Thanks to a tenuous familial connection, Budapest’s Falk Miksa Street is now home to a life-size bronze reproduction of Peter Falk as America’s favorite soft-spoken detective in the rumpled coat, Columbo.
Installed in 2014 at an estimated cost of $63,000, the bronze P.I. was part of an overall rejuvenation project in the area, although exactly why the figure was chosen is a bit of a mystery. According to a quote given to the Wall Street Journal by Antal Rogán, district mayor at the time, actor Peter Falk may have been related to the 19th-century Hungarian political figure Miksa Falk, for whom the street is named, although he concedes that this connection has yet to be proved. The American Falk is known to have had Hungarian roots through his grandparents on one side of the family, but has never been definitively linked to Miksa Falk’s family.
Some have also questioned the timing of the statue’s installation given that Peter Falk died in 2011, meaning that it clearly was not meant to commemorate his passing either. Many believe that it was unveiled in time to garner votes in a general election that took place a few weeks after the figure was unveiled. Although this seems like it would have been a strange way to go about it.
Just one more thing ... At the foot of the metal lieutenant’s feet is a bronze basset hound modeled after a local dog named Franzi, who even showed up for the unveiling. This is of course supposed to be Columbo’s droopy-faced pet, Dog. Unfortunately, the dog does not provide any further clues as to the decision-making process behind the statue’s bizarre existence. Maybe if Columbo were still alive, he could solve the case.
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