Late Night With David Letterman

Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions

Quotes (25)

  • David Letterman: In all those years was there ever any serious mix-ups when a little kid was roughed up on the show? Don "Mr Wizard" Herbert: No, not really, but because of the type of show we were doing anything could happen. Only once during an experiment where we light a candle under a glass bottle with a little coil next to the wick. And one time in rehersal we got the wick wet, so when we later set it up and turned the current on it got hotter and hotter and vaporized the candle so that in the bottle we had a mixture of vaporized parafin and oxygen and it disappeared from the close up. Sssssssswit! Up into the lights. And of course I was shocked because I thought 'my gosh the bottle blew up'. Turned out I heard the bottle clang down behind me so I knew -- and the child standing next to me was covered in water, I was too. As soon as I saw she wasn't hurt I got a towel and dried her off and dried myself off. And we went on doing it. David Letterman: Was she stunned a little bit? Don "Mr Wizard" Herbert: She sure was. And that was the only time we ever edited the show -- we cut the laughter of the crew. David Letterman: (Sarcasticly) Well, what crew doesn't like seeing a child vaporized? Don "Mr Wizard" Herbert: We could hear them laughing all the way in the control room.

  • The show began with these words: Larry 'Bud' Melman: Good evening. Certain NBC executives feel it would be a little unkind to present this show without just a word of friendly warning. We're about to unfold a show featuring David Letterman, a man of science who sought to create a show after his own image -- without reckoning upon God. It's one of the strangest tales ever told. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So, if any of you feel that you don't care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to...well, we've warned you.

  • Dave: In Mexico, it's called El Knob Grande. Here in the United States, we simply call it The Giant Doorknob, and it's a panic. This over-sized novelty doorknob is much larger than it ought to be. In fact, it's just plain big. Simply attach this over an ordinary doorknob and wait for the fireworks. Your friends will flip when they see how truly big a doorknob can be.

  • David: (to Cheryl Tiegs, in a very nice outfit) Is that from Sears?

  • Frank Zappa: (describing the Thing-Fish musical) There's this Evil Prince and part-time theater critic who's found the solution to the white man's burden, which is how to get rid of all unwanted highly rhythmic individuals and sissy-boys. He goes to San Quentin to test this stuff on the inmates because they used them before, when they were working with syphilis. It doesn't kill these guys, it makes them real ugly. They wind up with a head like a potato, lips like a duck, big white gloves like Al Jolson used to wear, and these garments which they refer to as "nakkins," the first part being a nun's habit, and the lower part being Aunt Jemima's dress.

  • Letterman: The days are getting longer, they're getting warmer, we're getting more and more soothing sunshine. Nature is in almost full bloom, and that, of course, means there is only one more full month of professional hockey.

  • Danny Owens: Hey Shawn, we are from Sumter
    David: Oh how cool. Do you know them?
    Shawn Weatherly: (as she looked up in the office as David had them stand up) Never seen them before! (audience laughs hysterically)

  • Dave: Brace yourselves, I'm not kidding. Please welcome, Sam Kinison!

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Notes (265)

  • Warren Zevon was bumped.

  • Bill Murray would be Dave's first guest after his show moved to CBS in 1993.

  • This episode marks the first time Calvert DeForest is referred to by his alter ego, Larry "Bud" Melman.

  • Robert Morton makes his debut on-camera appearance when he alerts first guest Steve Allen to prepare himself for the show.

  • This broadcast was taped just six days after the death of Ozzy Osbourne's frequent collaborator Randy Rhoads. Ozzy looks despondent and distracted throughout his interview with Dave.

  • By the end of Dave's 11 1/2-year run on Late Night, Carol Liefer will have performed more stand-up routines than any other woman on the show.

  • Taped April 29th, 1982.

  • Jerry Seinfeld was bumped.

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Trivia (15)

  • This first episode was also the very first aired when reruns began on A&E in 1991.

  • Due to Conan O'Brian's "Late Night" not being ready by the week Dave moved to CBS, this episode and the nine episodes that followed it reran in the 12:35 EST timeslot on NBC, directly after the first ten episodes of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.

  • To see a clip of the Ozzy Osbourne interview click here.

  • To see a clip of the Ozzy Osbourne interview click here.

  • To see a clip of the Ozzy Osbourne interview click here.

  • You can view the Frank Zappa interview at YouTube here.

  • Dennis Miller's stand-up spot on this episode represents his first network television appearance, as Letterman points out after the first commercial break. Miller would begin his stint on another NBC program, Saturday Night Live, several months later in November 1985.

  • You can view Catherine O'Hara and Andrea Martin's short film "PMS" at YouTube here.

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Allusions (4)

  • David Letterman: (After the Mr Wizard science demo) And as Cathy Lee Crosby would say....'Don't try this at home, kids!' Reference to the early 80s reality show That's Incredible! which Miss Crosby co-hosted and featured death defying stunts and similar warnings.

  • The "Waiting Room Etiquette" Act 2 segment makes reference to an article in the previous day's New York Times. Calvert DeForest had a day job as a part-time rehab center receptionist until his superior belatedly realized who his TV alter ego was, forcing his dismissal. In real life DeForest said he wasn't bitter about the firing, stating that after years of struggling to make it as an actor, he had finally made his chance.

  • Dave: "New technology can keep lettuce and tomato cool, burger hot."
    The "new technology" was a styrofoam package McDonald's used for their short-lived burger called the McDLT. One side of the styrofoam held just the beef patty and bottom bun, the other side had the top bun plus the lettuce, tomato and all condiments. But by 1990, McDonald's ran headlong with the rising number of environmentalists because all the sandwiches were kept in styrofoam. Forced to comply, McDonald's started wrapping all sandwiches, large and small, in paper. That ruined the principle of the McDLT, and it was replaced by the equally-unsuccessful McLean Deluxe in 1991. --Contributed by Sporadically

  • Dave: On Nickelodeon, it's another episode of that popular Western, The Chronic-Fatigue Cowboy.
    Actually, Nickelodeon did have a Western show of sorts, called Hey, Dude!