Wow. David Letterman announcing his upcoming retirement shocked me. It shouldn’t have. We all knew it was coming. No one was under the impression Letterman would be hosting The Late Show until he dies. He’d host it until Jay Leno was out of the collective consciousness or dropped dead. Once Leno said goodbye to The Tonight Show stage one last time, Letterman’s days were numbered. All he did today was confirm everyone’s assumption.
When all is said and done, Letterman will have hosted a late night talk show for 33 years: 11 as host of NBC’s Late Night, the last 22 will be with The Late Show and CBS. It’s hard to believe that 5 years ago few people expected Letterman to surpass his idol Johnny Carson’s reign in late night, which was an impressive 30 years. Now, we’re wondering how CBS will fill the hole in their lineup when Letterman leaves next year.
Yesterday, August 29, marked David Letterman’s 20th year hosting the Late Show on CBS. While fans are probably a little disappointed that Dave didn’t give in and do a retrospective episode or primetime special (Neither one was ever going to happen. This is Letterman we’re talking about.), there’s no reason we can’t, with the help of YouTube, take a look back at Dave’s time on CBS.
Dave may not have gotten The Tonight Show and NBC may have tried to sue him for using their intellectual property, but that didn’t stop Dave from bringing Larry “Bud” Melman, now using his real name, Calvert DeForest, to CBS. In fact, DeForest was the first person seen on the Late Show. Unfortunately, the clip below doesn’t have DeForest’s appearance on the first show, but it does have Ed Sullivan introducing Dave.
I know for some people it is hard to believe that Johnny Carson has not hosted The Tonight Show in 20 years. While I am too young to remember Johnny, I am aware of his legacy. As a David Letterman fan, I constantly hear Dave talk about how Johnny is the only true King of Late Night. To remember Johnny and his legacy, here is his appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Johnny even brings his own desk.
Part 2 of the video is after the link.