Big discounts on
stuff you want!

Save money!
Peabody & Sherman cartoons on DVD Mayberry RFD on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD After School Specials on DVD 1950's Saturday Morning Shows
TV Shows on DVD/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / Movies on Blu Ray/ / / / / / / Holiday Specials on DVD / / / / / / Classic Commercials








Rich Little Interview 2014

David LettermanWhen he retires next year, David Letterman will have been at a late night desk for 33 years. That's longer than anyone else, and it's a record that will never be surpassed. But Dave wasn't an overnight success. In fact, he spent the first half of his life preparing to host a late night show, and the last half actually doing it. His time in the wilderness included jobs as a DJ, TV weatherman, TV sitcom writer, ensemble cast member of a variety show, stand-up comedian, and host of a failed talk show which wasted his brand of wackiness on the wrong audience at the wrong time of day. In 1982, NBC corrected that mistake by giving Dave his own show at 12:30am, following Johnny Carson, the man he idolized and eventually wanted to replace. In the end, Carson lobbied for Dave, but NBC gave Jay Leno "The Tonight Show", and Dave found a home at CBS.

David LettermanThough Dave's hero was Carson, it would be a mistake to say that he was solely a product of Carson's style. In fact, Letterman is what I refer to as a hybrid pioneer of late night. His wacky stunts and lighting fast wit is all Steve Allen. My favorite Allen ad lib slipped out while he was interviewing a little girl, who said she liked to go to the beach. "What do you do at the beach"? asked Steve. "I dig" said the girl. "I'm hip" quipped Allen without a pause. Fast forward to last week, when Dave introduced a high school student who had been accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges. Dave looked into the camera, and as an afterthought said, "He'll probably end up just going to four or five of them". Pure Allen.

What Dave inherited from Carson was mastery of the wry comeback. Take for instance the night he tried to interview space cadet Joaquin Phoenix who showed up incognito. At the end of the segment Dave said, "I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight".

Then there's the gravitas of Dave which was handed down to him by Jack Paar and Dick Cavett. It's a rare ability which served Letterman well immediately following 9/11. It let him know just when to return to the air, and just what to say when he got there. Dave also inherited Paar and Cavett's intellectual curiosity, which he has demonstrated time and again when interviewing serious people about serious topics. Like last week, for instance.

That's when former President Jimmy Carter visited the Ed Sullivan theatre to plug his new book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power", which details horrific abuses against women throughout the world. Within moments after the interview began, Dave had abandoned his notes, and engaged Carter in a lively, unrehearsed dialogue about how to combat abuse. He then wandered seamlessly into a discussion about everything from the Crimean conflict, to alternative sources of energy.

But Dave is also a master of timing, and knew when and how to break the tension of a serious conversation. At one point Carter mentioned that he has twelve grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, "21 in all" said Carter. "You have your own Congressional district, don't you?" quipped Dave. And at the end of the interview, Dave lifted the mood by saying to the former President, "I thought you were going to be a lot funnier". The Carter interview was vintage Letterman, and it's why we watch him, because no other TV host in any day part, on any channel could have pulled it off with such aplomb.

Much has been written lately about how the new generation of late night hosts is taking younger viewers away from Dave, the same kind of viewers he had attracted in years past. But guess what? Back then, those viewers included the likes of Fallon, Kimmel, Meyers, Hall, Ferguson, Stewart, Colbert, and O'Brien, all of who have, in some way, copied or embraced the Letterman style. In that regard, Dave not only influenced those guys, he made it possible for them to carve out their own non traditional niche within a very traditional genre.

Dave once said, "I can't sing. I can't dance, and I can't act. So what else would I be but a talk show host?" Maybe so, but David Letterman turned out to be the most complete and best damn late night host in history, and that's no small feat. Although I don't know what the size of his feat have to do with anything.

Dave, I'll miss you. You're hip, and I dig.

TV Creators

Jim Longworth is a
columnist for YESWeekly
and author of TV Creators
vols 1 &2

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
It is what it is!

David Letterman's Legacy


Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments


Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Sammy Davis, Jr / Steve & Eydie/ Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Biff Burger / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You /  Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor big brotherShow / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

Everything is here
at a discount!

Save money!
Carol Burnett Show on DVD Flipper on DVD Groucho Marx on DVD Fat Albert on DVD Hogan's Heroes on DVD Soupy Sales DVD
Looking for classic TV DVDs? See below:
TV Commercials on DVD Wrestling DVDs Classic TV Books
Jim Longworth Christmas Specials TV Shows on BLU-RAY

Save money!