Many people seem to know the possibly apocryphal story about how Bing Crosby was originally offered the role of Lt. Columbo in the TV movie PRESCRIPTION: MURDER. Some have also heard that Lee J. Cobb was offered the role as well (a role he more or less would play in his final performance, in THE EXORCIST).
True aficionados, though, know full well that Thomas Mitchell played it in the stage play version.
BUT! How many of you realize that the TV movie was, yes, based on that stage play but that the stage play itself was adapted from a 1960 teleplay that aired on THE CHEVY MYSTERY SHOW and starred character actor Bert Freed as the very FIRST actor to portray Lt. Columbo?
Long thought to be lost, someone posted the entire episode on YouTube a couple of years back but it's gone now.