Columbo walked right by Jim Rockford's trailer home and you probably missed it

A familiar Rockford Files face even shows up in the episode.

The Seventies gave us some eventful television crossovers. Charlie's Angels boarded The Love Boat. Barnaby Jones buddied up with Cannon for "The Deadly Conspiracy." The Six Million Dollar Man fused circuits with The Bionic Woman. Heck, even Mannix got tangled up (literally) with Lucy in "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage."

But those shows were related in some way, spin-offs and parents, sharing a creator. It's tantalizing to think about the crossovers we didn't get to see. Private investigator Jim Rockford (James Garner) and homicide detective Lt. Columbo both operated in Los Angeles at the same time. They were on the same network, NBC. It makes sense that a case could have brought them together.

Alas, the Rockford Files / Columbo crossover never happened. Well, not officially. Because Columbo happened to stroll right by Rockford's "house."

"An Exercise in Fatality" kicked off the fourth season of Columbo. The rugged Robert Conrad played the owner of a health club chain who killed one of his franchisees. The former Wild Wild West star sports tracksuits and a deep tan. His character, Milo Janus, enjoys a brisk swim in the Pacific Ocean.

In fact, Columbo goes to meet Janus at the beach. Janus wears nothing but red trunks. Columbo, naturally, stomps through the sand in his raincoat and slacks. 

But take a close look at the location of their meeting. Columbo parks next to an oceanside restaurant and walks to the water, waving at Janus. Does the building seem familiar?

That restaurant is none other than the Paradise Cove Beach Café, where Jim Rockford parked his trailer home in the parking lot. The establishment sits at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

And here's another fun coincidence: "An Exercise in Fatality" originally aired on September 15, 174 — two days after the series premiere of The Rockford Files on September 13, 1974. There is one caveat. In early episodes of The Rockford Files, Jim kept his trailer at the Tonga Lei Restaurant & Lounge, a few miles east in Malibu at 22878 Pacific Coast Highway. Still, it's cool to see the familiar stomping grounds on another crime show.

Oh, and that is not the only mystery series to visit the Paradise Cove parking lot. Check out this shot from "Keep the Home Fries Burning," a season-two tale of Murder, She Wrote.

NBCUniversal TelevisionParadise Cove Beach Cafe in 'Murder, She Wrote'

Hey, that's not Maine!

Wait. There is one more curious connection between this Columbo episode and The Rockford Files. "An Exercise in Fatality" features Gretchen Corbett as a whipsmart secretary.

NBC Universal TelevisionCorbett met both Columbo and Rockford.

A handful of days later, Corbett would make her debut on The Rockford Files as Beth Davenport in "The Dark and Bloody Ground." Her attorney character would become a fan-favorite over 33 episodes of the series.

The only thing missing is a gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit.

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BuzzWilson 44 months ago
I really miss seeing Rockford Files on Me-TV. I also miss the Sundays that had all of the detective shows on it such as Streets of San Francisco, Kojak, Rockford Files, then ending with Colombo. 7 hours of non-stop great TV!

Unfortunately, I am not up always in the middle of the night. But when I am, I love watching Mannix, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Highway Patrol, and the 1967 Dragnet. These are all such great TV shows, but why must you air them in the middle of the night???
MikefromJersey BuzzWilson 6 months ago
MeTV+ runs Streets of San Francisco, but only the first three seasons! WHY?
Which genius member of the MeTV family brain trust decided on that?
Showing so few episodes over and over instead of five seasons worth drives away
fans after they have seen years 1 thru 3, repeatedly, like me!
There are lots of in jokes in the series, like one of the coppers sporting Karl Malden's
birth name.
ThomasPotter BuzzWilson 4 months ago
you could always DVR them and they will be ready for you when you wake up.
Wiseguy 45 months ago
You're missing the most obvious connection between Rockford and Columbo (and Murder, She Wrote): They were all Universal series. It is not at all unusual to see different series from the same studio share the same sets...and actors, as mentioned here in several comments about sitcoms from the same studios. I believe Sharon Gless was the last Universal contract player. She guest-starred on just about every Universal series through the 1970s as well as starring in at least two, Switch and Turnabout.
If you really want to see an extreme example check the guest list for the Desilu/Paramount series Star Trek and Mission: Impossible (and to a lesser extent, Mannix) for repeated appearances, from major stars (e.g. Ricardo Montalban, William Windom and even George Takei during Star Trek's first season) to bit players. Some Mission: Impossible episodes have two or three recognizable Star Trek actors.
iloveoldtvshows 45 months ago
Metv is a suggestion for the fall schedule, drop mash and put mission impossible on at six instead in the middle of night on sunday
MikefromJersey 45 months ago
In the late 60's Garner made a movie using that exact Paradise Cove location. I haven't seen it in 30 years, so I don't recall the title.
The one I had in mind had a killer doggie and Garner was a small town police chief.
For a small budget flick it had a unusually large cast of stars in supporting roles.
When I mention it to people no one seems to recall it. Can anyone please tell me it's title?
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Mavsfan121 MikefromJersey 17 months ago
They Only Kill Their Masters
Cobaltqube MikefromJersey 6 months ago
You are thinking of “They only kill their masters” and it was actually filmed on the old MGM Backlot right before the property was sold. 165 acres of land along the pacific. Look at trivia for film in IMDB and there is more info.
Cobaltqube Cobaltqube 6 months ago
JamesB 45 months ago
"An Exercise in Fatality" is one of my favorite Columbo episodes. It's even better from the Rockford connection.
Edward 45 months ago
I always liked Gretchen Corbett in her portrayals on that show. Sharp 'cookie.'
MarkSpeck Edward 45 months ago
And she looks GREAT in this Columbo episode!
PeterRoff 45 months ago
I've commented on this in the past but I think it's worth saying again. There ought to be a statue of James Garner as Jim Rockford at Paradise Cove.
MikefromJersey PeterRoff 45 months ago
I know he has a statue in his native Oklahoma. I believe it's James Garner as Maverick.
daDoctah 45 months ago
Heck, the place where Captain Kirk fought the Gorn is right next to the ranch from High Chapparal.
MarkSpeck daDoctah 45 months ago
And the villains' mansion on Wild Wild West was also the Barkley mansion on Big Valley!
Jan 45 months ago
I just love the way “ Colombo “ aka Peter Falk, wears his beloved Raincoat 🌟🧡🌟. Love all of the Colombo Series.
It’s so interesting to see how he determines the killer, as he lines up the clues, and immediately senses the person whom is the Villain. .
Always fascinating ! Thank you for continuing this fabulous Series. 🌟🧡🌟✨👏
FrankCollins Jan 45 months ago
My cousin-in-law worked at a movie theater in New York, selling tickets. She said that Peter Falk would often come to the theater and expect to get in for free. She refused, until the manager told her to let him in. She said he was dressed in old clothes with the raincoat.
MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
I always thought Jim Rockford lived on the beach not on a parking lot. It as been many years since I saw Rockford Files.
Hi Mrs. Harris,
His trailer abutted the beach but was on the restaurant parking lot. It was a mobile trailer, it
would have sunk into the sand. They cut a lot of content out of the rerun packages, but I seem to recall - I could be wrong - that in the original NBC run it was briefly mentioned Rockford had some sort of deal with the restaurant.
There were several 90 minute episodes in the original run. Universal padded them out with extra car chase footage to the point of tedium, then threw in a scene at the taco stand with Dennis and Jim, suddenly you had enough footage to make it a 2 part episode for the rerun package.
I don't like when what could be a one hour episode is padded to drag out into 90 minutes or two hours. I lose interest.
Wiseguy MikefromJersey 45 months ago
There were only two 90-minute episodes of the Rockford Files that were expanded to two-parters and one of them was the pilot movie. I don't recall either of them having a scene with Dennis at a taco stand, in fact, the character of Dennis doesn't even appear in either of them, except for a short scene at the beginning of the pilot, taken from the original footage. Cutting them down to an hour would have hurt the story and 90-minute episodes couldn't be included in the usual rerun package. Most of the added footage was an extremely long scenes-from-part-one sequence at the start of part two with an occasional repeated scene such as Rockford being tailed shown both before and after his destination and a phone call shown twice. There was one car chase that was extended but it already existed in a shorter scene. (This was the infamous scene where Rockford is driving two different models of his car at the same time.)

Wiseguy MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
Neither of the two Rockford 90-minute episodes was expanded to 90 minutes. The original story dictated the length and as noted above, there were only two options for reruns: cutting it down to an hour (hurting the story) or expanding to two-parts.

Note: There was one later episode that WAS expanded to 90-minutes for its original broadcast ("The Man Who Saw the Alligators") but reverted back to an hour for reruns. It is unknown whether the rerun version is the same edit as the original unaired hour version.
Wiseguy MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
It's noted in the article that Rockford's trailer's location was different in early episodes.
MrsPhilHarris Wiseguy 44 months ago
I wouldn't mind seeing Rockford if it's not on in the middle of the night. I don't record anything anymore.
MikefromJersey Wiseguy 44 months ago
You know your Rockford. It's been awhile since I saw the padded out episodes but I recall
being annoyed because the additions slowed the flow of the story.
Sorry I misremembered about the taco scene, I was using it to illustrate the larger point
that there were BORING stretches in the episode as a result of stretching it to 2 hours.
The fact remains it was written as a 90 minute episode and at least for the DVD release
it should have been restored to it's original length. Universal is notorious for taking a hatchet
to their series' rerun packages. McCloud with it's 60, 90 and 120 minute episodes was the worst, according to Dennis Weaver they were marred by marrying different episodes into two hour hybrids. They would link 2 different story lines and bridge them by using a newly filmed shot of Chief Clifford(actually a stand in) with his back to the camera talking to McCloud( a reused reaction shot of Weaver would be inserted) delivering some exposition attempting to make sense of the mismash. Throw in the recycled shot of McCloud driving a cop car, sometimes with passengers who magically disappeared when he got to his destination. I have thought about buying the DVD's as I enjoyed McCloud during it's original run, I hope they are as originally presented.
I recall McCloud was supposedly in Jersey in one episode, and you could see palm trees behind the buildings.
stephaniestavropoulos 45 months ago
September 15th, 174? Was that A.D. Or B.C.? I'll bite and take a stab and say B.C. Either way, I sincerely doubt that a rumpled trench coat was an example of haute couture.
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Ever notice how before trip became president the only place you saw political views was in a political forum and now since their beloved Hillary lost this snowflakes can’t wait to show how “smart” they are by posting everywhere even when the article/story has nothing to do with politics? What’s next post you liberal views on a Sesame Street forum 🤔🤔🧐🧐
Wiseguy OwebamaDooshbag 45 months ago
Ever notice that Trump supporters can't just disagree with someone, they have to insult them as well? Like father (Trump), like son (Trump supporters).
Wiseguy OwebamaDooshbag 45 months ago
Not everybody who is against Trump is a Democrat. Anyone with a brain is against Trump.
Inrodwetrust 44 months ago
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