Friday, May 22, 2015

Television Corner: "Goodnight to The Late Show with David Letterman"

May 22nd, 1992: The "king of late night," Johnny Carson (1925-2005) hosted his final episode of The Tonight Show on NBC.

August 6th, 1993: Joe Franklin (1926-2015) retired from hosting his local New York (and later, Secaucus) talk show, The Joe Franklin Show.  Throughout Franklin's 40 years in television from his WABC and WOR/WWOR shows, the pioneering talk show host hosted more than 21,425 programs (more on "the king of nostalgia" here).

December 18th, 2014: Stephen Colbert hosted his last episode of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central (along with ending his fake "pundit" character).  That same evening, Craig Ferguson hosted his final episode The Late Late Show on CBS (read the previous blog post here).

May 20th, 2015: After 33 years in late night television (on NBC and CBS), David Letterman bid farewell to The Late Show on CBS.

Regis Philbin with David Letterman on the second-to-last
Late Show with David Letterman on CBS (May 19th, 2015).
"It's beginning to look like I'm not going to get the 'Tonight Show'."  -David Letterman, on his final telecast of the Late Show with David Letterman, May 20th, 2015

Bandleader Paul Shaffer and David Letterman
from their NBC years (from New York Magazine, circa 1986).
Throughout his career in television, there were a lot of interesting parts of Letterman's NBC and CBS shows, including Paul Shaffer's musical accompaniments, the famous Top Ten lists, Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks, Small Town News, Is This Anything?, the Summer and Winter Toy testDave's Record Collection, Biff Henderson's America, The Late Show Christmas Meatball Challenge, Kid ScientistsPat & Kenny Read Oprah TranscriptsKnow Your Current Events, Will It Float?, Great Moments in Presidential Speeches, Viewer Mail (later known as the CBS Mailbag), throwing ordinary objects off the roof of a building, contestant games at Rupert Jee's Hello Deli and other sketches throughout the show.  His unique and off-beat humor set the pace for modern late night talk show programs.

Letterman's final show began with stock footage of President Gerald Ford, and his famous statement from his inauguration speech after Richard Nixon resigned from the office of the presidency in 1974: "Our long national nightmare is over."  There were pre-recorded messages from Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama uttering Ford's phrase.

The last Late Show included his opening monologue, the final Top Ten list (with surprise cameo appearances), classic moments from his short-lived NBC morning show, his NBC "Late Night" program, along with classic comedic moments from the Late Show, including Letterman working at Taco Bell.

Letterman concluded his extended "farewell" show with "A Day in the life of David Letterman," a short retrospective on his career, praise for Stephen Colbert, a fond farewell to his audience and viewers at home, and a special musical performance by the Foo Fighters, set to images and clips from Letterman's programs on NBC and CBS.

The one part that I do regret is that I never went to New York to attend a taping of Letterman's show.

Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Letterman.  At The Matinee wishes Letterman, Paul Shaffer, Biff Henderson, Chris Elliott, Rupert Jee, Alan Kalter, Pat Farmer and the entire Late Show staff and crew (past and present) on their successes throughout the years.

In a field dominated by Conan O'Brien (who paid tribute to Letterman) and "Jimmys" (Jimmy Kimmel, who also paid tribute to Letterman, and to a lesser extent- Jimmy Fallon) on the late night circuit, television will never be the same without David Letterman.

I think it would beneficial if there was another Carson, Letterman, Franklin, or Jon Stewart (who is leaving Comedy Central's The Daily Show in August).

More on Letterman here and here.


"LATE SHOW" FURNITURE, DESK AND PROPS TAKEN OUT OF THE ED SULLIVAN THEATER (ALONG WITH THEATER SEATS) FOR REMODELING: According to (a sister entertainment news platform to Variety), CBS is remodeling their Ed Sullivan Theater stage for the Stephen Colbert version of The Late Show, after David Letterman's final Late Show telecast wrapped up on Wednesday evening.

Letterman's desk, along with Paul Shaffer's band podiums have been moved into storage, while other props and set pieces are unfortunately being thrown into the dumpster (according to Deadline, several fans of Letterman's show have "rescued" several pieces of the set from the dumpster).

It has been reported that CBS is remodeling the theater seats in the Ed Sullivan Theater, by discarding existing theater seats from the auditorium (and into the dumpster).

The head writer and founder of At The Matinee is a fellow Letterman fan and cinema enthusiast.  He would like to have some old Letterman-era theater seats from the Ed Sullivan Theater (not only would it make a great piece of Letterman memorabilia, several seats would be great for cinema-style seating at the headquarters of At The Matinee).  

If anyone from the New York area (including representatives from CBS and/or Worldwide Pants) are interested, feel free to drop me a line on the comments section of At The Matinee, or drop a line at the following e-mail addresses on your screen:

Thanks for your interest!

-Chris Hamby
Hood College student and head writer/proprietor, Chris Hamby's At The Matinee

No comments:

Post a Comment

The proprietor of "At The Matinee", Chris Hamby- welcomes your comments and suggestions on any post featured. NOTE: All comments are monitored by the author.