David Letterman -- Autographs and the Dismantling of his Set

David Letterman has only been retired a few days and he already seems to be enjoying his days off. The long-time race fan (and team owner) was at the Indianapolis 500 and of course, he was asked to sign autographs. He obliged for many fans before the race started.

I have two Letterman autographs. One is on a Late Night T-shirt. I bought it at a celebrity auction that had lots of clothing (I think I paid $40 for it). The better deal I got was at a used bookstore 20 years ago. I was looking at the comedy books, and saw one from the early ‘80s that had Letterman Top 10 lists. I opened it up to see the price and saw an inscribed autograph, in pencil. I’m guessing the bookstore didn’t see the autograph, as they were asking $3 for the book. I happily paid.

For autograph and memorabilia collectors, this next piece of information will make you cringe.

Fans were outside the Ed Sullivan Theater (where the Letterman show was filmed), and they watched as stagehands broke apart the various parts of the stage and threw them into dumpsters. Well-recognized things were crushed up, or sawed into pieces.

Some fans were saying these pieces should be in the Smithsonian.

What I can’t figure out is why the idiotic suits at CBS didn’t take the pieces, and have Letterman sign them, and auction them for chairty. Even if Dave didn’t want to sit around with a Sharpie, just the pieces that had been seen on TV would’ve been purchased by fans (especially with an authenticity letter from the network). They could’ve made a million on this stuff.

The George Washington Bridge is what you saw in the back of Letterman’s set. It was loaded into a van, and not tossed into the trash.

You could also see chairs from the audience being thrown away.

About 20 fans waited for all the workers and security to clear out Thursday night, and they jumped into the dumpsters like madmen. You can’t blame them, either.

A longtime producer was asked about how this was all dismantled so unceremoniously. He shot back, “Show business. They don’t waste much time.”

The one item that the network, or Letterman, does have other plans for is the desk. It was wrapped up and loaded into a van (rumors have it that it will be at the Smithsonian).

For those that collect costumes and props – you’re out of luck. They were sent to a warehouse in Yonkers.

All of this reminded me of a story a friend told me years ago. He went to see the last show Monty Python did on a live tour. I believe it was in Los Angeles, and he waited around afterwards for autographs. He may have gotten one or two, but he was disappointed he waited so long to meet the gang. That is…until he witnessed something he wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

The stagehands were carrying a huge hand out to the dumpster. He watched as it was thrown in, and they drove off. The hand played a big part of their show, and since this was the last of their tour, they probably just decided it was easier to throw out than take anywhere.

He went to the dumpster and took the huge hand out. He was surprised at how light it was. His wife was probably surprised at the souvenir he brought home.  

I have no clue where in his house it sits, but…if wives complain when we put our signed baseballs on the shelf, I’m guessing this isn’t proudly displayed in the living room.




Views: 471

Tags: David Letterman, David Letterman desk, Ed Sullivan Theater, Indianapolis 500, Monty Python, Smithsonian

Comment by Brian Burger on May 25, 2015 at 10:17am

Great post!

Comment by Coachgd on May 25, 2015 at 3:03pm

Nice!  Nothing like dumpster diving.

Comment by Edward Siebert on May 28, 2015 at 6:14pm
That was a great post, thanks! Can ypu scan the autographs in the signed book and on the shirt you have? I don't have mine readily accessible but will post them when I can.
Comment by Josh Board on May 29, 2015 at 12:36am

I can't, Ed. Most of my stuff is in boxed, stored away. This always drove Mr. Steve Cyrkin nuts when I wrote for the magazine (back when you could find us in newstands!). He wanted lots and lots of pictures. I have lots and lots of stories, stuff is all packed away.

Comment by Edward Siebert on May 31, 2015 at 9:30pm
That's a bummer! I always love to see the autographs themselves, and could spend hours just looking at them! Some day you've gotta get into storage and just take digital pics with your camera :)


You need to be a member of Autograph Live to add comments!

Join Autograph Live


  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2021   Created by Steve Cyrkin, Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service