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Columbo and Champagne



The first official pilot episode for Columbo - a detective series I adore starting Peter Falk - was aired on February 20, 1968. This was "Prescription: Murder". Right off the bat we get an elegant party with people in tuxes, and they're drinking Champagne!

Columbo and Champagne

They're using the silly wide-mouthed glasses which let all the bubbles escape, but this was 1968 after all. They weren't too wise about bubbles :)

Columbo and Champagne

My real question though is - what is this bottle they have? I can't tell by the label. Does anybody know?

Columbo and Champagne

In the first episode it's all about the psychiatrist who cheats on his wife, who he only married for her money.

That at least is better than episode 2 - "Random for a Dead Man". In this one the stepmother is a lawyer and the daughter snidely refers to her as a "lady lawyer" as if this was a stupid thing for a woman to do. In the same episode, Columbo himself asks the male assistant incredulously if he minds working for a woman boss. It is just amazing to me that this was not back in the 1800s, this was only a few years ago, relatively speaking!

The next episode is "Murder by the Book" - directed by Steven Spielberg! It too starts with Champagne! The pair of mystery writers are "toasting" their break up. Again they use the wide-mouthed glasses. The bottle is so shoddily made that the plastic cork pops off the moment he removes the foil!

Columbo and Champagne

We learn Columbo asks for Bourbon when offered any drink he wants :)

The evil guy promptly gets two more bottles of the same Champagne to lure his next victim to death. Now I need to point out that they incorrectly call it Chamapgne. But I really doubt it is :) Yes, it's labeled as "Champagne of France". In other shots, the label says "Private" and "Cuvee". I'm afraid I don't know of any real Champagne house in France which names itself "Champagne of France" though. Never mind one that uses a plastic cork.

Columbo and Champagne

The Champagne bottle even serves as the murder weapon!

Columbo and Champagne

He nicely buries her (in the lake) with two bottles by her side.

Columbo and Champagne

Unfortunately for him, Columbo finds the "cork" (plastic!) and realizes that the guy is up to no good. The Champagne cork is the vital clue!

Columbo and Champagne



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