Did you know that Columbo was one of the most popular shows on television in Romania? In fact, Columbo was so popular in Romania that when the show was cancelled the government feared riots from a disgruntled public. The show was so popular in the country that it was broadcast twice a week.
For the uninitiated among us, Columbo was a a detective series that originally ran in the 1970’s. It featured Peter Falk as the titular homicide detective, Columbo. It was the typical murder mystery event, but with a difference. Instead of leaving all to wonder who the culprit was, they spoiled the surprise by showing the perpetrator committing the crime at the outset of the episode. But despite this massive fail, it still became a massive worldwide hit.
But as we know, all good things must come to an end, and this was to cause a massive problem in Romania for the Columbo fans. Die hard can sometimes be a little skeptical of corporate decisions.
When Columbo was cancelled in the late 1970’s, the government in Romania feared public riots. The Romanian public accused their government of cancelling the show because of import quotas. To try and seek a peaceful resolution to the impasse of which they had absolutely no control over, they contacted the US State Department.
The government in Romania requested that the shows star, Peter Falk, make a public service announcement to explain that the Romanian government had not intentionally cancelled Columbo.
Falk obliged and appeared on film reading a statement phonetically in Romanian. But the cancellation was only short lived. Eleven years later the show was to experience its first rebirth with a short run into the early 1990’s, before extending the show through a series of specials into the early 2000’s.
But it wasn’t only exceedingly popular in Romania. When the emperor of Japan visited the US in the mid 1970’s he was asked if there were any famous Americans that he would like to meet. He only mentioned two names. John Wayne and Columbo.