"Travelling - it gives you home in a thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land"
Ibn Battuta, Moroccan traveller
TRAVEL

TV/FILM QUIRK
   4536 views   
What is Lieutenant Columbo's first name?
posted by Richard Green on 14/12/2018
 

Freeze frame Columbo flashing his badge and there's your answer, or is it?

In a series where the main character habitually refers to his spouse only as ‘my wife’ and who’s Basset Hound is called ‘dog’, it’s hardly surprising that Columbo was coy about his name too. 

He regularly name checks cousins and relatives, but he only ever introduces himself as ‘Lieutenant Columbo’. In ‘Undercover’ (Season 12, episode 3) he jokingly gives his first name as ‘Lieutenant’ to Major General Martin J Hollister, played by Eddie Albert.

As reticent as Morse: a similar ruse was employed by the popular British detective character of Inspector Morse, who was also shy when it came to his Christian name, and Morse himself – played by John Thaw – similarly joshed that his first name was ‘Inspector’. In fact the riddle was revealed by author Colin Dexter at the end of the 1996 Morse story - Death is Now My Neighbour - to be 'Endeavour'.

Frank Cannon (played by William Conrad) and Endeavour Morse (John Thaw)

Philip, surely not? Anyone who played Trivial Pursuit back in the 80s may remember that the answer to Columbo’s first name question was Philip. Philip? This alleged fact was the one deliberate mistake among the question cards, inserted by Fred L Worth who wrote a book called ‘The Trivia Encyclopaedia’. He used this false fact as a trap for would be plagiarists, much in the same way that map makers have done in the past by inserting fictitious lakes or lanes in remote places to catch out potential copy cats.

Worth found that around a third of the questions in the blockbusting game of Trivial Pursuit were pinched from his encyclopaedia - including the rogue Columbo question. He threatened to take the manufacturers to court, but the case never came to trial; the Trivial Pursuit people didn't deny that they had culled Worth's book, but they and the judge reasoned that facts cannot be copyrighted.   

The prank ran and ran though, and Peugeot claimed in an advert that 'Lt Philip Columbo' as the world's most famous Peugeot convertible driver, and the 1997 Cop Cookbook includes a recipe from Peter Falk for pumpkin lasagne and a reference to his TV character, Philip Columbo. 

Writer's block: the creators of Columbo were Richard Levinson and William Link, who said that he was never given a first name. However, there is on screen evidence at odds with this. Columbo flashes his L.A.P.D. badge several times over the course of Columbo's run on TV, first in the ‘Dead Weight’ episode (Season 1, Episode 3). The first name 'Frank' is clearly visible on this ID.

Columbo in his clapped out Peugeot 403

To be Frank: given that there were 69 episodes that didn’t mention or refer to his first name, it seems likely that this was put on the ID for expediency by a prop person. This was in the days when streaming and freeze frame buttons didn’t really exists – so it’s likely that nobody would have thought it a blunder.

It doesn’t seem an inspired or even likely name really, running as it did at the same time as ‘Cannon’ – a successful TV detective that ran from 1971-1976. The portly detective's first name was Frank. The role was played by William Conrad: and due respect to him for narrating The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

And also contemporary to the crumpled detective was an Italian bodybuilder and actor, Francu Columbo. It would seem a little strange to so strongly echo a famous bodybuilder of the day.

Francu Columbo (upside down) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends

One more thing...If it was an oversight/accident to use the name Frank, it had consequences if you happen to be watching the series in Cologne or Klagenfurt, as in the German language dubbed Columbo’s he is occasionally referred to as Frank by other police officers.


ALL AT SEA
   3723 views   
You need bucket loads of cash and two weeks off to go cruising right? Nope, here are six great mini cruises, from just £99pp...
posted by Richard Green on 06/12/2018
 

The QE2 parked up by Sydney's Circular Quay. Photo My Bathroom Wall

If you already love cruising, a mini cruise is a great way of sneaking in another voyage onto your holiday calendar. You can take a short no-fly sea break on a fine liner, enjoy an overnight ferry crossing, or build a short cruise your next big holiday by sailing from Miami to the Bahamas, from Sydney to Melbourne, or from Durban to Cape town. And it won’t break the bank either, with two-night full board cruises with a cabin from £happened. 

If you have yet to be convinced about a life on the ocean waves, with it’s tons of shipboard activities, fantastic food, and all aboard bonhomie, then the mini cruise is an ideal taster. You can find your sea legs without fear of cabin fever, and with a small outlay in time and money, suss to see if a longer cruise might just float your boat.

Here is my selection of the six best mini cruises around. All of the prices are based on two people sharing an inside cabin and don’t include international flights.

Weekend Cruise from the UK to Honfleur: the venerable Marco Polo is a small 22,000 tonne ocean liner built in 1965 and refitted since to carry around 800 passengers in comfort, but in a distinctly old world and somewhat worn style. But it is great value, is 'child free', has restaurants and a bar spread across five lounge areas. Anyone with a certain type of brain - like me - will be curious to know that the ship was built in East Germany and operated cheap cruises for largely Western passengers, before a British entrepreneur bought what was then the Alexander Pushkin and refitted it along neo-Art Deco lines.

The MV Marco Polo, still going strong after 53 years. Photo Cruise & Maritime

As an example of one of the short cruises, she leaves Cardiff, Wales at 7.30pm on the 1st of June and steams overnight to the 17th-century harbour town of Honfleur for a day sightseeing, before returning to Harwich for disembarkation at 7am. There is 70% off right now and so it's a steal at just £129pp, with Cruise & Maritime.

Cruise the coasts of Australia: think of Princess Cruises and you’ll probably conjure big luxury ships on grand multi-port journeys, but there are several overnight positioning cruises along the coasts of Australia. For example, with four swimming pools, eight restaurants, and carrying almost 2,000 passengers, the Golden Princess glides overnight from Sydney to Melbourne, from £179pp, or the Majestic Princess sails from Sydney to Melbourne in three nights, stopping in Hobart on the way, from £319pp.

Sample a huge Princess vessel from just £179pp (plastic paraphanelia not included). Photo Princess Cruises

There are several overnight cruises from Seattle to Vancouver too (from £90pp), a two night Pacific Coast sail from Los Angeles to Vancouver (from £230pp), and two night sails between Tokyo and Taipei (from £260pp). See Princess Cruises

Sample Cunard’s classic liners: here’s your chance to experience a life of luxury under the iconic red and black funnels of Cunard’s iconic liners. The Queen Mary 2 is the largest passenger ship ever built, carry around 3,000 passengers and 148,500 tonnes, while the newest ship on the line, the Queen Elizabeth carries around 2,000 passengers and was launched last year.

There are two-night Southampton to Hamburg short break sailings in 2018, aboard the Queen Victoria or the Queen May 2, from £319pp, a two-night sailing from Southampton to Bruges on the Queen Elizabeth from £273pp, and a three-night Kiel to Southampton (via Gothenburg), from £387pp. Cunard has other short cruises from Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. See Cunard.

Down Mexico Way: how about a break from driving with a glorious little three nights cruise to Baja California? The 70,000 ton Carnival Inspiration pull out of Long Beach, Los Angeles in the early evening and steam south past San Diego and into Mexican waters off Baja, with nine-hour calls at Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. Catalina Island is a pretty little playground off the coast of California, while Ensenada is a popular beach resort centred on the country’s best wine region.

An outdoor sunset screening. Photo Carnival Cruises

Optional shore excursions include La Bufadora (a nearby marine geyser), a winery tour, the Baja Bandidos horse riding trail, or some salsa and tequila tasting, You’ll be back in LA at 8am on day five. Cruise only prices are from £194pp. See Carnival Cruises.

This could be Rotterdam or anywhere, Liverpool or Rome: well nearly, but Fred Olsen Cruise Lines had 31 mini cruises scheduled for 2018, departing from several UK ports. The 34,000 tonne MV Balmoral has one-night cruises from Newcastle, Rosyth (for Edinburgh) from 99pp.

The MV Balmoral. Photo Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Or there’s a three-night trip from Southampton calling at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, from £299pp, and a 'Cruise to Nowhere' on the MV Black Watch, which takes two nights to cruise from Southampton to - it turns out rather unflatteringly - Liverpool. See Fred Olsen Cruises.

Florida to Bahamas: this is mini cruise central , as many cruise companies cater the Floridian's and foreigner's demand for a short spell on board ship to visit the Bahamas. As an example, Norwegian Cruise Line’s vessel Norwegian Sky makes several three-night sailings a year from Miami and Port Canaveral (for Orlando) to the Bahamas.

Big enough for you? Norwegian's huge vessels run many short trips from Miami/Orlando. Photo Norwegian Cruise Lines

This luxurious brightly coloured ship has two pools, large decking, and an eight-story atrium, and berths for nine hours off miniscule Great Stirrup Cay, and nine hours at the bustling capital of Nassau, from £419pp. See Norwegian Cruise Line. Or Royal Caribbean has four night year round sailings from Miami to Nassau, Coco Cay, Key West, and Miami.


 
Related content

The latest glass-bottomed skywalks open in Gibraltar and Seattle, and the best of the rest...
  5588 views. First published 30/04/2019
 
Summertime and the swimming is easy...10 spots worth packing your trunks for...
  6981 views. First published 20/04/2019
 
You need bucket loads of cash and two weeks off to go cruising right? Nope, here are six great mini cruises, from just £99pp...
  3722 views. First published 06/12/2018
 
Caging humans to watch 'free-roaming' mega predators is daft...
  4885 views. First published 01/09/2017
 
Two holidays for the price of one; the art of the stopover...
  4044 views. First published 03/08/2017
 
Seeing the funny side of a close encounter with a 32 stone mountain gorilla...
  8765 views. First published 01/06/2017
 
Wadi Rum - star location in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia - is perhaps the most spectacular patch of desert in the world...
  7046 views. First published 13/04/2017
 
The South Pacific made simple...
  8236 views. First published 04/04/2017
 
Azura Quilalea Private Island - off the coast of Mozambique - is about as good a private island lodge as there is...
  4070 views. First published 02/04/2017
 
Salalah is a low key resort town where many from the Gulf go on their summer holidays. Here's why...
  7541 views. First published 27/03/2017
 
Learning to paint on holiday is a great way to slow down and breathe in your surroundings...
  5171 views. First published 27/03/2017
 
Eerilly overgrown Ta Prohm in Cambodia is now known as the Tomb Raider Temple. Angelina Jolie's sweaty black leotard has a lot to answer for...
  5936 views. First published 24/03/2017
 
Immersion language schools seem to work, though the first few days are a killer...
  5076 views. First published 22/03/2017
 
Where train turns mountain goat; Ecuador's extraordinary 'Nariz del Diablo' railway...
  5611 views. First published 12/03/2017
 
Tafifa to Tangier, and Europe's other fabulous little ferry routes...
  7065 views. First published 11/03/2017
 
A man, a plan, a canal, and a hat named after entirely the wrong country...
  6842 views. First published 09/03/2017
 
Sierra Leone; home to the Bounty Bar beach, charming locals, and an odd airport transfer...
  7246 views. First published 28/02/2017
 
Walking in Montenegro with the folk who devise the routes for walking holidays...
  8517 views. First published 24/02/2017
 
You may not have heard of the other Mauritian island, but it's beautiful, warm hearted and sees remarkably few tourists...
  4737 views. First published 16/02/2017
 
10 desert regions and what's to see beyond the sand...
  7131 views. First published 16/02/2017
 
Sikh and ye shall find...community, piety and fun, in Amritsar's Golden Temple...
  4837 views. First published 16/02/2017
 
Chugging out of Bangkok in a 100-year-old rice barge...
  5246 views. First published 15/02/2017
 
Carthage may be a ruin of a ruin, but Tunis is Terrific
  5696 views. First published 12/02/2017
 
A son et lumiere is no way to illuminate the past
  5593 views. First published 24/01/2017
 
Madagascar is marvellous, but its timid and ragtag looking lemurs weren't quite the star turn I'd expected...
  7637 views. First published 24/01/2017
 
All aboard the Trans Siberian Express - for trees, clean windows, talk of a moustache ban, and more trees...
  5429 views. First published 24/01/2017
 
The most brilliant day out from Dubai; the oasis city of Al Ain...
  6055 views. First published 24/01/2017
 
A Ferrari that does 0-60mph in two seconds using the catapult from an aircraft carrier. Riding the world's fastest roller coaster
  5625 views. First published 24/01/2017
 
  © 2016-2019 Richard Green. All Rights Reserved. All digital assets shown on this website remain the copyright of their respective owners.