6 little details you never noticed in Columbo ''Double Exposure''
Robert Culp sure loved that green blazer.
Lt. Columbo's brilliance was picking up on all the little details — while not letting suspects know he was picking up on all the little details. We're here to help you do the same.
"Double Exposure" is a delightful third-season mystery from Columbo, which originally aired right before Christmas in 1973. Well, we've unwrapped some fun trivia from this episode that will delight you.
1. Robert Culp wore this green blazer every time he played a 'Columbo' killer.
"Double Exposure" was Robert Culp's third time portraying the killer on Columbo. He appeared in each of the first three seasons. By the point that this aired, during the holiday season of 1973, no actor had played a killer more than once. Culp must have relished his chances to murder on Columbo — as much as he loved this green blazer. His character sports the jacket as he takes a drink in "Double Exposure." He also paired the look with a mustache in "The Most Crucial Game," and first modeled the sportscoat in "Death Lends a Hand." Note the distinctive buttons.
2. This photographer was the voice of Brainy Smurf.
Danny Goldman shows up late in the mystery as "Press Photographer." (Though, Columbo calls him "Milt.") The actor might be most recognizable as a nerdy medical student in Young Frankenstein, but his biggest role was voicing Brainy Smurf (not to mention King Smurf) in more than 200 episodes of The Smurfs cartoon in the 1980s.
3. Arlene Martel was entirely cut from the episode.
Star Trek fans will recognize Arlene Martel as T'Pring, the Vulcan who was "bonded" to Spock in the standout episode "Amok Time." Columbo fans will recognize her as… well, nobody at all. Martel (billed "Martell") played Tayna Baker in the episode, but her role was cut entirely from the mystery. Her character's name does come up in conversation, however, which we'll get to below.
4. The Magnolia Theatre had recently hosted the premiere of 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes'.
Located on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, California, the Magnolia offered movies for $2.50 — or just $1 for weekday matinees, as you can see for High Plains Drifter here in "Double Exposure." The episode was filmed in 1973, not long after Battle for the Planet of the Apes premiered in the moviehouse on April 28, 1973. The joint did not typically host Hollywood premieres, but this was the fifth Apes film, after all. According to the Bijou Memories blog, the Magnolia was the only theater in Burbank and Glendale to allow smoking in the auditorium. In the back rows only. The seat arms even had little ashtrays instead of cupholders. Those were the 1970s, kids.
5. Stephen J. Cannell recycled the name "Tanya Baker".
Stephen J. Cannell created hit series such as The Rockford Files, The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, 21 Jump Street and The Commish. Few in television history were better at crafting crime tales with a comedic touch. Cannell wrote "Double Exposure," which featured the aforementioned (left on the cutting-room floor) character "Tanya Baker." Funny, his script for the premiere episode of The Rockford Files, 1974's "The Kirkoff Case," centered around a "Tawnia Baker," played by Julie Sommars. What did the name mean to him? Perhaps a clue lies in his mother, Carolyn, whose maiden name was "Baker."
6. Chuck McCann's character was an inside joke.
Chuck McCann delighted Seventies kids on the goofy Far Out Space Nuts, a Sid and Marty Krofft show that paired him with Bob Denver (a.k.a. Gilligan). In "Double Exposure," he played a projectionist. What's the joke? In 1970, McCann had starred in a movie called The Projectionist. Yes, he played the projectionist in that, a man who dreams of becoming a hero like in the movies he shows. It also happened to be the screen debut of Rodney Dangerfield. He should have talked to Arlene Martel about getting respect.