On this date in 1965, Gino Nardo interviewed potential singing pupils for private vocal coaching sessions at the Pepperment Playhouse at 124 Main Street according to this March 22 Long Beach Independent ad. Mr. Nardo had worked in radio, television, and night clubs and with stars like Frank Sinatra, Robert Goulet, and Jane Powell.
On the September 24, 1972, the Long Beach Press-Telegram printed a photo of Nardo with Anne Baxter with a captioned mentioning that he was playing her first husband in an upcoming episode of Columbo titled “Death by Starlight.” By the time it aired on January 21, 1973, the episode name had been changed to “Requiem for a Falling Star.” Anne Baxter played Nora Chandler, a fading movie star and murder suspect.
There’s just one thing that doesn’t make sense about that photo in the newspaper. IMDB doesn’t list a Gino Nardo as part of the cast, and yet there’s this photo of him with Anne Baxter.
It kept niggling at me.
It didn’t come together until I read a synopsis of the episode. Nora’s first husband Al Cumberland disappeared under mysterious circumstances years before, so he isn’t actually seen in the episode, but when Columbo is nosing around Nora’s home (as one does when one is a tv detective), he notices a photo of Nora Chandler with her missing first husband, studio chief Al Cumberland.
You’ll have to hunt down the episode yourself to see how Columbo solves the crime. If you do, watch carefully when Peter Falk examines Nora’s photo collection. You might catch a glimpse of a vocal coach from Seal Beach.
(Columbo is a fun but preposterous character, of course. No one in real life could ever be that obsessive about trivial details.)
– Michael Dobkins
Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?
If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.
Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.
This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.