The guest star with the craziest backstory in this Columbo episode was a boat

George C. Scott nearly sunk the thing. Nixon loved the thing. Barry White met his poetic end on the thing.

Read to Me

At the end of "Last Salute to the Commodore," the season-five Columbo finale, the beloved detective heads off into the sunset. In a rowboat.

There was a good reason for this closing shot. At the time, the Hollywood rumor mill floated the idea that "Commodore" would be Peter Falk's last appearance as Columbo. Ever. Hence, him oaring off to the horizon. Of course, this episode aired in 1976. Falk would portray the character until 2003. It was no farewell.

Which was a relief for several reasons for fans. Partly because it would have been a rather odd finale. "Commodore" broke the mold of Columbo entirely. Typically, the series shows the audience the murder and the murderer in the opening scene. The pleasure comes from watching the lieutenant snaring the guilty party. However, "Commodore" is a traditional mystery. You don't learn "whodunnit" until late in the game.

Robert Vaughn is the biggest name in the list of guest stars, but the one "guest" we truly want to talk about is a yacht. 

Vaughn's character, Charles Clay, owns the "superyacht" in the story. In reality, it belonged to a wealthy California mogul named Frank Muller. The businessman christened the boat "Mojo" — and the vessel has led quite the life. Let us list the ways.

President Richard Nixon adored the boat, sailing on the thing "no less than two dozen times," as seen here in this trip to Catalina Island, documented by the Richard Nixon Library.

In 2003, Michael Jackson took the ashes of soul crooner Barry White aboard the boat, sailing out to sea and scattering White's ashes into the waves.

Platinum rap producer Timbaland shot a music video on the boat with Eminem.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have been aboard.

But perhaps the craziest story tied to this boat comes courtesy of actor George C. Scott. In 1978, the Patton star plunked down $10,000 to charter the boat so that he could sail up the coast to a gold tournament at Pebble Beach. Like the fictional S.S. Minnow, this ship encountered vicious waves, 20-foot swells. The Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol advised that the boat not attempt the mean sea. Scott ignored the advice.

A "massive" break slammed the boat, shattering the window, injuring the captain, and causing significant damage. The repair costs totaled $85,000. But the boat at least got an upgrade in the process.

In "Commodore," you can see the "MOJO" name (well, "MOJO JR") behind Peter Falk when he sits next to the meditating woman.

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Finlive 1 month ago
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BlacJack79720 1 month ago
This episode and the one with Johnny Cash and one other with Dick Van Dyke are my all time favorite Columbo episodes.
Mob39 1 month ago
Colombo was one of the coolest shows on television! Boy, they don’t make TV like this anymore. Too bad.
F5Twitster 1 month ago
"In 1978, the Patton star plunked down $10,000 to charter the boat so that he could sail up the coast to a gold tournament at Pebble Beach."

GOLF tournament.
JHP 1 month ago
great Sat AM reading! Love Columbo - even though the newer ones are sort of painful to watch
Sheilahbloodymary 1 month ago
Please put Kojak back on tv.
Kojak couldn't hold Columbo's glass eye in a bucket with a lid .
Pacificsun 1 month ago
I realize the article is about the BOAT. But have to say that on the Columophile forum, Last Salute to the Commodore is NOT their favorite episode. Especially not up to Columbo normal standards. Maybe it did have to do with it expected to be the last episode. But the premise and presentation just wasn't executed well. The very first time I saw it, I didn't even know what was going on. Robert Vaughn a very understated performance (to be kind).
Pacificsun your saying Mr. Vaughn's performance was "understated," is that your {going old school here, since this term isn't part of the regular lexicon any longer;} "politically correct" way of saying you didn't much care for his performance?
Months back, I remember you telling me about the Columbophile website. Do you have a copy of the book? Because you mentioned it-the website-, {and after having checked the site out,} I went ahead and bought the book. It is a good/fun read except {like someone on Amazon said,} the author didn't spend enough time on the backstories/behind-the-scenes of the later series like he did on the first ones.
I hope you're sitting in a comfortable place for THIS reply!

😉

Oh wow, I didn’t even know a Columbophile book was involved! No wonder the people making comments on that forum have so much to talk about. Recently featured is this one fan who focuses only on actual phone companies and the use of their records for tracing phone usage in terms of investigating suspect’s alibi’s. It’s really is a cute read (called “Just One More Ring”) and I think you’d enjoy it. But don’t whack me with a felt marker if you don’t, okay!
https://columbophile.com/2021/02/21/just-one-more-ring-examining-the-use-of-phone-records-in-columbo/

I’m glad you bought the book and enjoyed it! I like when a referral works out. I barely have time to do what I do. Meaning maybe I can snatch 30 minutes before falling asleep at night. Because that’s all my attention span will allow.

But more to the point of making THIS comment is to say I didn’t understand Robert Vaughn’s performance (or purpose in this Commodore episode). The role was not demonstrative enough to suggest whether he was supposed to the villain or a curious but muddled innocent. And no doubt he was directed (by Patrick McGoohan) to play it that way! But I don’t like ambivilence in a role. He’s an understated enough actor. As I’ve said before, some actors assume the character’s persona and submerge themselves into it. Like a Meryl Streep type loses herself in whatever she’s portraying. While other actors trade on their personalities! Meaning they can be who they are, which happens to work well in the vehicle (like MFU). It should be said (however) that he’s also played some very famous historical figures with which makeup, costuming and (vocal) intonation obviously communicated the character. But otherwise he was plugged into (usually and after MFU) bad guy roles, being who he is, with minimal nuance adjustments.
I don't know if the book has a connection with the website, other than they share the same title. Maybe it {the website,} is based on the book.
About RV's performances [post MFU:] Like a lot of performers who get pigeon holed into only being accepted as being able to play one type of character [I know, this run on sentence, but I couldn't figure out where to place the punctuation marks! Sorry. The Grammar Police are going to be all over me big time!,] or only see them as that character that "made them famous,"]It's hard to find work playing different types of characters after the fact. Example: Post MFU, he starred opposite Steve McQueen in "Bullet," playing {I think} a cop, a good guy. Not a spy, but still someone chasing after the bad guys. I haven't followed his career as closely as you seem to have Pacificsun, but it does seem he had a wee bit of difficulty proving to those casting folks that he could be other people. Once he had been unpigeon {I know that's not a word,} holed from that category, he seemed to become pigeon holed in only portraying baddies. As my grandma liked to say: "You can't win for losing."
In regards to that Columbo story, I'll have to remember to check it out. Last week I was on a Starsky & Hutch fan fiction site. I enjoyed reading them. One woman, {I don't remember the storyline,} but she managed to weave/make mention of most, if not all of the episodes. Not by name of course, but in description. Sort of like taking a trip down memory lane, so to speak. If you're familiar w/the show, it was like the episode where {I think this is right,} Starsky feigns having a memory loss, {or maybe it was Hutch.}One telsl the other "Remember when....?"
Getting back to Columbo. Thanks for not hitting me with a Sharpie if I don't like the story. Could you also, please, do what Mr. Ed would plead to Wilber: "Holler, but don't hit?" Thanks!
😉
So Stephanie, you most always have a lot to say. Very well read (and said) backing your opinions and observations. Possessing a large collection of information as a matter of fact, and I don’t know how you accumulate so much. Except that you told me once it just comes from reading.

Anyway don’t be concerned about the “grammar police.” You know what they say about those who “can” … do! And those who “can’t” … teach! No disrespect intended towards the noble profession of teaching. But we’re not participating in class here when we come to this site. I think it’s very presumptuous of total strangers to assume they have a role in educating others, through a site that's meant for recreation! I don’t tell people the correct way to golf, nor would most people do so in a public setting unless requested. Except that when they do, they’re demonstrating a superiority complex in many cases.

IMO, the only thing to be kept in mind is how effective (and that’s a wide swatch of possibility) are we able to be in terms of communicating our contributions. If we care enough, we’ll be considerate of our readers. And if readers care enough, they’ll be considerate enough to respect their effort!!

And to everyone, remember that humor goes along way!! Let's make these relaxing exchanges so more people will participate!

😉😉
I like the term "understated"
Pacificsun szqzee 1 month ago
I probably should've said restrained!
"Just sit right back and read a reply, a reply from The Gabby Greek...."
Thanks for the compliment about my reply, others have not been so kind, calling me long-winded, {or something a bit more rougher.} Even going so far as to say I shouldn't be commenting on here. {I guess another way of putting the manner in which yours truly speaks: I am very verbose.} You can see how intimidated I was, and I am no longer participating in the "lively art of conversation!" Nobody was forcing them to read what I wrote. It's their own fault for doing so.}
You saying that I have a lot on my mind, {I know those weren't your exact words,} reminded of when my sister used to call me Motor Mouth, {a play on Mighty Mouse. It wasn't because of long windedness, it was be cause I used to talk fast!}
Pacificsun, right back atcha with your well said and backed opinions, {then again, I can't recall when your comments haven't been so. How eloquently you phrase your comments.}
As for the acquiring of useless, {some would think so,} Pop Culture trivia: There is no magic involved in accumulating what I have learned Anybody can do it, if they just follow these 5 simple steps: 1. Google 2. Read 3. Retain 4.Reccollect 5. Repeat. See, I told you there was no mystery involved. Like I said, you too can do this!
"Just one more thing:" We were talking about Columbo, I went over to Amazon and ordered his autobiography. {Speaking of reading. Followed after having done so: by retaining recollecting and repeating what my brain soaked up, whenever the need to do so should arise!}
Andybandit 1 month ago
Interesting story. I like watching Columbo every Sunday night. I like when he says Oh Just one more thing.
tmac1951 1 month ago
Gold trip????? Picture of the boat?????

Pacificsun tmac1951 1 month ago
Funny how one tiny letter can change the entire meaning of what's intended.
ricovksu04 1 month ago
Regarding the Colombo article & the yacht...when George C. Scott rented the boat he went to a “gold” tournament at Pebble Beach? Do you mean a GOLF tournament? If not, what is a gold tournament?
Moody ricovksu04 1 month ago
It's what rich people do for fun.
I thought the "Gold Tournament" must be the name of a golf tournament at Pebble Beach. Didn't realize it was another MeTV typo until I read your comment.
justjeff ricovksu04 1 month ago
A gold tournament is where you take your diamond encrusted putter and swing at platinum golf balls after forking over an entry fee the size of Fort Knox...
JHP ricovksu04 1 month ago
that is what they call capitalism (Gold tourney)
I thought it might be a kind of golf tournament.
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