Virtual Screening Room: Chevy Mystery Show

Streaming Online
Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Still from Chevy Mystery Show: Enough Rope (7/31/1960)

Chevy Mystery Show: "Enough Rope"

U.S., 7/31/1960

In an acclaimed career that included major parts in films by notable directors, including John Cassavetes, Academy Award-nominated actor Peter Falk will be forever best remembered as “Lieutenant Columbo,” one of the most beloved characters in the history of television. For over three decades, Falk was indelible as the disheveled, genius detective, with the actor’s own persona often seemingly indistinguishable from the eponymous role for which he would win four Emmy Awards. As intimately inseparable as Falk and the character of Columbo would become, Falk, surprisingly, did not originate the iconic part on television. That distinction belongs to character actor Bert Freed in the Chevy Mystery Show episode, “Enough Rope,” an NBC “living color” production that was broadcast some seven years before Falk would first don Columbo’s trademark raincoat.

In creating “Enough Rope,” writers Richard Levinson and William Link employed an anti-whodunit structure that would serve as the template for the long-running Columbo TV series, wherein a sophisticated murderer is revealed early in the first act with the ensuing drama revolving around how a working-class detective, seemingly a supporting player, would give the criminal “enough rope” to implicate themselves.

Media scholar Amelie Hastie, author of the forthcoming book, Columbo: Make Me a Perfect Murder, will join Television Archivist Mark Quigley for a post-screening conversation about all things Columbo.


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Still from Chevy Mystery Show: Enough Rope (7/31/1960)