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Columbo Statue and Dead Squirrel with Gun

A statue of Lieutenant Columbo stands on the corner of Miksa Falk Street in Budapest. But what’s up with the dead squirrel with a gun?

Columbo Statue & Dead Squirrel with Gun
Miksa Falk Street
Budapest, Hungary
GPS: 47.512615, 19.048935

In 2014, the statue of Lieutenant Columbo and his dog from the famous television show “Columbo” was unveiled. 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 is known to have had Hungarian roots on one side of his family and may have been related to the 19th-century Hungarian political figure, Miksa Falk, after whom the street is named. Although they also admit that there are not really sure if this is a fact or not.

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.”

Just behind Columbo, and often missed by many tourists, is a tiny sculpture of a dead squirrel with a gun. This mini-sculpture is part of the Budapest Hidden Tiny Sculpture series and it was not part of the original Columbo installation, but artist Mihály Kolodko created something that fits perfectly with the scene.. and gives a purpose to the confused head-scratching on the Columbo statue. But now there is a mystery to solve. Who killed the squirrel?

I did try to interview many locals at the scene of the crime, and though they all have knowledge of this statue, no-one was willing to go on record to suggest who was responsible for this heinous squirrel-cide. Which means this case goes deeper and is much more sinister we could ever have imagined.

Stop by and say hello to Columbo on Miksa Falk Street and stay to solve the mystery yourself, if you think you’re so smart.

Columbo Theme

The Enduring Legacy of Columbo: 50 Years of TV Excellence

Columbo, the iconic TV series that first graced our screens on September 15th, 1971, remains a television masterpiece even five decades later. Starring Peter Falk as the unassuming but brilliant Lieutenant Columbo, the show revolutionized the cop drama genre, transforming it into a “howcatchem” rather than a traditional “whodunnit.” In this article, we delve into the remarkable history, unique characteristics, and lasting impact of this beloved show.

A Unique Murder Mystery

Columbo was far from your typical murder mystery. Unlike Agatha Christie’s style, where the killer’s identity is concealed until the end, Columbo took a different approach. Audiences witnessed the murder right at the beginning of each episode, typically committed by one of Los Angeles’ elite citizens attempting to protect their reputation. This format set the stage for a captivating cat-and-mouse game.

The “Howcatchem” Detective

Lieutenant Columbo, known for his rumpled appearance, cigar-chomping habits, and raincoat, was the epitome of an unconventional TV detective. Instead of relying on brute force or traditional police methods, Columbo used his amiable demeanor and sharp wit to unravel the murderer’s seemingly perfect alibi. His investigations often involved elaborate set pieces, leading to dramatic confrontations with the culprits.

An Unlikely Worldwide Phenomenon

Columbo, despite its niche concept, thrived on intelligent, detailed scripts and Peter Falk’s stellar performance. It spanned eight series from 1971 to 1978 and returned sporadically from 1989 to 2003. During its initial ’70s run, the show set the gold standard for event television, attracting both renowned guest stars and emerging talent. Peter Falk’s portrayal earned him four Emmys and a Golden Globe, while the show itself was syndicated across 44 countries, leading to unique tributes worldwide.

The Evolution of Lieutenant Columbo

The character of Lieutenant Columbo actually predated the TV show, originating in a stage play called “Prescription Murder.” Inspired by literary figures like Porfiry Petrovich and GK Chesterton’s works, the creators, William Link and Richard Levinson, initially envisioned Bing Crosby for the role. However, Peter Falk’s passion for the character and his inspired portrayal made him the perfect fit, despite initial reservations about his age.

The Unconventional Detective

Columbo broke the mold for TV detectives of the time. He was neither tall nor macho, didn’t carry a gun, and abhorred violence. His devotion to his wife and endearing quirks, like his “just one more thing” habit, endeared him to audiences. Columbo’s unassuming nature and humanity set him apart from the tough, emotionless detectives of that era.

Falk’s Impact on the Character and Show

Peter Falk’s influence on Columbo extended beyond acting. He molded the entire show to align with his vision. He often rewrote scripts, ad-libbed scenes, and insisted on multiple takes to perfect Columbo’s characteristics. By the second series, Falk had substantial creative control, including veto power over guest stars and production decisions.

The Inverted Mystery Format

Columbo’s inverted mystery format, where the killer and their motive are revealed early, was a unique and challenging aspect of the show. Despite this, the writing successfully maintained audience engagement by focusing on the psychological battle between Columbo and the killer, who consistently underestimated him.

Class Conflict as a Dramatic Device

Columbo consistently pitted the relatable everyman detective against LA’s affluent elite. This class contrast added depth to the show, making the eventual triumph of Columbo over arrogant villains all the more satisfying. Although not explicitly political, it resonated with viewers who enjoyed seeing the wealthy brought down a notch.

The Resurgence and Legacy

The show’s initial run ended in 1978 due to budget disagreements. However, it made a comeback in 1989, albeit with varying success. Columbo’s character evolved as Peter Falk aged, but the enduring appeal remained intact. The series has seen a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic, attracting new generations of fans who appreciate its timeless charm.

The Future of Columbo

Rumors of a Columbo reboot have circulated for years, with potential stars like Mark Ruffalo or Natasha Lyonne. Regardless of future adaptations, it’s the original TV run and Peter Falk’s iconic portrayal that will continue to captivate audiences for years to come.


Columbo stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of a unique television concept, a brilliant actor’s performance, and a character beloved by generations. Its blend of intellect, charm, and the unconventional detective’s triumph over arrogance keeps viewers coming back, even half a century after its debut. As long as there’s an appetite for captivating mysteries and timeless characters, Columbo will have a special place in the hearts of TV enthusiasts worldwide.

Mihály Kolodko: A Sculptor’s Journey

Early Life and Education

Mihály Kolodko, an artist of Hungarian origin on his mother’s side, was born in Ungvár. His journey into the world of art began after graduating from high school when he enrolled at the Béla Erdélyi Vocational Art High School in Ungvár in 1996. His passion for sculpting eventually led him to the Lviv Academy of Arts, where he graduated from the sculpture department in 2002.

The Monumental Sculpture Era

Kolodko’s early artistic interests were rooted in monumental sculpture. However, this genre was more prevalent during the Soviet Union era, characterized by the preference for large, awe-inspiring works. He initially focused on creating public sculptures while honing his skills through individual and group projects. Most of his early sculptures found their home in Ungvár.

Relocating to Hungary

In 2017, Mihály Kolodko made a significant move to Hungary, which also marked a shift in the location of his artistic endeavors. His sculptures began to grace Hungarian landscapes, adding a new dimension to his artistic journey.

Embracing Artistic Freedom

Kolodko strongly believed that the days of centrally determined sculpture creation were long gone. He advocated for giving artists and the public more say in shaping the artistic landscape. This philosophy led to the creation of the Lamplighter statue in Ungvár in 2010, a tribute to Uncle Kolja, a beloved figure from the town.

Mini-Sculptures: A New Frontier

Mihály Kolodko’s artistic exploration took an intriguing turn when he ventured into the realm of mini-sculptures. These diminutive works of art, of great interest to the public, held the power to captivate onlookers just as profoundly as their larger counterparts. This marked a significant evolution in the world of public sculptures.

The Rise of Tiny Sculptures

Initially met with mixed reactions, Kolodko’s small-scale sculptures soon gained popularity on the streets of Ungvár. What began as a personal project, driven by the need to preserve his ideas in the absence of financial support, blossomed into a beloved aspect of the town’s cultural landscape.

A Nod to Childhood Memories

One of Kolodko’s most cherished creations in Budapest is the Főkucache statue. Standing at 15 cm tall, this statuette pays homage to a beloved childhood fairy-tale character, one that Kolodko wanted his own children to embrace just as he had in his youth. The series of fairy tales held a special place in his heart as it was during these tales that he learned the Hungarian language.

The Guerrilla Sculpture Movement

The tiny sculptures created by Kolodko quickly became a sensation, to the extent that some were stolen multiple times. Notably, a second copy of the Mekk Elek statue, affectionately referred to as “Mekk Elek 2.0,” was placed in the square. The term “guerrilla sculpture” emerged from the fact that these artworks were installed in public spaces without official permission, initially operating in a regulatory gray area.

Leaving His Mark

Mihály Kolodko’s signature can be found on some of his works, like the statue of Ignác Roskovics, where his mark [Kolodko] adorns the pencil held in the right hand of the full-length figure. His name also graces the helmet of a drunken Roman legionnaire, etched on the brim as a testament to his artistic legacy.

Mihály Kolodko’s journey as a sculptor has been marked by a profound evolution, from monumental sculptures to the guerrilla mini-sculptures that have captured the hearts of the public. His artistry serves as a testament to the power of creativity and the enduring impact of public art.

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