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The Cheap Detective (1978) Poster

Trivia

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The farewell scene between Lou Peckinpaugh (Peter Falk) and Marlene DuChard (Louise Fletcher) was shot on the same sound stage that was used for the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman farewell in Casablanca (1942).
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The movie was titled "The Cheap Detective", according to writer Neil Simon, "because the detective in those old films never got paid! Who paid Humphrey Bogart for finding all those crooks in The Maltese Falcon (1941)? He arrested Mary Astor and sent her and everyone else to jail. Who paid him? . . . The character is always involved in danger not for the bucks but because it's his lifestyle".
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This picture was inspired by the box-office success of Neil Simon's Murder by Death (1976), which also starred Peter Falk as Sam Diamond, a spoof of Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon (1941). However, Falk's character in this movie, is still a Bogart parody, being a spoof of Bogart's Rick Blaine from Casablanca (1942) as well as being an extension of both the Sam Spade character and Falk's Columbo TV persona as well.
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The movie's character spoofs are as follows: Eileen Brennan's Betty DeBoop is a spoof of Lauren Bacall's Marie "Slim" Browning from To Have and Have Not (1944); Madeline Kahn's Mrs. Montenegro is a spoof of Mary Astor's Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon (1941); John Houseman's Jasper Blubber is a spoof of Sydney Greenstreet's Kasper Gutman ("The Fat Man") in "The Maltese Falcon"; Dom DeLuise's Pepe Damascus is a spoof of Peter Lorre's Joel Cairo; Fernando Lamas' Paul DuChard is a spoof of Paul Henreid's Victor Laszlo from Casablanca (1942); Paul Williams' Boy is a spoof of Elisha Cook Jr.; Scatman Crothers' pianist Tinker is a spoof of Dooley Wilson's piano player Sam from "Casablanca"; Louise Fletcher's Marlene DuChard is a spoof of Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa Lund from "Casablanca"; Peter Falk's Lou Peckinpaugh is a spoof of two Humphrey Bogart characters, Sam Spade from "The Maltese Falcon" and Rick Blaine from "Casablanca" and an extension of his Sam Diamond character from Murder by Death (1976) and his "Columbo" character from television.
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The name of the bar, Nix Place, is a spoof of the bar Rick's Place from Casablanca (1942). Neil Simon claimed that Warner Bros. had saved light fixtures and decorations from Humphrey Bogart's club in Casablanca (1942), allowing them to be reused as props for Charles B. Pierce's Nix Place set. He also claimed some of the original waiters were reused as well.
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Madeline Kahn's character uses 16 names: Denise Manderley, Wanda Coleman, Gilda Dabney, Chloe LaMarr, Alma Chalmers, Alma Palmers, Vivian Purcell, Carmen Montenegro, Diane Glucksman, Mrs. Danvers, Natasha Ublenskaya, Sophie DeVega, Mary Jones, Lady Edwina Morgan St. Paul, Norma Shearer, and Barbara Stanwyck. The name used most is Mrs. Montenegro.
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Cast returning in this movie from Murder by Death (1976) included Peter Falk, Eileen Brennan, James Coco, and James Cromwell. The pictures also share the same writer Neil Simon, director Robert Moore, producer Ray Stark and quite a number of other crew personnel.
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The picture was completely shot on studio sound stages.
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Writer Neil Simon remained on the set to take care of re-writes, as he had done with this picture's predecessor, Murder by Death (1976).
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In order to cash in on the box-office success of this film's predecessor Murder by Death (1976) (which was a parody of locked-room mystery thrillers), some posters for this follow up (which is different, a spoof of 1940s private eye, film noir and foreign intrigue thrillers) were designed with cartoons of 15 characters (evoking a cast of suspects) situated under a giant headline that read "Who Dunnit?".
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The detective partners are named Peckinpaugh and Merkle. Roger Peckinpaugh and Fred Merkle were two well known baseball players in the early 20th century.The piano player is named Tinker. Joe Tinker was a famous shortstop for the Cubs. Other characters include Sgt Rizzuto, Sgt Crosseti, and Lt. DiMaggio, all famous Yankees.
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"Sam Diamond" is a combination of Dashiell Hammett's character "Sam Spade" and "Richard Diamond", played by Dick Powell on radio and David Janssen on TV.
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One of three movies written by Neil Simon that were directed by Robert Moore. The others are Murder by Death (1976) and Chapter Two (1979).
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One of five films written by Neil Simon that featured his then wife Marsha Mason. The others are The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979), Only When I Laugh (1981), and Max Dugan Returns (1983).
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John Houseman replaced George Kirby to play Jasper Blubber.
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Second of three Neil Simon-written films featuring James Coco. The others are Murder by Death (1976) and Only When I Laugh (1981), the latter being the only one based on one of Simon's plays. Coco also appeared in a stage version of Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) on Broadway.
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One of 11 movies made by writer Neil Simon and producer Ray Stark. The others are Murder by Death (1976), California Suite (1978), Chapter Two (1979), The Sunshine Boys (1975), Seems Like Old Times (1980), The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Slugger's Wife (1985), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), Biloxi Blues (1988) and Lost in Yonkers (1993).
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Cameo 

Phil Silvers: As Hoppy, a cab driver.
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