There's more to know about the origin story of Columbo's raincoat
The original Columbo wore a top coat, not a trench coat.
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Columbo co-creator William Link once said that Columbo's wardrobe was the cheapest wardrobe outside of Big Bird on Sesame Street. Fans know that's because Columbo's clothes, from his beat-up shoes to that unfortunate raincoat and the full green suit he often wore between them, came from the closet of actor Peter Falk, who famously played the quirky TV detective. Not a penny was spent other than duplicating these gently worn items, but this is all just the beginning of the story when it comes to the way the iconic Columbo dressed.
You see, before Peter Falk became Columbo, the character was already introduced in a 1960 episode of the anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show. That episode was later adapted into a stage play called Prescription: Murder, and the Columbo that particular audience met wore a totally different coat than the one we're used to Columbo donning. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Link said, "It was a top coat in the play," but they decided to change the garment when it came back to TV because "Really, top coats are [worn] back east where you have inclement weather. Out here in southern California where the show is set, we don’t pretend it’s any other place." Just like that, the top coat was out.
While it was the sunny Los Angeles weather that first sent the series creator and star seeking a new signature coat for the detective, it was actually a sudden bout of rain on an serendipitous day in New York City that changed everything. That gray day delivered the raincoat we recognize so well into the hands of the man whose name would later become interchangeable with Columbo, Peter Falk. Link said, "I believe he said it was bought on 57th Street. It was raining in New York City and he ducked into a store and bought a raincoat."
Haven't we all been there? Think about that the next time the rain takes you by surprise! It may just send you directly to your destiny.