David Letterman Timeline

11/30/27Hammerstein's Theater opens for its first play. On December 10, 1967, the theater takes its most-recent name, The Ed Sullivan Theater.
11/24/78Dave first appears on the Tonight show.
2/01/82first episode of Late Night with David Letterman, with Bill Murray, Warren Zevon and Mr. Wizard
2/04/82Stupid Pet Tricks premiere (a bunny on a skateboard and a dog using a phone)
1/03/84The Conspiracy Guy - last episode
2/22/84Reverse Image Show
3/27/842nd Custom Show
9/06/84The Suit of Alka Seltzer®
9/11/84Dog Poetry
10/15/84The Guy Under the Seats premieres
12/84Kenny the Gardener's first visit
1/26/85NBC 3rd Anniversary Special
2/14/85Jungle Jack Hanna's first visit
2/14/85The Human Sponge
5/13/85Los Angeles shows
6/12/85the Late Night Anthem
6/16/85Thrill Cam first used
June '85goodbye to the old wood desk
7/23/85first stereo broadcast
7/31/85Miss Humidity crowned
8/19/85Dave annoys the Today show with a bullhorn. The feud with Bryant Gumbel begins.
9/18/85first Top Ten list (Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme with Peas)
9/22/85an Emmy for writing
11/20/85"Too Tired to Do a Show" (from the 14th floor)
11/21/85The Fugitive Guy - last episode
11/26/85Japanese Show
11/30/85David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival
11/30/85the WMDB's "Dress Cool" video premieres
12/12/85first Guest Cam (Tom Hanks)
12/18/85first Band Cam
2/01/86NBC 4th Anniversary Special
2/12/86Larry "Bud" Melman looks for defectors outside the Soviet Mission.
2/17/86Chris Elliott as Gerard Mulligan's baby
2/17/86Lip-Synced Show
2/25/86Parents' Night (from 14th floor)
3/19/86LNMC2 Premiere (monkey cam)
4/03/86the actor-singer dies
4/08/86G. E. corporate handshake
5/05/86Anton Fig's first day as a regular
5/14/86the Neanderthal skull on wheels
5/21/86Jack Coleman & Morgan Brittany provide color commentary
6/16 to
shows taped in studio 8H
6/27/86Dave appears on Tonight (with Judge Wapner) to settle the dispute with Johnny Carson over Dave's junky pick-up.
7/15/86Confetti Cannon - first appears
7/15/86Relief Host (Bridget Jackson)
8/07/86Dave answers Colleen Boyle's "Viewer Mail" letter in person.
9/21/86Dave hosts the Emmy awards.
9/21/86an Emmy for writing
10/30/86Jack Hanna's camels' humps break the ceiling tiles
11/05/86Late Night Cow Cam
11/12/86Mr. November
11/25/86the Suit of Magnets
11/28/862nd David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival
12/08/86"Hungry Are the Damned" by the Peace Through Dramatization Players
12/09/86360° Rotation Show / 360° achieved at :55 minutes
12/22/86Julia Child cooks with a blowtorch
1/05/87Home Office moves to Scottsdale, Arizona
2/07/87NBC 5th Anniversary Special
3/19/87360° Thrill Cam Plus
6/12/87first Friday show
6/29/87day one of the 118-day NABET strike against NBC
7/15/87first show during the NABET strike
7/28/87Dave calls "Larry Bud" Calvert for the first time on-air
8/04/87Barry Sand's last day as producer of LNDL
8/05/87Robert Morton's first day as producer
9/15/87The Dancing Waters are now The Prancing Fluids
9/20/87an Emmy for writing
9/21/87Rerun Plus
9/29/87Paul Shaffer's Prancing Fluids, Jr. - first appearance
10/28/87Tom Jones sings the theme for "Supermarket Finds"
11/13/87Sonny and Cher sing "I've Got You Babe"
11/18/87first visit with the pregnant Connie Plescoe
11/20/87first real glass in the set windows
11/20/87The Suit of Rice Krispies®
12/25/87Christmas Show (with Connie Chung, Ted Nugent and the Doodletown Pipers
1/05/88Home Office moves to Lincoln, Nebraska
1/05/88Late Night Bubble Machines - first appearance
1/19/88first Dave's Lumberyard Finds
2/04/88Chris Elliott, Jr. Show - premiere
2/04/88NBC 6th Anniversary Special
3/01/88Camera Night (14 cameras instead of 4)
3/07/88beginning of a 16-week writers' strike
6/28/88first new show after the writers' strike
6/29/88Hal Gurnee's Network Time Killer - premiere
7/05/88Late Night with David Letterman Show #1000
7/12/88Late Night Fig Cam - first used
9/06/88Toast Launcher - first used
11/04/88Henry Mancini conducts his Viewer Mail theme
11/11/88beginning of Calvert DeForest's Pan American Tour
11/29/88Jumpsuit Night
12/22/88Elf Night
2/01/89Home Office moves to Oklahoma City
2/02/89NBC 7th Anniversary Special
2/10/89Chris Elliott as a barking desk maggot
4/04/89first show in Dolby®
6/07/89Late Night Crash Cam - first used
6/07/89William F. Buckley, Jr. stands in for Paul
1/30/90Home Office moves to Lebanon, Pennsylvania
2/01/90NBC 8th Anniversary Special
3/03/90Viewer Mail assisted by the Unimation® Puma 206 robotic arm
5/02/90Dave calls Johnny Carson and has him fax a joke.
10/05/90retirement of the Unimation® Puma 206 robotic arm
1/16/91the only show never aired (Gulf War coverage pre-empted it after taping)
6/11/91Andrea Sande's first appearance
8/25/91Hal Gurnee wins an Emmy for directing
2/06/92NBC 10th Anniversary Special
3/19/92Home Office moves to Tahlequah, Oklahoma
1/14/93Dave announces he's leaving Late Night
4/07/93Paul's daughter, Victoria Lilly, is born
5/07/93Home Office now in Oneonta, New York
6/25/93last new Late Night with David Letterman / Bruce Springsteen blows the roof off the dump.
8/30/93first Late Show with David Letterman (with approx. 23 million viewers) / Bill Murray is the first guest.
8/30/93Home Office now in Sioux City, Iowa
9/10/93last Late Night with David Letterman repeat shown on NBC
9/20/93Rupert Jee's first appearance (comes in for a standing ovation)
11/11/93Dave calls Johnny Carson for permission to do Stump the Band
11/22/93Mujibur Rahman's and Sirajul Islam's first appearance
12/16/93Nadine Hennelly's first appearance
12/23/93Pete Fatovich retires (sort of).
3/31/94Madonna is a guest, and drops about 13 F bombs.
5/09/94It's the first of five nights from Los Angeles.
6/10/94Mujibur and Sirajul's Coast-to-Coast Tour begins
11/21/94Prime Time Special #1: Paul Newman drops by, and there's a taped bit with Zsa Zsa.
12/02/94Dave and Rupert bother people with "Rupert and Me."
4/12/9520-year-old Drew Barrymore dances on Dave's desk (and flashes him).
5/15/95A week of London shows begins.
5/19/95Dave's mom Dorothy's first visit to the set
5/26/95Hal Gurnee retires as director
6/05/95Jerry Foley's first day as director
6/12/95Home Office now in Grand Rapids, Michigan
8/18/95Bill Wendell retires as announcer
9/04/95Alan Kalter's first day as announcer
2/19/96Prime Time Special #2
5/03/96Home Office moves to Wahoo, Nebraska
5/06/96It's the first of five shows from San Francisco.
5/08/96DDY attends his first Letterman taping, compliments of CBS.
8/26/96first compilation repeat
9/20/96Commercial-Free Show
11/01/96It's an episode from Boston.
11/15/96It's an episode from Chicago.
11/25/96first issue of the Wahoo Gazette
2/24/97Prime Time Special #3
4/25/97Indianapolis Night (first show with an audience from one city)
5/02/97St. Louis Audience Night
5/16/97Denver Audience Night
6/06/97Farrah Fawcett, under the influence of something, has a memorable appearance.
1/26/98The home office is in Worcester, Massachusetts for one night.
5/01/98Paul's head is shaved for LSDL episode #1000.
5/01/98Late Show episode #1000
5/15/98New Orleans Audience Night
10/20/98It's the 3000th show Dave has hosted in late night.
11/23/98Prime Time Special #4 / CBS 5th Anniversary Special
3/29/99premiere of "Know Your Cuts of Meat"
5/21/99Boston Audience Night
12/31/99The millenium ends with a Prime Time Video Special. Mayor Giuliani, Dick Clark and Kevin James are guests.
1/14/00Dave has quadruple bypass surgery
2/07/00Backstage #1 (Dave's home recovering from his bypasses.)
2/21/00Dave returns to television!
12/19/00Tusla, Bosnia show for Task Force Eagle
6/25/01premiere of "Is This Anything?"
9/17/01Dave's first show after 9/11/01
2/01/0220th Anniversary Show (NBC + CBS years combined)
2/06/02premiere of "Will It Float?"
6/07/02Paul's Cape Thing - premiere (David Letterman on cape)
2/26/03GH7 / Dave's bout with shingles begins.
3/31/03Dave returns to the Late Show.
4/08/03Jude Brennan's first day as executive producer
6/06/03GH21 / Dave tries taking Fridays off.
8/29/03CBS 10th Anniversary observed tonight
9/02/03first appearance of the Late Show bear
11/03/03GH25 / Paul Hosts. Harry Joseph Letterman is born near the midnight hour.
12/24/03Dave, Paul and Biff quietly go to Afghanistan to entertain U. S. troops.
12/24/04Dave, Paul and Biff quietly go to Afghanistan to entertain U. S. troops.
5/10/05premiere of "Ape or Artist?"
7/01/05It's the first appearance of Johnny Dark.
8/29/05first episode in High Definition
10/03/05last appearance of the Late Show bear
12/01/05Oprah Winfrey appears on the Late Show for the first time in 16.5 years.
4/30/06premiere of "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches"
5/10/06premiere of "Late Show Fun Facts"
9/18/06It's the beginning of Ventriloquist Week.
9/10/07Dave appears on Oprah.
11/05/07Writers Guild of America strike begins.
1/02/08first new Late Show episode in almost two months
2/05/08first visit of "Lyle the Intern"
9/02/08Dave shares the cover of the Rolling Stone with Tina Fey.
9/23/08Late Show Fun Facts is released by Hyperion.
9/24/08Senator John McCain no-shows — Keith Olbermann stands in at the last minute
10/13/08episode 3,000 of Late Show with David Letterman — no mention made
12/12/08Paul Shaffer is awarded the Order of Canada.
1/28/09last episode of "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches"
3/02/09U2 perform in the first of five straight Late Show episodes.
3/19/09Dave and Regina Lasko are married in Choteau, Montana.
10/06/09Paul Shaffer's book, We'll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-biz Saga, is released.
1/10/10Jay Leno swipes the Tonight Show from Conan.
4/20/10Demi Moore teaches Dave how to use Twitter.
1/14/10Dr. O. Wayne Isom is a guest, 10 years after saving Dave's life.
4/20/10Demi Moore teaches Dave how to use Twitter.
6/25/10Jay-Z and Eminem both perform on the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater
8/25/10Dave appears on The View
9/17/10Letterman Lecture Series: A Conversation with Biz Stone, at Ball State
11/04/10Bill Carter's book, The War for Late Night, is released.
8/22/11Umar al-Basrawi declares a fatwa on Dave for smarting off about al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri.
12/02/11Letterman Lecture Series: A Conversation with Rachel Maddow, at Ball State
1/12/12Dave welcomes his next door neighbors, Steak 'n Shake. (video)
5/07/12It's the first visit from Jane Gabbert as Dave's nursing home nurse.
5/29/12Regis interviews Dave for Piers Morgan Tonight.
6/11/12Dave announces the development of Dave Letterman Park at Broadway & 53rd St.
6/26/12Dave's make-up artist noticed a basal cell carcinoma on his forehead, and it's been removed.
11/26/12Letterman Lecture Series: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey, at Ball State
12/02/12Dave is recognized by The Kennedy Center Honors.
12/26/12The Kennedy Center Honors broadcast date
1/02/13new intro: "From the heart of Broadway, broadcasting across the nation and around the world, it's the Late Show with David Letterman!"
1/06/13Dave appears on Oprah's Next Chapter.
2/15/13With tape rolling, Dave fires Bruce and Linda of the Weekend Late Show. (video)
3/11/13The Live on Letterman series debuts.
8/29/13The Late Show premiered on August 30, 1993. Favorite guest Bill Murray drops by for the 20th anniversary observance. (video)
10/04/13Dave and Les Moonves agree on a contract extension through 2015.
10/15/13Steve Young's book, Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals, is released.
11/05/13Dave's book, This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me): Billionaires in the Wild, is released.
11/20/13Jennifer Lawrence isn't feeling well. The stagehands provide a pink blankie. Jennifer and Dave share the blankie. (video)
11/27/13The Late Show honors crack-loving mayor Rob Ford with this compilation of guests, in Ken Burns' The Statement."
2/09/14Dave visits with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on the 50th anniversary of their first appearance in the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Here's YouTube video of his announcement on April 3, and my video of the entire desk chat.
4/10/14In this press release, CBS announces Stephen Colbert as the new host.
4/23/14Stephen Colbert is a guest after being announced as new Late Show host. (YouTube)
5/02/14Tonight's guest, the adorable Don Rickles, says of Dave's announced retirement, "It's time."
6/03/14Martin Short has another hilarious appearance, and performs "Swimsuit Season." (video)
6/24/14Bill Scheft's book, Shrink Thyself, is released today.
7/23/14CBS announces that Stephen Colbert will air the Late Show from New York.
8/18/14Dave delivers a touching eulogy for Robin Williams.
9/04/14Dave offers a moving and humorous eulogy for Joan Rivers.
10/08/14Today marks the last day on cue cards for Tony Mendez. Todd Seda will take over tomorrow.
10/13/14Many musicians have sat in with the CBSO. Foo Fighters begin an entire week on the Late Show.
11/12/14Jennifer Lawrence has another blockbuster appearance. (video)
12/08/14Joaquin Phoenix, 5' 8", tells about his first yoga lessons from his 6' 2" instructor. She put him in a contorted position called "harnessing the hog," and now they're engaged. Hours later, Joaquin goes on Good Morning America and announces the story was hogwash. (video)
12/10/14CBS announces that Dave's last Late Show will air on May 20, 2015.
12/19/14For the 21st and final time, Darlene Love sings "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" on Dave's shows. (video)
12/19/14Tonight also marks the final Cher impression by Paul Shaffer, and appearance by Jay Thomas for his Lone Ranger story and the Quarterback Challenge
12/30/14Dave introduces Tom Hanks at the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors.
1/14/15Dave announces that today marks the 15th anniversary of his quintuple bypasses.
2/06/15Dave, from his monologue mark on the Ed Sullivan Theater stage: "Fifty-one years ago, The Beatles made their first appearance, right here, fifty-one years ago. Now look what you get."
2/10/15Chris Elliott, in his last appearance, emotionally thanks Dave for being his mentor, for his start in show business and his family, and closes with his song, "To Dave, with Love." (video)
2/10/15In his desk chat, Dave comments on Brian Williams, who had to cancel his appearance because of his war zone helicopter story whopper. Dave announces, "I just want to tell you something. I've been on television... Paul and I... a long, long time. And most of everything I have said in my 33-year career on television is not true."
2/20/15It's the final appearance of "Kid Scientists." (video)
3/18/15Norm Macdonald, in his 25th and final appearance with Dave, kills with tales of Jack Warden, George Miller and Bob Uecker, and gives us his take on "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." (video)

This is a work in progress. What's missing? Send me your comments.