Wednesday, May 20, 2015

David Letterman Rings Out

Reflecting on David Letterman's final episode, set to air later this evening, several favorite moments from the show -- including a few with Olympic rings -- come to mind.

Maybe not enough for a Top 10 list, but a few worth noting as the television milestone is here.

My earliest Letterman memories date to summer of 1986.

Though youthful staying up late was permitted years prior, that summer between seventh and eighth grades was my first with my very own in-bedroom TV, so I was more inclined to (and could get away with) keeping the tube on past midnight.

In those days, GE was the new owner of NBC, and Letterman made a lot of jokes about the "GE Guys" (I suspect most of this footage was purged from the archive when Letterman jumped to CBS). Encouraged by a reader letters segment, I hand-carved a candle with cartoonish "GE Guys" suitable for on-air burning (sadly it was never mailed -- never could catch the mailing address).

That was the summer they crushed items with a large press, and it was also the age of the "thrill cam"
and later a "tiger cam" attack on Paul Shaffer as a would-be big cat (a cleverly-placed boom camera) lunged across the audience in a few bounds to a terrified band leader. Very funny.

The ever-changing "home office" references sent me to the atlas several times.

Sort of lost track of Letterman during later years of high school, but picked up again whenever tabloid TV raved about specific episodes. Favorites: Cher proclaiming her hunch that Letterman was an {bleep}hole, and Drew Barrymore flashing her tattoo-covered bare midriff and other body parts.

The Sonny and Cher reunion the following year was must see TV. Maybe tonight Cher will perform "I Got You, Dave" as an homage to the 1987 clip of "I Got You, Babe."

In 1994, Letterman's Olympic coverage from Lillehammer was a nice break from Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding coverage. And it was fun to see David's mom and technician Biff as Olympic correspondents again live from Nagano in 1998.

Of course, Olympic athlete appearances on the show were always fun to watch.

I'll miss Letterman but admit the "new blood" arrival of Stephen Colbert is appealing. Thanks to David Letterman for many funny five-ringed TV moments and lots of laughs.

Photos via CBS

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