Thursday, May 21, 2015

Boy, it didn't take CBS long

You want a metaphor for show business these days?  How about this one?

Mere hours after David Letterman's last show and the myriad of tributes and tears that led up to it, his set was dismantled and is already being hauled away in dumpsters.    Don't believe me?  Take a look.

For all the "love" and gratitude, this is a tough business. 

24 comments:

Tom Quigley said...

They're probably sending it to Chris Christie, so he can have fun shutting it down.

Adam Paull said...

For what it's worth, the set would have belonged to Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants and not CBS. The intricate set would have probably been assembled and painted in situ as a permanent set and not designed to be moved. Prominent pieces, like the desk, bridge, etc were saved, but the delicate pieces were just plywood, glue and paint. To fragile to be of any use to anybody.

It is shocking to see, but I used to work as a stage hand for a large television network, and I have thrown entire sets away at the tip and watched crushers pulverise them.

That's showbiz!

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I'd like to have his old backdrop. Never really cared for anyone elses: Jay Leno's looked too neon and too 80s with all the pinks and purples; Jimmy Fallon's looks like he's hosting his show from inside a log cabin; Conan had a nice-looking set backdrop before going to TBS - that shot of the Empire State Building and all.

Hopefully Kramer can dive into the dumpsters and save Dave's set and rebuild it in his apartment.

Danny said...

Dick Van Dyke once talked about returning to Desilu the morning after they filmed the final episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show to clean out his dressing room and discovering that the show's sets had already been disassembled and pulled apart, with some pieces piled up to be stored for reuse and others waiting to be hauled to the trash. He said it was much harder to see than he ever would have imagined it would be.

Scott O. said...

I have Merv Griffin's old set in my apartment. Sometimes my friends come by and we put on a show.

Signed,

Kramer

John said...

Were this the Dave from the NBC days, he would have made this his final meta-joke and had the workers taking the set apart piece by piece while the final episode was being taped, so there was nothing but a bare stage and a desk left at the finish.

Brian said...

Its just props, wood and cardboard. The show was Dave. I have to admit I enjoyed the last episode.

tavm said...

John, I think Conan O'Brien had his set dismantled on his last few "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" eps...

therealshell said...

Some of the cool models used in "2001: A Space Odyssey" were also sent to the dump in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Tavm, you are correct about Conan dismantling his Late Night set in 2009, only it wasn't so much to end his show in a "meta" way and have his final show be on a bare stage. Conan dismantled the set in order to give pieces of it to studio audience members.

It's a shame that Conan's profile has been diminished since his move to TBS...he had a lot of heat on him from roughly 2002(his first Emmy hosting gig) to when he took over the Tonight Show. He really could have carried on the Letterman torch of absurdist, surreal comedy influencing a new generation of aspiring comedians. Maybe Colbert will carry that torch now?

jcs said...

It's a shame, but Letterman's true legacy are bits like "The GE Handshake". Fearless comedy with an absurdist twist that somehow exposes a shred of truth. Too bad there wasn't much more of this during Letterman's stint at CBS. Every once in a while Letterman showed his teeth on the LATE SHOW. He exposed John McCain (who preferred to be interviewed by Katie Couric) and talked with Conan O'Brien about Jay Leno. Those rare moments were the best.

normadesmond said...

um, what was it rose sang....?

...thanks a lot and out with the garbage...

Pete Grossman said...

Hell, if Archie Bunker's chair is in the Smithsonian along with Fonzie's jacket and the original Starship Enterprise, you'd think some of Letterman's set could be added as a significant part of Americana. Then again, maybe Dave would say, "Why?"

Loved the last Top 10. Especially Julia Louise-Dreyfus' line. A highlight!

Tim Dunleavy said...

In 1968, after ABC cancelled BATMAN, NBC called the producers and said "We love BATMAN, and we want to move it to NBC." The producers said "That's great, but we just destroyed all the sets, so you'll have to pay for replacement sets." NBC passed. (Remember, that Batcave set must have been pretty expensive.)

blinky said...

Amazing they didn't take a cue from the Yankees/SF Giants and sell every scrap for big bucks.

Wayne said...

The stage is needed for The Mentalist reruns.

Jeff Maxwell said...

I was a young mail boy at 20th Century Fox the day after Darryl F. Zanuck was removed by the board. I watched boxes of stuff from his office tossed unceremoniously in a dumper. Curious, I rummaged through the goodies. A script with a big D.Z. written in pencil across the title, The Little Horse (released as Sentimental Journey), caught my eye. Inside were Mr. Zanuck's copious personal notes about the screenplay; what he liked, didn't like and wanted changed. I was fascinated reading a mogul's thinking. I saw Sentimental Journey, and he was right. Still have the script. It's fun to have a little piece of mogul history.

D. McEwan said...

Well, stuff was hauled away in a truck. I strongly suspect that stuff like the bridge in the photo (Which, you'll notice, is being hauled away intact, not busted up into pieces) will end up on eBay.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@D. McEwan If you look at the article Ken linked, you'll see in one of the photos in the slideshow a worker crushing part of the bridge by stomping on it as they cram this stuff into a large dumpster.

Barry Traylor said...

"Who is Dave Letterman"?

"Get Dave Letterman"

"Get us a young Dave Letterman"

"Who is Dave Letterman"?

Isn't that the way it works?

Andrew L. said...

There were two separate bridge replicas. One (Brooklyn) got tossed and the other (George Washington) got preserved. The desk, host chair, and guest chairs also got preserved, reportedly sent to the Smithsonian.

D. McEwan said...

Thanks, Andrew L. It is not in character for a network just to destroy something they could make a buck off of. But this stuff undoubtedly belonged to Dave's production company, and thus donation to the Smithsonian rather than profiteering on eBay, the way Survivor sells its stuff. Though Survivor sells its old props, sets and "Buffs," to raise money for charity rather than profit.

Anonymous said...

For Psych's last episode, they auctioned off the car, They presumably had more than one, so perhaps several bidders told they got THE Blueberry. if the bids were high enough perhaps they went out and bought some more.

lee woo said...
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