyond Columbo was written by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes and released in mid-2017. This is the first biography of Peter Falk to hit shelves and it’s a comprehensive read, weighing in at over 400 pages.
At times a real eye-opener, and there’s plenty of info about Peter’s private life and his otherwise wicked ways with women. The guy was not a saint, and this section of the book may shock ardent fans. Nevertheless, there’s loads to interest Columbo fans and it’s available on Kindle and as a paperback on Amazon.
I’m not going to list all the places you can find cool Columbo goodies online, but it’s easy to find everything from wall clocks, prints, mugs, iPhone covers, messenger bags and much more if you have a good Google around. I’ve included some particularly nice designs above for reference (Great Santini bag? Yessssss), but there’s no shortage of choice.
Columbo board game
An item that surprises and delights many fans just to know it exists, the Columbo Detective Game game dates back to 1973 and is pretty easy to find on eBay or Amazon without breaking the bank. A variation on classic board games Why and Cluedo, it really is fun for the whole family. Not sure about the box artwork, mind you. Either Milton Bradley didn’t obtain Falk’s image rights, or they got a talentless work experience lad to knock it together one lunchtime…
Columbo movie posters
Some of my most cherished possessions are my range of genuine Italian movie posters for a selection of Columbo episodes released in the county in the mid-70s. With stunning illustrations and vivid colours, they’re truly striking artworks in their own right, and guaranteed conversation starters.
There are several variations available for some episodes, and while prices can vary, you can pick up a great quality piece of memorabilia for well under $100. Search eBay for: Riscatto per un Uomo Morto (Ransom for a Dead Man); Concerto Con Delitto (Etude in Black); Scacco Matto A Scotland Yard (Dagger of the Mind) and Un Amico Da Salvare (A Friend in Deed) and you might get lucky!
“With stunning illustrations and vivid colours, the Columbo movie posters are striking artworks in their own right, and guaranteed conversation starters.”
So, what’s on your personal Columbo Christmas wishlist? And are there any gems out there that I might have missed that you could suggest? Leave a comment below – and happy hunting!