It was briefly. VERY briefly. And to say “met” is to grossly exaggerate. “Met” implies an exchange of words, maybe a handshake… an assessment. My meeting Peter Falk consisted of him looking at me somewhat dubiously from the front door of his house just south of Sunset in Beverly Hills and me looking back at him from the driver seat of my 1965 primer-coated Mustang parked at the curb across the street. Between us was his daughter Jackie walking away from him and toward me. It was 1982. My senior year at Beverly. Her senior year, too, but I don’t think she graced the same halls I mostly skulked and slunked through.
For the life of me I can’t remember the particulars of how it came to be that I somehow managed to convince his daughter Jackie to go out with me. I don’t think there was begging involved, but there could’ve been. Such amnesia is disturbing because I had a desperately lousy batting average with dating through my years in high school, and with such little success you’d think I’d actually be able to recall all the details of this one positive standing out in a forest of rejection and unrequitedness. Especially since Jackie was a babe — and had a famous dad.
But such is my middle-aged mind, scrubbed of those details.
What I do remember of the date was that a few hours later after whatever dinner we had and whatever movie we saw, I was parked in the same exact spot only this time returning her home. We sat for a few moments reflecting on what fun we both had and on impulse I went to steal a kiss and she arrested me with a deft turn of her pretty cheek.
I sat back and saw out of the corner of my eye that she was looking at the house before getting out of the car and saying goodnight. I got the sense that maybe Jackie’s dad was watching â€” but not from an open front door this time. And not that his observing might have been the cause of her deflection. She just wasn’t that interested, as evidenced by the fact that there wasn’t a second date.
But if he was watching, I hope that he was relieved I wasn’t the scoundrel he might have initially thought me to be.
Rest in peace, Peter Falk.
And just one more thing: Coincidentally, Jackie wasn’t the only daughter of a famous TV detective (and later infinitely more infamous in real life), who I crushed on and dated â€” and just about as briefly. About four years later while in my first apartment in Van Nuys I met Robert Blake’s daughter Deli when she was visiting a girlfriend of hers living in the same building as me.