Falk the Police is a hilarious and brilliantly executed tribute to actor Peter Falk

15 July 2016

Sometimes you come across a creative project that’s just so baffling and bonkers that you lose the best part of a day staring it its looping, psychedelic weirdness. Such is the case with Falk the Police, possibly one of the finest uses of Tumblr we’ve seen thanks to its combination of three of our favourite things: trippy visuals, puns and Columbo star Peter Falk.

The Tumblr and its images were created by illustrator and graphic designer Ben McLeavy, and it shows Falk in various situations that pun on the actor’s name.

“It all started with a pun. And a place to store Peter Falk images,” Ben explains. “In fact, the first version of FTP was simply that, an endless scroll of Peter Falk photos almost entirely taken from a single epic Google image search… Columbo looking happy with a dog, perplexed yet cheerful while holding a shoe, that sort of thing. Odd but a little banal. It remained like that for a while – my own personal Peter Falk photo database.”

Ben then found that he began to use the site for something else: a new way of communicating, that replaced emojis or stickers in online conversations. “This was mostly met with bemusement and at least one question of ‘are you ok, Ben?’, but really, I am,” he says. “It also wasn’t just to amuse myself. I found, like the countless people he’s worked with in the past, Peter Falk is versatile. More than that, there is something continually engaging about his face, his manner. Warmth seems to radiate out of pictures of him – I wanted to share that.”

The images were created in Photoshop, taking shots of Falk and manipulating them with filters and playing with size – “anything to degrade and distort the image in some way.” Later pieces were made using a mix of Photoshop and Premiere. The restrictions Tumblr places on gif size meant that Ben was forced to limit the colour palette and reduce the dimensions of the images, so that when blown up to full screen, it produced this “blocky saturated aesthetic that I enjoyed.”

“It’s reminiscent of those video game title screens of my youth that would slowly draw themselves line by line, crash halfway through loading and then garishly glitch at you,” says Ben.


Ben McLeavy: Falk on the Wild Side


Ben McLeavy: Falk the Slayer


Ben McLeavy: Fire Falk with ME


Ben McLeavy: Home Alone Lost in New Falk


Ben McLeavy: Look Who’s Falking


Ben McLeavy: These Boots are made for Falking

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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