Video of the Week: “Ransom for a Dead Man”

This week’s video is a full-length Columbo episode, in fact the very first Columbo episode. It’s “Ransom for a Dead Man,” premiering on March 1, 1971 and directed by Richard Irving. Timothy makes the first of his two series appearances as hash-slinger Bert (he was on the show three times in all, always as the purveyor of some kind of food).

The video quality isn’t the best, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. Enjoy this little slice of television history!

Pic of the Day: “Ransom for a Dead Man” revisited

Columbus Day? Forget that. Here at the TCE it’s Columbo Day. Presenting our first glimpse of Bert, confidant of Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) and the friendly chili slinger of Barney’s Beanery in the inaugural Columbo episode, “Ransom for a Dead Man”. The date was March 1, 1971. Bert got his own diner later on in the episode “Dead Weight” (10.27.71).

Ransom for a Dead Man

Barney’s Beanery really exists. It’s been a Los Angeles landmark for nearly one hundred years, favored by movie stars, rock gods and the average Joe alike. Apparently they still serve a mean bowl of chili. Heck, you can even order online now. Will wonders never cease.

Pic of the Day: “Ransom for a Dead Man” revisited

It’s Labor Day here in the US, so let’s celebrate the working man (and woman) by revisiting Bert, provider of the world’s finest chili. He first appeared in “Ransom for a Dead Man,” the very first episode of the legendary Columbo detective series. It was first broadcast on March 1, 1971. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) could always count on a great bowl of chili and some good conversation from Bert.

Ransom for a Dead Man - 1971

Enjoy your day off, laborers, and have some chili – you’ve earned it!


Pic of the Day: “Ransom for a Dead Man” revisited

Our pic for today revisits Barney’s Beanery and Bert, purveyor of the best chili in town. It’s from the very first Columbo episode, “Ransom for a Dead Man,” which debuted on March 1, 1971. Columbo (Peter Falk) knew he could always count on a bowl of Bert’s chili to help clear his brain and help him think better.

Ransom for a Dead Man - 1971

As the 1960s progressed, Timothy gained quite a bit of weight; we’re seeing him here at probably his heaviest. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he steadily slimmed down. As his health took a turn for the worse in the late 1980s, however, he began to look alarmingly thin. But his spirit remained indomitable.

Pic of the Day: “Ransom For a Dead Man”

Happy Friday, and happy first day of Fall! There’s a chill in the air – why not stop by Barney’s Beanery and get a nice hot bowl of chili from our pal Bert? Our pic today is from the first episode of Columbo in which Tim portrays genial counterman Bert, “Ransom for a Dead Man.” This was actually Columbo‘s pilot episode, first broadcast on March 1, 1971.


Tim made a total of three appearances on Columbo. It’s nice to see him with fellow Cassavetes alum Peter Falk.