Looking for the White-Haired Man
Looking at "Columbo" episodes over and over again on tape gives a person a chance to pick up on things he/she might have missed if they just saw the espisodes once or maybe a few times in reruns.
Such has been the case with myself. Of course I came up with the little Columbo Trivia game by viewing the episodes over and over and listening to Columbo's reference to his wife, his relatives and his dog.
But, I also picked up on other things such as how often certain actors (and here I am talking about those character actors and bit players and not the major guest stars) appeared in the series.
There is one actor I missed a number of times (that is, I paid no attention to him) until I saw him in an episode called "Now You See Him." and then I started noticing him in a number of episodes, some in speaking and some in non-speaking roles.
Since I do not know his name I simply call him "The White-Haired Man," because he has white hair, of course. He was a very distinguished looking gentleman and had a good speaking voice.
Maybe you have seen him too.
Like I said above, I first gave him a good look in the episode "Now You See Him." This is the one in which Jack Cassidy plays a magician.
The scene is where Columbo comes to see The Great Santini do his magic act in a night club. The white-haired man is sitting at the bar and we learn that he knew The Great Santini in Europe where Santini was doing a magic act and the white-haired man was doing a tightrope act.
Later Columbo visits the white-haired man who is living in a second rate hotel where the bathroom is down the hall. This scene lasts maybe two minutes and the white-haired man has about a dozen lines or less. This is the biggest part he has among the "Columbo" episodes.
In "A Case of Immunity" with guest star Hector Alizondo, the white-haired man plays a police photograher who was two lines. "Get out of the way. You're blocking my shot."
He plays a police photographer again in Old Fashion Murder with guest star Joyce Van Patten. Here again he has a couple of lines.
In "Negative Reaction" with guest star Dick VanDyke he plays a Skid Row bum. He is shown sitting on a sidewalk. Columbo passes by looking for directions to a mission house. He has a line or two.
In "A Friend In Deed" with guest star Richard Kiley he appears to be the bar tender when Columbo comes in looking for a burglary suspect. Not sure about this one, but the man does have white hair.
In "Candidate For Murder" with guest star Jackie Cooper, the white-haired man is seen among a group of television people setting up a commercial for Cooper who is running for office. He has no lines, but waves his hand once as if to say "come on" as the group leaves the room.
I believe he is seen briefly in the opening scenes of a meeting of a group of smart people in " The Bye, Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case"with guest star Theodore Bikel.
I will add to this list if I see him in other episodes.
The original "Columbo" episodes were made in the 1970's.
In 1974 a movie came out called "The Sting," one of my all time favorites. I have also taped it. After "discovering" the white-haired man in the "Columbo" series I was watching "The Sting" and there he was again!
He is an extra who is seen in the bookie joint. Near the end of the movie while Robert Redford is supposedly dead on the floor he is seen in the background motioning with his hand down at Redford as if to explain something to a man he is talking to.
I guess the point of this whole thing is that I am trying to do a little research on the bit players in the episodes to see who appeared in them the most.
When they give the credits on A&E they are hard to read as A&E brings up an advertisement to sell "Columbo" episodes. I would like to have a list of credits for all the episodes, to see who played what part.
If you have any knowledge of "the white-haired man" or where I might get a list of credits for the episodes, or would like to add some information to this, please email me. I am always glad to hear from our Co.lumbo Trivia players whether you look at just one of the questions and answers or all of them.
Several people have written to me since I put this page up a couple of years ago to tell me the white-haired man is Michael Lally. I purposely did not put his name here for quite awhile to see how many people would respond. Several did. In the International Movie Data Base his name is given as Mike Lally and also as Michael Lally Sr. and Michael David Lally.
Evidently his name and his character's name on "Now You See Him" is one and the same.
Thanks to all who have written.
The following were submitted by Bill Pitz
Now You See Him.... as Michael Lally
Identity Crisis.... Cab Driver
Case of Immunity.... Police Photographer
Negative Reaction.... Old man in the Alley
Friend in Deed... second Bartender
Swan Song.... TV cameraman
Double Exposure... Parking Lot Guard
Any Old Port in a Storm.... Bartender
Etude in Black.... Mechanic
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