Can you tell the difference between Columbo’s very first TV appearance in 1960 and Peter Falk’s first time as Columbo in 1968?

Lt. Columbo appeared on TV years before Peter Falk made him into a household name.

Thanks to MeTV fan Jeremy Price from Saginaw, Michigan, for submitting this quiz idea. Do you have a great idea for a quiz? Share it with us!

Detectives with a few strange quirks but unquestionable skill have always been a popular part of entertainment since the first Sherlock Holmes stories were published in the 1800s. Detective Columbo is an iconic piece of that legacy continued by idiosyncratic investigators like Adrian Monk.

Though Peter Falk is the only Columbo many fans know, he wasn’t the first — or even second — person to play the role. Character actor Bert Freed played the disheveled detective in his first onscreen appearance in 1960. Written by Richard Levinson and William Link, the eventual creators of Columbo, the story “Enough Rope” was broadcast live and in color — if you were one of the lucky few to own a color TV.

Levinson and Link actually wrote for this particular program because a writer’s strike at the time forbid them from creating for anything except live television. The nature of the broadcast allowed them to easily adapt the script into a stage play called Prescription: Murder starring Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billy from It’s a Wonderful Life) as Columbo. Levinson and Link then used that script and title as the basis for a 1968 TV movie starring Peter Falk and the rest is history!

Though the 1968 “Prescription: Murder” and “Enough Rope” share many plot points and names, there are also key differences. We’ve compiled a list of statements about each version of Lt. Columbo. Can you guess which one each clue describes?

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  1. This version is an hour long.
  2. The killer, named Dr. Fleming in both, is played by Gene Barry in this version.
  3. In this version, Dr. Fleming is a psychologist – not a psychiatrist.
  4. In this version, Dr. Fleming psychoanalyzes Columbo while they both drink bourbon.
  5. Dr. Fleming is having an affair with a woman named Susan in this version.
  6. Dr. Fleming and his girlfriend stage a fight on an airplane to create an alibi. In this version, they are not only seen by strangers but also a friend.
  7. Columbo pretends Dr. Fleming’s girlfriend drowned at the end of this version.
  8. The actress who played the murdered Mrs. Fleming in this version was also Sgt. Carter’s girlfriend, Bunny, in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
  9. Because of the unique focus on the person perpetrating the crime as much if not more than the person solving it, the actor who played Lt. Columbo in this version received second-to-last billing in the credits.
  10. This version was not originally part of any series and was produced as a standalone television movie.

Can you tell the difference between Columbo’s very first TV appearance in 1960 and Peter Falk’s first time as Columbo in 1968?

Your Result...

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cheryl1725 8 days ago
Peter Falk was a gem. He fit the role of Columbo just right. I'm hoping that Columbo is never remade. It would be wrong.
LH 1 month ago
10/10 !! I never saw Enough Rope. But Prescription Murder was probably one of my favorite Colombo episodes and saw it many times 😁
Andybandit 1 month ago
I got 4/10. I got #6, 7, 9 and 10 right. The quiz was hard for me. Oh just one more thing.
Moriyah 1 month ago
4/10! At least Gomer Pyle was mentioned in it, right?!
Moody 1 month ago
6/10. I really didn't know any of these so I just picked "Enough Rope" for every question. It came out ok, right?
robyni23 1 month ago
You got 9 out of 10
Were you able to solve all the mysteries in this quiz?
Missed #6 and I'm not sure it's correct.
frenchman71 1 month ago
7/10. I thought "Columbo" was part of the Sunday Mystery Movie on NBC along with McCloud, McMillan & Wife.
Moverfan frenchman71 1 month ago
In the early/mid seventies, yes--but not in 1968.
birddog 1 month ago
7/10 Do you mind if I smoke? Yes I Quit!!
sputnik_57 1 month ago
10/10 I've never seen Enough Rope but was familiar enough with PM to get it. (a couple were guesses).
Also, the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode Dear Uncle George (1963) is very similar to Prescription Murder...Gene Barry is the murderer, the apartment appears to be the same, his wife is named Louise, etc... Levinson and Link wrote both them. This has been commented on before.
I haven't been able to find any online video of Enough Rope...anyone else know where it may be...?
cperrynaples sputnik_57 1 month ago
It's on YouTube, look up "classic Columbo"!
Peter_Falk_Fan 1 month ago
10/10 Peter Falk is the only Lt. Columbo to me.
Rob 1 month ago
I got 4/10. I don’t do well on these fan made quizzes.
justjeff 1 month ago
5 out of 10. Just one more thing... I'm *not* a devout Columbo fan... I just enjoy the show on occasion.
Moriyah 1 month ago
Are there certain requirements for making a fan made quiz? (Let me know)
Moriyah Moriyah 1 month ago
Hello? Why is nobody answering me?
LoveMETV22 Moriyah 1 month ago
Doesn't look like there are certain requirements for fan made quizzes. All the fan made quizzes have the " Do you have a great idea for a quiz? Share it with us! (The Share it with us! link highlighted in blue). Takes you to the Contact Page. But you probably already knew that.
Moriyah LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Yeah, I'm actually making one right now! Let's just hope they actually post it on here!
LoveMETV22 Moriyah 1 month ago
I have my fingers crossed for you. You are the definition of true fan when it comes to Gomer Pyle. I and I hope others that know your enthusiasm on anything Gomer share the same.
Moriyah LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Yes, me too! And thank you!
daDoctah 1 month ago
Also prior to "Prescription: Murder" was the movie "Penelope" in which Peter Falk plays a detective who seems to know who the guilty party is (the viewer knows because we see both the crime and subsequent admissions to a third party) but keeps bothering them until they finally confess.
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