• Shooting Columbo

  • The Lives and Deaths of TV's Rumpled Detective
  • By: David Koenig
  • Narrated by: Randy Skretvedt
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Columbo was arguably the most popular and most unique television mystery series ever - even though, within two minutes of the titles, the audience already knew the murderer’s identity. The show captivated tens of millions of viewers for 69 adventures produced over 35 years. Yet if star Peter Falk had gotten his way, it would have run far longer.

Columbo was never formally canceled, just subtly killed off. Twice. Who was to blame? The temperamental lead who would rather work in movies? The budget-conscious studio, exhausted with the star’s demands? Or was it the meddling television studios, searching for a younger, hipper replacement?

Discover the solution in Shooting Columbo: The Lives and Deaths of TV’s Rumpled Detective. Author David Koenig takes you behind the scenes to witness the creation and making of every case, from the pilot Prescription: Murder (and its earlier incarnations on The Chevy Mystery Show and on stage) to the final special, Columbo Likes the Nightlife.

You’ll discover the origins of the Lieutenant’s unseen wife, the lethargic Dog, the wrinkled raincoat, the wheezing 1959 Peugeot, and “Just one more thing....” The narrative draws on scores of exclusive interviews with the show’s writers, producers, directors and other creative personnel, as well as previously unpublished studio records, including scripts, memos, production reports, casting sheets, and business diaries. They will transport you to the harried story conferences, the heated confrontations, and take...after take...after take...of filming.

The “shooting” of Columbo was filled with backstage intrigue and larger-than-life personalities who, through it all, created unforgettable classic television.

©2021 David Koenig (P)2021 David Koenig

What listeners say about Shooting Columbo

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

As comfortable as an old pair of $16 shoes

Anyone who loves Columbo will enjoy this book. But, you shouldn't expect too much information that you don't already know. If you've listened to the Columbo podcasts with the Scottish guys, it's similar to that. Essentially a synopsis of each episode, with a few behind the scenes tidbits added in (but thankfully lacking the prudish perspective of the 70s of the podcasters). There are a lot of details about production conflicts and casting ideas, which are moderately interesting. Though I doubt anyone can be sure just how likely it was that the high-priced choices would have actually guest starred, or how far along planning got to set an episode in Japan. I would say that it was great good fortune to have snagged Ruth Gordon for Try and Catch Me, rather than Bette Davis. Conversely, Angela Lansbury might have brought more of a sociopathic edge to the depiction of Grace Wheeler in Forgotten Lady, than Janet Leigh, And as with the program, the book loses steam for me after Chapter 14 and the wrap of The Conspirators. The later episodes hold little or no interest for me, and neither did the backstage intrigues.

2 people found this helpful

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It wasn't just one more thing..it was much more.

I enjoyed the book. Thank you for capturing some of these stories and putting them into a narrative.

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True to Columbo

Enjoyed this book. It did get redundant at times, but that is just long running TV shows in general. Still, a good listen!

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A good listen

This is a great drive listen. If you’re a fan of columbo or falk go ahead and open your ear

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Terrific

If you are interested in television history you will love this Audible. Koenig and Skretvedt are a wonderful team and their work is exceptional.

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Mixed Bag

Interesting, but rather than enhance my love of the show the way some podcasts have, it made me feel put off by Falk and annoyed when I watch the show. So many things I have complained about during viewings turned out to be Falk’s input. Makes me wonder how much better and consistent the show would have been if Falk would have just shut up and done his job.

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  • C. P. Lewis
  • 06-06-22

Ends, like a bad Columbo, without a satisfying pop

You need to be an aficionado, not a background listen at work, some interesting trivia.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrew Kirk
  • 12-12-21

Sounds like they wanted to “Shoot Peter Falk”

“Shooting Columbo” is well worth a read or listen but if you’ve read any other Columbo books you’ll probably already have most of info anyway. This book Talks us through every season and episode and focuses on how annoying Peter Falk could be during production, getting band from the set and wanting more and more control and money for each new season and upsetting a few co-stars along the way.

But at the end of the day Columbo remains the greatest TV show ever thanks to Falk’s incredible performance as Columbo.

Worth a credit!

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Tanner
  • 07-19-22

Perfect(ish) for Columbophiles

Wow. Well, I couldn’t fault the amount of detail packed into this, which borders on the nerdish, but I love that kind of thing, especially when it concerns something I’m a real fan of.
What I didn’t like was the reader. He didn’t really engage me, and some paragraphs were in need of a do-over as he’d given the wrong inflection on certain sentences.
Overall, fascinating and amusing for fans of the show and begins the scenes tales in general.

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  • ashford
  • 06-27-22

Fascinating

Columbo was my Dad’s favourite show. Like many viewers he liked the Columbo character, so smart, but also so modest and gentlemanly. He used to enjoy in particular those moments when Peter Falk’s performance would indicate that the character had noticed something or had made a connection to solve the crime. If we were watching together he would catch my eye and nod! Which is all by way of saying that I love this show as watching it always reminds me of my Dad too. This book lets you behind the scenes to see a little of how the magic was produced. Not always easily, I suppose, but then nothing worthwhile ever does emerge without some effort and strife along the way. Columbo transcends other similar genre TV of its era. I do think it will live forever.

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  • Mr. C. Williamson
  • 04-22-22

Nothing new

Odd, not a lot of real love of the subject by the writer. Should have more fun, and information.

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  • R. Maines
  • 02-03-22

Fascinating..

Prepare to have illusions shattered this is a riveting look at how Columbo was made. My only complaints are the lack of preface in the audio
Book and the ABC years are breezed through far too quickly.

Narration was good.