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 lieutenant 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 organizers, actor Peter Falk may have been related to the 19th-century Hungarian political figure, Miksa Falk, after whom the street is named, although they also admit that this connection has yet to be proven. The American Falk is known to have had Hungarian roots on one side of his family, although it has never been linked to Miksa Falk’s family. Some have also questioned the timing of the statue’s installation given that Peter Falk passed away in 2011, meaning that it is unlikely to commemorate his passing either. Many believe that it was unveiled in time to garner votes in an upcoming election, although this seems to be 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 seem to provide any further clues to the decision-making process behind the statue’s bizarre existence. Maybe if Columbo were still alive, he’d be able to solve the case.
There is also a little bronze squirrel with a gun right behind Colombo. Why is it there and what it means is a bit of a mystery.