To see a clip of Pete Townshend's performance of "Pinball Wizard" click here.
Johnny Carson claims Dave Letterman won the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes' grand prize. But Ed McMahon always used to pitch the American Family Publishers sweepstakes. Whether Carson was trying to protect American Family Publishers or McMahon is anybody's guess.
Across the hall from Dave, Live at 5 was saying goodbye to long time anchor Jack Cafferty. Although no mention was made on Late Night (Dave being mad that L@5 forbid him from breaking in on their live newscasts), a short clip of Dave interrupting a Jack Cafferty interview was shown on L@5 during a clip retrospective.
To see a clip of Dave and Ted Nugent singing "The Christmas Song" click here.
Sid McGinnis makes perhaps his only mistake in his 31-year run as Late Show/Late Night guitarist, starting "I'm No Angel" a full step higher but correcting himself as soon as the rest of the band comes in.
The show included a joke specifically for people who recorded the show on a VCR and watched it later. At one point in the monologue, Letterman said to the cue card person --I believe the woman who preceded Tony Mendez-- something like, "Let's skip that one." The shot then turned to a view of the cue card person, allowing a quick glance by anyone who had recorded the show and hit pause at the joke being discarded. The card read:
INCIDENT OCCURRED DURING
LAST NITES [sic] SHOW. AT ONE
POINT WE HIT A LULL, AND
A WOMAN JUMPED UP OFF OF
HER SEAT AND SCREAMED
OH MY GOD I CAN'T FAST FORWARD
During the "Making Friends on Our Interstate Highways" sequence, David Letterman misspells Brandon Tartikoff's last name with a C, rather than a K.
Bill Hicks' stand-up set is edited twice due to jokes the producer and/or network was uncomfortable with. The jokes involved a classmate who breaks his back and a televangelist who was audited by the IRS. As the closing credits roll, Hicks is seen apologizing to producer Robert Morton.
You can view Catherine O'Hara and Andrea Martin's short film "PMS" at YouTube here.
During the annual "New Halloween Costumes" segment, the same boy plays Walter Matthau and the automatic tarp machine.
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 the Frank Zappa interview at YouTube here.
Before the closing credits, Dave apologizes to Dr. Arlyne Ginder, an edible plant expert, for being bumped. After the credits, we see Dr. Ginder hanging out in the green room, saying she'll hang out there until tomorrow. "Dr. Ginder" was a character played by Late Night Talent Coordinator Sandra Furton.
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.