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Robert Metzler "Colombo" Diaries

Identifier: MsC0097

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Scope and Contents

Writer and producer Robert Metzler was hired by NBC Television to work on the "Colombo" series starring Peter Falk on Mach 26, 1975. From that day until November 23, 1977, he kept a diary with nearly daily entries, often extensive, through 1976; the entries become less frequent and briefer in 1977, and Metzler had left the show before the end of the year.

Metzler provides extensive and intimate details of deals, writers, actors, scripts, people hired and fired, Universal Productions, NBC, and almost daily dealings with Peter Falk. In May 1975, the entire company withdrew to Mexico to shoot an episode over a 20-day period that Metzler records in considerable detail.

Three detailed manuscript diaries kept by Metzler as he worked with Peter Falk and others in the production of the television series, "Colombo". There are two additional folders with a typed memo and a letter as well as related ephemera.


  • Creation: 1975-1977


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Metzler began as a junior writer in 1939 with MGM after he won a national screenwriting contest sponsored by the studio.

After MGM, Metzler moved on to Fox, and then Republic and Warner Bros., writing numerous B-movies including “Riders of the Purple Sage,” “Circumstantial Evidence” and “No Common Clay.”

At the same time, Metzler wrote for such radio programs as the “Count of Monte Cristo” and “Philip Marlow.”

In the 1950s, Metzler produced almost 50 of Walt Disney Prods.’ “True Life Adventure” films.

He then moved to NBC, where he produced “Columbo,” “Supertrain” and the “Bestsellers” series for the network. In 1955, Metzler began his volunteer tenure as the business manager for the Academy Awards, which lasted until his death.

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Language of Materials



Writer and producer Robert Metzler was hired in March 1975 to work on the NBC television series Colombo starring Peter Falk. He continued on the show into 1977, making near daily diary entries that record behind-the-scenes activity in great detail.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were purchased from bookseller Charles Apfelbaum in March 2002. Guide posted to Internet: August 2004.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)