The First Episode of Late Night with David Letterman.
The picture above is one that was captured during the first ever episode of Late Night with David Letterman. Back in 1982, the time of the premier, Letterman had some brief experience with hosting an entertainment program as he had just been responsible for a morning show that was unfortunately cancelled after a measly 18 weeks.
Not yet ready to give up, Letterman insisted that NBC keep him around to help do guest work for Johnny Carson’s show at the time. Eventually, due to his increasing popularity, the network decided it would be a good idea to give Letterman a second chance. By the time the show was put together, Merrill Markoe, Letterman’s girlfriend at the time, was slated to be head writer. After gathering a seasoned team of television veterans to act as crew, Late Night was ready to launch.
The first episode opened with a sketch that was based off of the opening monologue of the film Frankenstein (1931) followed by David coming out on stage surrounded by a swarm of dancers. With the ever-present band director, Paul Shaffer playing the intro, the show had officially begun. Letterman revealed his first guest to be Bill Murray. The two spent their time together on stage bickering at each other about how the show was going, but that was all scripted of course. The two played off each other very well to create a dynamite premier and cement the launch of Letterman’s first successful show. Murray would even go on to be Letterman’s final guest on the final episode of his proceeding show, Late Show with David Letterman.
Writer / Quiz Creator
Andrew Nicholas is a passionate reader and writer on the subjects of history and mankind. He is a published author, critic, and poet who grew up in the friendly scenery of rural Ohio. He is a graduate of Wright State University and a regular student of historical curiosities.