by Alan Page &
IN THE BEGINNING...
It's been 9 years since I first stepped into
the Ed Sullivan Theater. That trip was on September 22, 1993...Dave's show
#18 with CBS with guests Tony Randall, Elizabeth Perkins & Aaron Neville.
My second LSwDL was episode #160 in Los Angeles
with Bette Midler & Traffic as guests. Johnny Carson made his only cameo
appearance since leaving the Tonight Show.
This trip started in July, 2002 when I was
contacted by the Late Show. I was asked when I wanted to attend and
how many tickets were being requested. I then asked Sharon to accompany me.
Sharon agreed that she was ready to see the big show, her first time.
***[Alan called on the phone.
It took me a moment to realize who the person was
on the phone. I have
been to New York before...back in the early l970's. I guess the answer to the
question all are dying to know...Yes, I told Alan I was a virgin. I will put that in
After finding out what weeks the show was dark,
I choose October 30, the first Wednesday back
from a dark week, the day before Halloween. Planning for a return to New York City included visiting the site of the World Trade Center as a priority. Other sightseeing
stops would be planned and filled in as time became available.
Having lived in NYC for the most part of 1980, I knew my way around and how
to get to various places. Only 3 months to get it all
***[I checked on boarding
for Wuff, for the
period, and it was available.]
Plane reservations were made to meet Sharon in St. Louis. We would fly to
Baltimore/Washington airport and take Amtrak, from the
BWI train station, into Manhattan at Pennsylvania Station.
The Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, on 8th Avenue, was chosen
as our place to stay. With more communication between us, we made the list
of places to visit and when to do each one. The only time we
was to pick up the tickets for the show by 4:30 PM and the show
We would leave on Saturday, November 2, traveling
BWI on Amtrak.
***[My first train ride! Well...except for the
little trains in Disney
World and Dogpatch USA.]
Sharon would fly home and I would stay in Maryland.
I would visit Philadelphia and DC then continue
to St. Louis on Thursday, November 7.
With all this in mind...we decided to keep our
trip a secret from our friends in the alt.fan.letterman newsgroup. They can be such an inquisitive bunch.
I did drop vague (SMP [Secret Message Post]) hints from time-to-time
in posts...as in one thread about picking the date that the celebrity marriage
of Lisa Marie Presley & Nicholas Cage would end.
I posted, "I'm going
October 30th, just in time for the Halloween" with the
implication that I was "picking" that date for the breakup. They did
not breakup that day,
by the way. Their announcement of the filing for divorce did
happen on November 26.
Having the tickets for October 30
and knowing when
we would be in NYC, I filled out the ticket request
form on the LS website. In mid-October, a message was
on my answering machine asking me to call for tickets
to a taping on Thursday, October 31. I returned the call,
left a message and Rose called the next day. Rose asked
me the trivia question to make sure I watched the show. She informed
me when I was to pick them up and we were set for
a second show.
The circle of people we told about the trip grew.
Being fans of the "Tony Mendez Show" and
Tony Mendez, I contacted him and mentioned that it would be
nice to meet him after the show. He agreed and I
told him that I would call when we got to New York. Sharon had
no idea that I had done this. My plan was to surprise
her after the show. All went well until a month before
when she was suspecting something was up. Nobody in afl knew about our trip until Sharon
said she "just had to tell Renee (EZMAMA1D)" in September.
I said go ahead. Renee promised to keep the secret, but "just had to tell"
a couple of her close friends. She did & they kept the
secret in confidence.
***[This is the point that it was starting to
become real. I was really going to go to see the show. I wanted to meet Renee. We had
visited in private email for some time along with the newsgroup. She had been
the one to extend an invitation to me in the past to attend 'group'
visits to the Late Show. Here is also where the Women of Worldnet (WOW) would
find out I was going to the big city. For over five
years they have been with me sharing daily on the Internet.
Attending the Late Show was something I had never
expected to be able to do. Immediately, Renee was sooo
thrilled. We visited on the phone. WOW was excited
about my upcoming adventure. One NY WOW invited us to
tour JPMorganChase trading area. She worked for
the company. She also offered a private plane tour down the Hudson,
weather permitting. Meeting Renee and Peggy became
part of the plans. I started work on their tote
to help pass the time--the bags would be used to hold the
special gifts from us.]
Time went by quickly.
The travel day of October 29 soon approached. On September 12, Warren Zevon announced
that he had terminal lung cancer. The news was devastating. He had substituted
for CBS Orchestra bandleader Paul Shaffer many times and had a
repoire with Dave that showed they were friends. Warren was scheduled to be
on the show in early October promoting his new CD. We knew
that this appearance would most likely be changed.
In mid-October, it was announced Warren
would be on the October 30 show. Thinking back to July...something seemed
to be guiding me when I choose the date. From "Just another LSwDL" it
was to become a very extraordinary and memorable day.
One of another SMPs on October 14 was..."Seeing Warren at the Ed on
30th should turn out to be one of the top 5 LSwDL." I was having fun with the newsgroup.
***[I did my best to not even think about going to NY. At one point,
Renee sent us an email asking if we had shared with the afl group that
were going. Alan had posted about "Seeing Warren" and Renee
thought he had spilled the beans about our trip.
He had not.]
York City & Late Show Visit
Back to Top
My truck's engine had a major failure on Sunday, October 27 on my way
to work. I was picked up by the second vehicle that passed and made it to
work on time. Luckily, this didn't happen on the way to the airport the
next night. I caught a ride into work on Monday...only 2 hours before I had
to come to work. I was able to take off work at noon. I rented a car to
drive to the airport that night. I would save on parking
for 11 days, but I'd need another car to get me home. I was able to get
the truck to a mechanic that would eventually let me know what the
damage was. I mentioned that I would be totally out of town for a few days.
I would not worry about the truck for the duration of the trip.
***[I knew I was making the trip on this day
- really knew it. I
took Wuff to the vet for boarding. I returned home
to clean house - something to keep my mind occupied. Alan was headed to the airport. He would really upset if I did
not meet him in St. Louis. The late news shared
that fog would be expected that night, lifting by noon the next day.
The stress level rose...]
Having made a couple of round trips back home (30 miles one way) I
was ready to head to Sacramento International Airport (SMF). My flight was
to leave at 12:15 AM early Tuesday morning. I was finally let up to
the boarding level just before 11 PM. I immediately found the bar with
the news on TV. KOVR has news at 10, with Dave following at 11. The bad
news was that the bartender said they close at 11. The good news was I would be able to watch Dave for 10-15 minutes. I was able to enjoy
the show through Biff Henderson's Fun With A Bullhorn segment. The
stranger next to me had a few good laughs during the segment.
meeting, Arrival in NYC
Back to Top
My flight from Sacramento took off on time.
The pilot pointed out
the blackness of Lake Tahoe surrounded on one side by the casino lights as
we passed above. With a couple hours of near-sleep, arrival at Dallas/Ft.
Worth airport was smooth. Arriving at 5:30 in the morning
provides only vending machine snacks until the first Starbuck's opens.
would be a
short wait until the flight to St. Louis where I would meet Sharon. I had
couple of hours, in St. Louis, before her little turboprop would roll up to
the stairs leading to the terminal. Sharon's flight arrived on time and I
saw her as she stepped off. Meeting her in the terminal was short and sweet
as we needed to get to another gate, about 5 minutes away. Of course, instead of gate 2, it was changed to gate 22, near the end of
***[The arrival at the top of the stairs to see Alan was pure relief.
I had decided once I made it to Alan then I would actually be on the way
to the show. I had not flown in a few years, but
knew I would need luggage with wheels. A back injury would not allow me to be
totin' stuff far. Well...I loaded the car and headed up the mountain to the
NorthWest Arkansas Regional Airport. The plane
was to depart at 8:27AM. I needed to be at the airport at 7:27 minimum.
I woke early and got on the road around 5:00. I planned to have a relaxed
breakfast somewhere up on the mountain. It appeared to be a good drive until
I hit the "Scenic Highway to Hell." This Scenic Highway has
to not have guardrails blocking the view of the mountaintops. The route also has
new high bridges spanning the peaks. It is normally a 45 minute drive to the
airport. Normally. Just before Devils Den, a state park, the fog appeared.
For the next hour, I am driving with only a view of three little dots on the
road to my left and a little fog blurred road line to my right. Oh...did I
mention that the road designer deliberately made it to be driven
in a constant turn? There are minimal straight stretches.
The thought of getting off the "Scenic Highway to Hell" crossed
mind. I could go up the old way...one which I knew from years of working the
area. No...I needed to stay on the expected route. If something
happened, this is where I was supposed to be. I continued on. I go through the
only tunnel in Arkansas and the fog clears a few miles on the
other side. I finally reach the airport, park, and head to the terminal. I am one
hour early. Exactly what I was supposed to be per the airline
instructions. There was no time for breakfast. I was glad I had the toast before I left
I was seated for only a few moments when my flight was called.
They were boarding it early. Next thing I know I am on the plane and
we are taking off. The pilot announced the flight took off early because
all the booked passengers were onboard and there
were weather concerns in St. Louis. "Weather concerns" in
Louis. Oh Boy...I sat watching the prop turn on the plane. I was thinking
about the Twilight Zone, with the thing on the wing of the plane, and
"weather concerns." The plane flew in a holding pattern for three laps over the city
before it landed, on time. Getting off the plane, I had my carryon bag and purse.
Thankful for the wheels on the bag - I head to the door. There...in front of
me...is a huge flight of steps. I have to pick up the bag and carry it to
the top of the stairs. After all the crap I had been through - I was gonna make
it to the top of the steps. Alan would be up there waiting, somewhere.
get to the top of the stairs...lowering the luggage to its wheels and there
stands Alan. Everything was a blur as he tried to explain we needed to go
to a certain place...I had done my part. I made it to St. Louis - we would
make it to the Late Show.]
After boarding the plane, we became acquainted with each other and
found the flight to be rather quick. We picked up our bags and waited a short
time for the shuttle to the train station. After arriving there, I noticed
that the tickets I had purchased were for July 29 and not October 29. After
quick check of IDs, the agent believed me when I told her I wasn't in
Baltimore in July to use them.
The train ride was relaxing and it was an easy time to finish our plans
for NYC. Traveling over bridges and watching the trees with their fall
colors passing, made for a pleasant trip. Seeing the Manhattan skyline from New
Jersey brought the excitement level up a notch...but the absence of the
World Trade Center was very noticeable to me. Seeing previous pictures of the
skyline without the towers lessened the affect it had on me...it was still dramatic...still hard to believe.
***[The train ride was a wonderful idea...I was pleased Alan planned it
that way - It gave us time to visit and relax before getting
to NYC. The countryside zoomed by at times...other times my focus was
the distance and it seemed to be slow and relaxed. It was nice...really
nice. I enjoyed my first ride on a train.]
Through the tunnel under the Hudson, we exit on the underground
platform and go up to the main terminal floor. It was the same as I had
remembered when I first went to NYC in 1980. Up the final escalator to the
ground floor and out the doors to the taxi stand.
***[Alan knew exactly where we were going. He just led me right
through all the hustle. There I was...standing on a sidewalk in New York
City. I was getting ready to take my first cab ride.]
Only now, the taxi stand had been replaced by police cars &
vans in a
blocked-off street. Around the corner we stood in line and after a few
minutes, got into taxi # 2Y44. This was Sharon's first ride in a taxi.
Not just an NYC taxi...ANY taxi. It was 5:30 PM and the rush hour was in
full swing. Our driver gave us an extraordinary ride to our hotel. He was a
master of his craft. He went a couple of extra blocks to get
around the buses that were blocking 3 lanes to service the Port Authority Terminal. He slipped through spaces that weren't as
wide as the car. There were times I was sure he would hit other
vehicle. He had the typical cabbie nerve for the job. A
remarkable ride that earned him a good tip. Something Sharon will never
***[I never want to forget it either. It was amazing. The entire time I
kept thinking there was not a mark on his cab. He shared with us that we
were his last fare for the day. I shared that is was my first ride in a cab. Alan
and the driver then seem to start speaking a secret language. I drifted off
into the surroundings. I came back inside the cab when the driver started
showing Alan a clipboard. The driver had only ONE complaint filed against him on
record. He also has only given a ride to one person twice in his entire time
in the business. Those were two facts I did process just before the cab driver
zipped directly behind a siren blaring firetruck...its passage opened the traffic
jam that had us stalled. The driver had timed his move perfectly.]
We check into the hotel. We
then head out to get our bearings,
as this will be our home base for the next 4 days.
First sightings of Staff & Dave, Computer time.
Back to Top
We walked up 2 blocks to 53rd Street, then past a
lot of production trucks parked at Roseland for some MTV taping. We noticed
bright lights coming out of Rupert's Hello Deli. There
was a camera crew with Rupert, Andrea, Nadine
(Hi-Ho Babes) and the Intuitive. The timing was right for the end-of-show shot.
and other fast moving staffers were in and out of the Deli.
thinking the entire time as we stood outside the Deli... this is a dream. All
the times I have watched that shot of Rupert going out and getting someone or
something--and I was right there watching it happen.]
We started setting up for pictures. We were
asked to make sure
the flashes were turned off so they could not be seen on the broadcast. The
production staff was there and the camera was turned on and the end shot was done. I
expected the audience to exit out the 53rd Street doors but that did not happen.
I noticed that there were a lot of people on
Broadway and surmised they were exiting from the front doors. We went to the marquee to take some pictures of people
taking pictures of others under the Late Show sign.
As we were standing around,
there was a couple looking for someone to take a picture with their camera. I offered and they quickly stood in place. We
talked to them about the show and they were very helpful in filling in what happened during the show. I was able to do a better Psychic LSQG that
night because of their information. They were headed to an Alice Cooper show
but we talked for some time. She had just gotten an intern job with Conan
We then started to look around for the Kinko's. We
couldn't see it right away since they don't have a
lighted sign. We first saw Will Lee (bass player) outside
the LS office entrance. He
was talking with another couple. Will walked up on our right side
headed to cross the street. Sharon saw his face in front of her and
don't care what anyone in AFL says...I like all your hair colors." We did
not cross the street when we could have with the light. I quickly asked
him where Kinko's was...he pointed & thanked him. Nice guy.
***[What can I say...I live in this world where Will Lee is a person I
have watch on television. I have watched him for years. There he was standing
beside me on a street corner in New York City. I was thrilled to see him--to
not have spoken to him would have been down right Southern rude. In
the South, you say hi to people that touch your life. He was the first
of many people that didn't appear to really mind a brief "Southern Invasion." During our visit with Will, he shared that a VH1 crew would
be taping the rehearsal with Warren Zevon
the next day. Annette...I spoke with Will Lee. (Annette
is a huge fan of his that posts in the afl newsgroup.)
All I could think of while he
stood there talking with Alan was Annette would be sooo tickled.]
our first visit (of many) to Kinko's and "our" computer
that would be the link to the Wonderful Web We Weave for the next 3 days.
Slip in a credit card or Kinko's ExpressPay Card (available from a kiosk for
cash) and you are hooked up. The store was clean
and quiet. It costs $.30 per minute for the computer. We learned to surf fast and organize our fun
and work. There are cheaper places, but not in the neighborhood. CyberCafe
(world's largest) on 42nd Street is $1 per hour. It is more like a
sweatshop type set-up. Kinko's gave us the ability to plug in headphones and
listen to the Tony Mendez Show, a big plus. We posted the PLSQG, checked
afl & e-mail.
***[I really enjoyed this Kinko's time. We would catch
up on what was
happening with the AFL gang. I sent a brief message to a WOW friend, Cindy,
to pass on to the wow-list. "I was going to be okay." You see...the ladies
had made it perfectly clear...I only had to call if I needed anything while in
NYC. The first night in New York and I knew I was going to have the time of
Leaving Kinko's, we strolled to Broadway passing in front of the Ed.
Bill DeLace (head of security) was there and Dave was walking to a
waiting car. A woman spoke to Dave about that night's show. He turned
to respond to her and looked at us.
After he got in the car, I asked
Bill, "Tough job Bill?" He smiled and said, "Yes" with a laugh. I mentioned
that we would see him the next night...I was sure he didn't know what I
was talking about. (We would continue to talk to Bill over the next 3 days
appearing as if we were stalking him.)
***[It was reassuring knowing Bill was around when there was a crowd.
could see him flowing, checking and observing. From the Tony Mendez Show,
knew he was armed and prepared to take care of anything. He handles a
broom pretty good too. I actually enjoyed watching him pitch in to help clean
the streets outside the Ed after a taping session we watched.]
Dave's car drove away and we were able to follow it to the corner of 53rd.
The car turned in front of us. We paused and let the driver turn
and be on his way. We strolled up Broadway and checked out Times Square. Exhausted from
traveling, we stopped at a pizza joint and brought
back 4 calzones for dinner.
***[Okay...I had never had a calzone. They were wonderful. Spinach &
with sauce. The day in New York was full of firsts. I was
really happy seeing the Late Show team during the remote at
Rupert's. I EVEN saw David Letterman right in front of me. The walking
around time allowed me to not be so star struck next day. I was
able to focus on their actions, not on the fact I was seeing them for the
first time in
***[Alan seemed to attract people with cameras. As time
passed, it was not unusual to see someone handing him a camera.
Alan joked I was bold in meeting people. Alan had this
thing about him though. It was like people would seek him out..."Hi, would
you please take our picture."]
The next "first" for Sharon was a subway ride to the General Post Office
across the street from Madison Square Garden. I had used tokens 22 years ago,
but they had been replaced by a MetroCard system. We bought the $4 all day
pass that would give us unlimited rides. We stopped at the Post Office and
mailed the obligatory post cards. Next was Greenwich Village and
Washington Square Park. There was a dog play area in the park that provided
us with entertainment. About 10-15 dogs were running around while their guardians watched. The dogs knew where they are and made the most
***[I have watched stuff from the Garden. I never knew it
was located right over Penn Station. We posted cards to friends. The
kids down the street were expecting something in the mail from me. One
of the Post Office employees at home is from Brooklyn. I sent him
a card showing the Brooklyn Bridge. I was able to make it
before any of the cards arrived. Rural living has its
Next stop is Rockefeller Center. We watched the Zamboni machine grooming
the ice for the skating rink that wasn't open yet. Floral displays on the
small mall were nice. Back to the hotel to freshen up for our meeting with
Renee for lunch. The Manhattan Chili Company is located next to the Ed and the
perfect spot to meet Renee for lunch. We entered and told the host that we
were meeting someone for lunch. He said she was already here and from above, we
see Renee waving at us. Upstairs we had our formal meeting of another afl'er.
One of her first things she said was, "I think that's Paul Shaffer" sitting at
the bar. Sharon and Renee went over and soon called me over to take pictures with
Paul. He had been sitting there reading with his headphones on, obviously
"working." He was very gracious about the photo opportunity and we then
left him alone.
Lunch with Renee was gossip time about many other afl'ers and what was
going on with her. She reinforced the things to do & notice while at the show.
Renee's brother, David, was having a book signing Thursday and we let
her know that we would like to attend the lecture. Her son Matthew helped put the book together and was going
to be there. Just another thing to do while in town. The book, "The Chrysler
Building --Creating a New York Icon Day by Day," by David Stravitz, is
a collection of photographs taken with a hundred-pound camera during the
construction of the Chrysler Building in the 1920's. He found the negatives
just before they were to be destroyed.
After a long conversation, the lunch ended and we went out to take
pictures under the marquee of the Ed. We said goodbye to Renee & her rat
with the understanding that she would get back to us with the book signing information. Next stop was at the souvenir shop attended by
Mujibur & Sirajul. Mujibur was in and we visited for some time. We would
return later to pick up items. Back to Kinko's and then
the hotel to
get ready for the big show. I called Tony to let him know we were there and
that we would meet him after the show. I left a message and he called
back within 15 minutes. We were all set up for the night.
***[So very casually, Alan mentions he called Tony. I was in a state
of shock. Alan has been visiting with Tony since the beginning. I am realizing
at that moment I would get to meet Tony... it
was all planned. When the phone rang so quickly after Alan placed the call
to Tony....I stood there amazed. He was visiting with Tony Mendez on
the phone. Tony was actually chatting with Alan. I went back into a, "this has
to be a dream" mode.]
The Late Show with David Letterman - Guest Warren
Back to Top
The time had come to pick up our tickets. We were advised to get them no later
Outside the doors,
we were greeted by Christina & Hanni. They
IDs and gave us tickets with the notation of "CBS GUEST." There
were people standing in line on the sidewalk that had already picked up their
tickets, waiting to get in. We went into the Manhattan Chili Company
again for a bathroom stop and drinks. After sitting down, another couple sat
next to us and we talked about going to the show. They had "dots" on their
tickets, which would allow them to get in earlier than the "regular" audience.
The CBS pages "dot" audience members who are enthusiastic or have been previously
explained they were to receive special treatment during the pre-show.
Basically, they would enter early and have front area seats.
we were seated upstairs in the restaurant, We
were located above
the Ed Sullivan Theater entrance lobby. The Chili Company and outer lobby interlock, like a Lego
piece, inside the brick exterior. ]
At 4:30, we went to the front doors and were directly shown to the inner
lobby, just outside the theater. "CBS Guests" are lined up ahead of the dotted
ones. I could tell by the looks of people, that there were some industry
people and possible friends of Warren in the CBS guest line. After a little
wait, a couple of energetic staffers stood on chairs to give us
instructions for the show. It was explained that we were to be let in before
the other audience members. Our reaction to Dave and the jokes would
help set the tone for the night. The rest of the audience would pick up from
our example. The reaction would flow back to them and create a better
atmosphere for the broadcast. After about a 5 minute talk, they left and we
were entertained by various security people and staffers going in and out of
the theater and up & down the stairs.
***[Alan checked us in and I visited with Hanni,
CBS page, who was armed with a clipboard. She was bright eyed,
cheery and friendly. We immediately entered the theater and were
near the stairway to the balcony. I was pleased there was an audience prep. The two that
information about the show, the audience role and the taboo points, did so
with skill. I have read otherwise, in other reports, but stood listening with
minimal mind drift. The content shared was information that I did need
to know about the show. Basically, the role the audience would play during
the taping. We already knew where we would be seated. In the background, we
could hear the band playing and Warren singing. A rehearsal was taking place just before the audience was allowed to be seated.]
We were led upstairs to the balcony.
Our time had come to enter the Ed
Sullivan Theater proper. It was like I had remembered it back in 1993. We
were led down the stage right aisle and seated to our left with a couple
of men that were already seated. Our front row balcony seats were fantastic. That is an understatement. I was able to see all the stage
the exception of the front below me, where Sid would be standing. I was able to
view him later in the show by moving forward a bit and looking around a stage
light. There was taped music playing and the excitement rose as more people
started filling the seats behind us. The stagehands were busy setting up
the stage, buffing the floor and moving equipment.
***[For me, the balcony was the best location to
see the show. There was nothing to distract
watching the stage and
the Late Show team. The entire audience including those in the balcony were
not a factor. We were seated in the balcony front row stage right. That also
perfect location. I didn't have to keep moving my head side to side to see
the stage content.
The balcony position did have one drawback--Sid was out of view. Alan and Renee had prepared me for the
opening moments. Seeing many of the Late Show team, the night before, enabled me to focus on what was happening
and not be star struck. I focused on what
they were doing and NOT on the monitors. That is what Alan and Renee said to do. I
could always watch the show later.
I was not cold.
The set colors were warm and soft. I
remember focusing on the stage and the view. The set looked alive.
Okay--I may have been having a Farrah moment. The set was better in person than I
had viewed on television. People were beginning to move about slowly on the
stage. Kenny grabbed his buffer and another man, I didn't know, was busy with
another. The one I didn't know was doing the area where Dave stands for the
opening. Pat Farmer appeared
center stage and started speaking to the man. He
glances down and I see him touch the tape on the floor with his foot. He then
bends over and smoothes the tape flat with his hand and finger tips. I was
struck by the fact such a detail was important to Pat. At that moment, I knew
the show was going to be good. Pat had made sure the light hit the floor
without a glare. (Later, I was able to mention the moment directly to Pat. He
sort of tilted his head, thinking. He shared
that the tape was up off the floor. When the lights would be brought across
the dark floor for the opening, the camera would have picked up the edge and
altered the view.
The floor starts to fill with people. Two standing at the front of the
stage as the downstairs audience is being seated. I start to recognize more
and more people. It was sort of like someone had opened a door and the time
had started. The countdown began for the start of the show. A person stood,
in the middle of the stage, with finger counts to keep track of the timed elements. I remember seeing Will
Lee tossing something out to the audience seated below.]
Eddie Brill finally came out and introduced the tape of Dave with kids.
After the tape ended, Eddie came back and gave his speech.
***[Eddie Brill appeared
center stage. I needed to hear what he shared...including the cussing. (Eddie's
speech put me on notice there may be strong
language during the show taping. It did happen at one point. Strong language was used and not bleeped. David's
part of the skit.) Eddie explains about the need to push the sound at
times. At certain points, we needed to increase the intensity and
the volume of our response when he signaled. I understood the reason for the push. It allowed
the sound to have dimension. It made sense to me--so I did as he instructed. At times, Eddie would stand back,
other times he would
move to the center of the stage and signal. There was one ugly moment.
Eddie motioned to get out of the studio at the prompting of Tony
Eddie continued as he introduced the band members and finally Paul who
played a couple of short songs. Also introduced were Alan Kalter and Biff
***[Felicia arrived a touch late...Eddie Brill sang
a line or two. Then someone came down and spoke to the man seated to my right. He
was busy taking notes. Prior, he had pointed to the mike in front of me
and Alan saying, "Everything you say can be heard." Alan had already showed me
the mike. The person that came down the stairs told him, "Please, no talking.
The mike was picking up the sound." Of course, Alan asked me what was said. I whispered..."they told him not to talk."
At some point the man got up and left the seat open. He returned a while
later. He was probably someone really important.]
Finally, without a coat, Dave comes running out with a bound upon his desk
platform and then to the middle camera.
***[Dave Letterman came out on that stage owning it. My
mind went from a stage full of prep people...to David. It took me a few
moments to get used to the fact Dave was there. Another few moments to realize there were
other people in the world. The gathering of all those people on the stage
was for the moment Dave took the camera. I was in the Ed
getting ready to see the show live.]
Dave talks to the audience and asks for a couple of questions. He exits and the band starts playing the opening theme song. Alan
announced the guests and other opening lines. Dave comes out, delivers
his monologue and moves over to the desk.
***[I don't remember any of the jokes. I remember thinking..."it
is supposed to be cold in here and it isn't." I remember thinking how
very still everyone was on the stage. Every tiny movement stood out
so very much. I was watching Dave in person.]
The show was the standard format with the exception that the only guest was
Warren Zevon. After the first segment, Warren came out and sat at the desk
with Dave for a discussion. There were some moments that seemed a bit
awkward, but with the subject matter of Warren's terminal cancer, it was to be
expected. "Enjoy every sandwich" is the most memorable line & advice that
Warren gave us.
During a commercial break, Warren got up and slowly
made his way to the
piano that was quickly set up by the stagehands. The CBS Orchestra horn
section stood behind the grand piano. Tony scanned the balcony and we waved
to him as he looked our way. He waved back with a big grin on his face. He
turned to Dave Dorsett, the cameraman, and points back up to us. With a big
gesture, Tony motions us to leave the theater. Between laughter, I shake
my finger at him in a "no way" motion. Dave also gives us the heave-ho sign.
We still won't leave.
***[After Tony "found" us in the balcony, my focus remained on him for
a while. When Tony was not showing the cards to Dave, Tony positioned his
body to be in the least 'blocking' position as possible to the audience.
He became a shadow to Dave Dorsett. Tony had long pants on. Laurie
Diamond would turn and look up at the monitor watching the show. The
Stangel Brothers appeared on stage...as did Wahoo Mike. Faces I knew
from the Late Show and the Tony Mendez Internet show just flowed in front of
me. When Warren
was performing, Dave would glance every so often to his monitor. Dave would
almost vanished in the change of lighting. As Warren sang, people gathered on
stage left to watch. Their movements were slow and careful.]
Warren sang "Mutineer."
Next commercial break, Tony is talking to Eddie
and points up to us again. Same old "get out" motion by both and I respond
again with the no way signal. As we found out later from another trip
report, there were people around us that were wondering what the heck was
going on between Tony and us. Nobody asked at the time. The next set-up was
with a string section and Warren standing playing guitar. He sang "Genius" and
conducted the strings in the end.
***[The strings were set up in advance...then quickly lifted and
moved out to the front of the stage. I was taken by how quickly everyone did
their job and the lack of sound while they were doing it. Yes, there was
music playing...but there were no needless motions or stray sounds
happening. The lights went on and a light shined right in our face. During the song the lights moved and paused on our seating location. I
will never see that spot light type look without thinking of Warren singing.
Those lights shining up through the blueness...I thought at that moment, I
would miss Warren. The discussion with David helped set the tone.
Warren Zevon lived hard. He was going to end this life in a creative burst
that let me know he valued his life. Always when the camera was
off, Warren was drinking water that was just a reach away in his
support person's hand. Warren didn't seem to be feeling pain...no wincing motions on
his face. He did seem to be moving in a slower world. The only word
I know to use is 'medicated.' David slowed also. His movements and speed
were deliberate and showed care. David exited the stage proper at one point
behind his desk. There were times I knew it was a very special thing Alan and
I were being allowed to see in person. In the middle of all the "knowing"
stood Tony telling us to get out of the theater. Tony became big--larger than
helped me alter my focus away from the thought Warren was saying goodbye. I didn't
want to be sad... I wanted to remember.]
The final segment he sang "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" a favorite
of Dave's. Dave came to Warren at the end and each thanked one another for
the night. The audience was totally focused throughout the evening on every
word and move that Warren made. Everybody knew what a night it had
***[As Warren turned around completely the last time Dave came to
him, I realized that is the motion David uses when he is closing a segment
or stunt. A quick circle movement. Warren's was slow and a touch
awkward. Warren Zevon was
standing there next to David and if you could have separated the
applause...you could have heard a pin drop. It was not a time for words.
David and Warren just stood there for what seemed like a long time but I know
now it was only a moment. It seemed so very much longer live. Watching
Dave leave Warren center stage was hard. A public moment that made me want
to just give them some privacy. I looked around the stage and everyone was
focused. Silent. I don't remember Dave saying goodnight. I don't
remember how the show ended. I remember Alan standing up next to me. That is
how I knew it was over. Going up the balcony stairs to exit...a man stepped
in behind me. I felt him touch my back a couple of times. Alan thankfully
took my hand and walked in front of me. Going down the stairs to the
lobby, Alan walked directly in front of me. The man behind me...I never
turned to look at him--had pushed me hard a couple of times. Alan
in front of me took the worry of falling away.]
THE OTHER SHOW (TMS)...
Mendez Tour of The Ed Sullivan Theater and Taping
Back to Top
We exit back up the aisle and down the stairs to the lobby. The audience is
led through the theater and out the side doors onto 53rd street. We turn
right, instead of left, and tell the page that is blocking the route,
Tony wants to see us. She lets us pass by and I drag Sharon down the aisle
towards Tony with (TMS Producer) Walter Kim on the digital video camera
shooting the Tony Mendez Show. Tony begins talking to us and Sharon is
speechless. Tony has fun and shows her when to talk, when the microphone is in
front of her. I pull out a gift for Tony. (I had decided while planning the
trip that Tony could use a genuine Tony Mendez Show mug. It
could be used on the TMS to hold the microphone.) I told
him that he could place the microphone in his new mug and his mug lit up. We
had totally surprised him. The screen shot of the mug was used to promote our
appearance on the TMS. We proceeded onstage
and took the required pictures of us behind the desk. Sharon sat
the guest seat that Warren had occupied during the panel segment. I sat behind the desk and acted like I
was interviewing her.
I first decline the offer of coffee. I was already
so excited I told them I would never sleep if I
had coffee. Pat and Tony shared it was indeed decaf.
Sipping it, I realized I was actually drinking
the same exact brew Dave had for the show.
Alan takes a sip. It placed us in a
very small group in time, at least, for the moment.
Okay...special for the Dave is "god" group. Hey,
Dave does have this thing about lists of ten and
the coffee sharing may rate as communion.]
We are introduced to Corky Ramirez
while in the green room. Pat shows Tony something new. It's a wall located
within a closet where mannequins are
stored. We have seen these body parts on the TMS. Pat informs us there used to be a door Jackie Gleason used for access to Studio 54 a number of years ago. Tony is impressed
by this bit of information. It's cinder-blocked now,
done when the renovation of the Ed was made for the Dave. Next stop is the
control room with dozens of monitors, switching boards and computers.
***[George makes his second appearance.
He shared he didn't mean to leave so quickly earlier
in the tour. I look up and there is a band member.
Sid...right there on my left is... Sid. It was like the moment I realized Will
Lee was standing next to me on the curb. I no sooner shake his hand than
Anton appears right behind him. Anton. Zippy was right there in front of me
too. It was just something that didn't seem real. These
people would just seem to pop up right in front of me. Chez stops in and visits every so
often in alt.fan.letterman. Alan talked with him about the newsgroup.]
Sid is there and we are
introduced to Anton. Sharon talks to
him. Alan Cheznovitz appears and I thank him for his insights and answers he
provides us in afl. He makes a comment about how he doesn't have a
life because he posts there. I tell him that we are worse, we post every day.
Felicia comes out of the green room with a small posse and Tony goes in and
brings a basket of cookies. He offers us some, I touch one and put it back
and he yells at me about doing that & makes me take it back. Just before
Tony heads us out the door, Pat said to wait one minute, he wants to get
something to give us. He returns with a script from the show.
***[Before we go through the door, leaving the big Ed area, I ask Tony
if I may touch him. He is a real "Untouchable Host" on the "TMS." He
grants permission and gives me a wonderful, real hug. He tells me the
tour is not over just yet. We then go through a door. A tiny
little room outside the second green room. I forgot that Walter
has the camera running. At some point, Walter said he was almost
out of tape. He had been recording most of the tour. It is time to go
back to the world outside. There are still guests in the room. Tony grabs
the basket and treats us to cookie time. Pat returns with a
show script and hands it to me. I look at Pat and thank him. I then hand it to Alan,
telling Pat...I will give it to Alan because he has people to share it
with. Pat then raised his eyebrows and tells Alan he had better
not see it on eBay. Good-byes were said and out the door we go...I throw a
kiss to Walter. I know there is a crowd of people outside the door. I know
this because we exit around them--they are all very quiet. Tony yells at us
to get a life...I yell back, "You too."
I am in a daze.]
Tony says goodbye to us and as we go out the door, notices that it is
raining and asks if we have umbrellas. We don't and he says to just get in
the limo that is waiting to take Warren. I protect the script from
the precipitation and leave, thanking Tony for the experience. The door
closes behind us and as we walk towards the fans waiting behind the
barricades, Tony shouts out "Get a life" to our laughter and confusion of
those waiting in the rain. I must say,Tony Mendez is truly an extremely
fine human being, no matter what the staff says. He made our trip to the show
one that will never be forgotten and we truly appreciate all that he did. It was
an extraordinary experience.
***[Everyday I remember something else that happened...something that was said or a moment that crossed my mind. There
was no hurry in the tour. I look back at the photo of the Ed stage and I
see Pat Farmer there. He is touching something on the floor as he was setting up
the ghost light. No dark theaters allowed. I don't
remember Pat leaving us on the tour. He had to have left us, because he was
there on the stage in the photo.]
We go past the office door and Dorothy of Security (from a TMS episode) is
there. We pass by and stroll to Kinko's to post the Psychic LSQG. With that,
our secret will be out that we were at the show.
Fun, Kinko's, Bumpers, & making plans with Don
Back to Top
I had set up the afl to think that the Psychic LSQGs were due to an
employment situation…I posted…
“Due to my employer's repurposing of my work hours, I will be unable to
view the "Late Show with David Letterman" for the next couple of weeks in a
timely manner in order to post the "Late Show Quick Guide".
This is a temporary situation that will be rectified once said
employer understands my priorities.
As a replacement, and, just for the fun of it, I'll go the way of Micah
and provide a "Psychic LSQG" in advance of each broadcast for the next 2
weeks of shows. You are advised to not print these out and place with your
tapes for reference. That will only confuse you (more).
I will make a complete posting of real LSQGs upon review of what the
VCR saves for me, sometime in early November, for the archives.”
There were a few posted replies…
“Doesn't that job thing
just suck? I swear...
Take care of yourself, Alan’
is excellent and my first stop in the evening's entertainment.
I hope your
job realises the sacrifices that you make. Ask for a pay raise.”
And we all know how painful that is...Oh no!! [okay, remember the drill: deep breaths... inhale...1, 2,
3;exhale...1, 2, 3]
I got a guy in Jersey (name's Scafitti) who could "help" this process
(If 'ya know what I mean...)
Nope. I can't get any more confused than I am already.
Thanks, Alan. You're a swell guy! :-)
Kate, who appreciates all
the *real* work you do for afl”
“Didn't you tell your
boss about coming off a dark week and it would have
been better to do this
Should we make a phone call to your boss?:)”
It appeared that I had set them up for good.
We strolled again to
Kinko’s and posted the Psychic LSQG through Google.
go directly to the Kinko's. I was as excited as Alan
about getting the data on the afl about the show.
The fun had been we were there and only Renee and
a couple of others knew...and had kept the secret.
Renee told us we would really miss not meeting Don
(donz5). She said we should at least see if a visit could
be arranged. Alan would try after we copied
the script. We had decided that if anyone on the face
of the earth would appreciate and like to have a
copy, it would be Don. The show had been special.
As Alan read some of the stuff in the script...we knew it was the type of information Don would put
in that great big storage system of his. Alan made
a copy for me to read also.]
I sent an e-mail to Micah
with the song information from the show so he
could post a “Bumper Music” thread from our notes and the script. We checked
e-mail and then did what no one should do without warning…we Instant Messaged
Donz. Donz actually replied back and we set up a meeting under the marquee
for the next day, before we were to pick up tickets for the late Thursday
was right there on the computer and I was reading
the visit between him and Alan. After various questions
about the show and the secret journey, I was tickled
that Don agreed to meet us. I had thought of
Don during the tour. It happened when we visited
the Shack. There was a phone by the computer. I
remember at some point there had been information
sought from Don about the show in the past. I guess
that helped me understand why Don might not
be watching the show with afl in the audience--he may be needed to provide some sort of data. Gotta
make Dave look good.]
He begged us to take a couple of his CDs off his hands…I figured it
wouldn’t hurt. We went back to the Manhattan Chili Company for dinner. The
host there was beginning to remember us. We sat upstairs for dinner and noticed
a few staffers in a corner. After dinner, we went downstairs to exit and ran
into Pat, Kenny, Corky, Bill & some other staffers. We chatted again, they
were talking about the show with Warren. He obviously
had a very strong effect on them…he was like family. We had just been on a tour
of the Ed with these people popping in and out. We left, again
thanking Pat for the script and promised that he would never see it on eBay. We
pass by the office entrance and there is Dorothy. A security staffer that was
once the subject of a TMS episode. Tony had commented that she “packs heat” and
not to mess with her. Sharon explains we are fans of the TMS and she laughs that
we remember her from her appearance.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31...
Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Book signing, &
Back to Top
Another day, another wake-up call. Renee let us know where her brother and
son were to be for the book signing and lecture. We go to Kinko’s and check out
the newsgroup. The questions were already in full force. Donz posted he
was being brave and meeting us. We go to breakfast at Leo Lindy’s
across from Martini’s at 53rd Street & 9th Avenue.
were seated in the window where we could see Martini's
on the corner. Hey...the seats were warm. Good
food--and warmed seats in a booth. It was nice.]
This was our
start to the World Trade Center site & Brooklyn Bridge.
We take the
subway to Rector Street station. I had lived on Governor’s Island for most of
1980 and the area was very familiar to me. We walked a couple of blocks north...there it wasn’t. I could tell by the void in the sky that I was in the right
place. There were a couple of buildings on the perimeter still undergoing
repair, but the neighborhood seemed to be back at work for the most part.
Construction was going on in the pit for the substructure and subway station
that is being replaced. There was a fence surrounding the site with plaques
describing what had happened and what was going on. We walked across the catwalk
over the West Side Highway for a better look. We returned to the church.Banners, cards and other memorial notes & signs
They still had the smell of smoke permeating from them.
***[I was glad the station at the WTC was not
open. We went a touch south and
then walked back to the area. A neighborhood area. I had watched a show on CNN about the neighborhood.
How people that call the area home are hoping that
it gets the support it needs to maintain that nature.
Small businesses all around. Then we got to the
corner and there it was to the left--the hole.
The buildings around still held the markings and
damage. Some had been scrubbed. I was not sad.
I walked down the side to the photos on the
board to my left. The void was being altered but
that fine dusty powder could still be seen everywhere.
There will be justice for what was done. Nothing
that evil and painful will go without balance. Nothing.
That is what I kept thinking as I saw people speaking
various languages, snapping photos, and looking stunned
at the view.]
Our next list item
is the Brooklyn Bridge. We walk through the financial area and start our trek on
the bridge. It was a beautiful day and the sights were great. We walked to just
past the middle of the bridge. On our way, we see Governor's Island, the Statue
of Liberty and a blimp. The wooden sidewalk is split
in half. The west side is for pedestrians and the
east side is for bicycles. We are passed occasionally
by a few skaters, also. We head back towards City Hall.
the bridge, we took photos. We would later be looking back at the point we stopped
at on the bridge when we returned to the area in
visit Battery Park. Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn,
Staten Island and New Jersey were also visible.
The East River was busy with maritime traffic.
The geometric designs produced by the cables were
Renee's Brother &
Matthew's Uncle--David Stravitz Book Signing
Back to Top
Back on the subway to
ride up to the North Wing of the Villard Houses on Madison Avenue. This is where
Renee’s brother, David, was holding a lecture and book signing for his
newly-released book “The Chrysler Building, Creating A New York Icon, Day By
Day." We arrive a bit late, but get into the standing-room-only lecture. Renee’s son, Matt, recognizes us and gives up his seat to Sharon. David was
the middle of a very good discussion of the pictures that are his book. He was
able to quickly point out the old and new buildings that are shown in the
photos. The photos are incredible. The equipment used to take them
weighed 100 pounds. The photographers had to carry this gear to many heights in
different buildings to document the construction. David was able to save the
negatives just before they were to be destroyed. There isn’t any
other documentation on the construction, of what was for 7 months, the tallest
building on earth. The Empire State Building was under construction at the same
has a nice young man for a son. The photos and explanation
that David shared was really interesting. Inside
information about the construction. I really
enjoyed the parts where he pointed out the position
of the ones taking the photos. The eye behind the
camera on those shots really had to be dedicated
to documenting the views.]
I bought the book and David personalized it. I had Matt sign on the
page where he was thanked for his work on the project. I think it was his first
book signing. Having this piece of New York City architectural history is an
added delight .
with Donz and Karen Pre-Show
Back to Top
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up for our visit with
The Donz. What can one say? Not enough, that’s for sure.
were standing in front of the Manhattan Chili Company, keeping an eye out for
him. I finally spotted him talking to a staffer…he was wearing his Late Night
coat. I don’t think he has another coat. We greeted him and went around the
corner to catch the action. We gave Donz a copy of the script from the Warren
show and a copy of Biff’s stage production notes. I included an Apple computer
watch, which runs backwards. It and reads, “Think Different” on the faceplate. I get to
see what he uses for time checks…a digital clock kept in his pocket. It looks as
though it’s gone through a couple of wars. We continue to visit and Donz seems
to pull staffer attention. Shecky, Maria and others pass by, from the
office doors to the theater doors. Rupert yells something about keeping him out
of the Hello Deli, but comes out and talks to us for quite some time. Steve
Young, the writer/bartender, not the football player, also comes out and talks
to us. As he left, I shared with him that I was not “Alan Page”
football player either. There are some pictures of all taken. A lot of
handholding in them.
I was just mostly an observer. (Well, there was
that moment when Don tried to grab me and run off.
I won't really go into it but I was sure glad the
NYPD had just pulled up.) I was amazed how
staffers would see Don and stop to visit. I
must admit Don was a pretty good sport when doing
my "Dave sittin' in the van" thing.
I watched Rupert reach for Don's hand and hold it
without any hesitation. Rupert also lifted the counter
cover and "showed" Marilyn that it appears
the counter is about due for another painting. He
laughed when I shared that Marilyn has this need
for that part to look nice too. I told him
next time she came to town I would remind her to
go in and check it.]
Sharon & I go around to get our tickets. We
retrieve Donz and go into the Manhattan Chili Company for something to eat and
drink. The host isn’t getting tired of us, just notices that it’s not the first
time we are there again. We sit in the front window and continue visiting.
a funny thing happened. Don and I were seated opposite
each other and both of us saw this woman out on
the sidewalk. She looked familiar to me. Why would
I know this woman? Oh well...it appeared Don
was doing the same thing in his head. My thought
was confirmed when in a moment, the woman appeared
standing between Don and Alan. It was the one and
only Karen. Don didn't recognize her. He kept mumbling
something about twiggy. Slender and smiling she stepped
up between the men. She had been told to come and
find us by Renee. A little surprise. It was a good
one. We visited. I sipped my iced tea. Don sipped
his water. Alan had his beer and Karen? Well...let
me just say things were gonna get ugly if the lite
beer didn't get there. The crowd slowly started
to gather outside as we visited.]
At some point, there’s some lady coming in to be with us. I have no idea who she
is, but I should,
it seems. I was doing something else when Donz & Sharon had
noticed that she was someone from the group. After being introduced to Karen, I
got a chair for her from another table. I offered her a drink and she said she
just wanted water. This couldn’t be the Karen from the group. *That* Karen is
supposed to be a drinker. I talked her into a beer…well, not a beer, a lite
beer. We ordered the beer and it didn’t come after a few minutes. Karen was
thirsty so I went over to our waitress…she had forgotten about it. The beer was
finally delivered and we continued visiting until it was time to get in line.
Karen & Donz made plans for the night and we went to get in line.
THE SECOND SHOW...
Late Show with David Letterman
Rickles & Jim Gaffigan
Back to Top
We were numbered 28 & 29 so we found our place near the front of the
line. A few minutes later, we went into the outer lobby with the 300 or so
number 28 & 29 is such a nice thing...until
you know that the access point to walk to the front
of the line was way back down the street. We
checked the numbers and entered UNDER the restraining
rope thingie. It would have been fine except my
back was not exactly supposed to be moving like that.
I didn't even think about it. I did not realize
it was bothering me until later. All the exercise
walking was a good thing. There was a delay
in the pain until the next day. As we entered the
theater, to be seated, it was not so bad being in
the line. We were on the edge and I spent some
time visiting with Dorothy, the security guard and
another page. It was then time for the prep and
I actually wanted to see a couple get tossed out
on their ear.]
Our talk here was near the same as the night before, but for the general
audience, without the “you’re the start of laughter” parts. During one point,
some person in the group made some groans and comments and they were quickly
shut-up by a frightful stare by the page. At this point, I saw what they were
expecting. People not paying attention to what was going on. Each pep
talk is used for the purpose of making sure the audience is in the correct frame
of mind and they won’t need to be thrown out due to behavior. I’m sure the
person that made the comment was at least warned about what he had done.
enter the theater and were seated in the center section, 4th row from the front,
3rd & 4th seats from the stage right aisle. We’d be in front of Dave for his
monologue and for Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up. The opening band introduction,
tape and comments were the same as Wednesday night. Dave came running out
again, the same way.
After his monologue,
the lights went dark while Dave was at the
desk. One of a couple technical goofs that happened. The next was when the scrim
was raised too early before the Will It Float? segment. Don Rickles was
typical Don Rickles. He’s much shorter in person. Tom Cavanaugh came out
during Paul’s solo and caped him. Being a Friday taping, there would be no
audience sweep. Jim Gaffigan had a funny stand-up segment and I was
surprised that he was so close to the camera while doing it.
show can best be described as "more" by me. More distractions
from the massive audience around me, and more people
on the stage. There was motion everywhere and my eyes
went with it. It was almost as if I was looking
through a busy crowd doing stuff and had to try
the core of the show. I was bored during Rickles' part of the show. He had
said almost the very same thing on his last appearance. There appeared to be some revisions
happening at one point. Tony was busy
with the cards...the 'brothers' busy talking with
each other. Dave stood a moment and seemed to
be editing a card with Eddie Brill standing close
to his left. The only way I can try and explain
the way this show felt to me was like being at a
football game and standing behind the bench. All
the players etc. flowing in front. You can see the
quarterback, but really can't watch anything much
without quickly being distracted. I really don't
remember much of the content. I remember none
of Gaffigan's jokes. I do remember thinking
that he was taller than I thought he should be.
The show was over quickly. Everyone seemed
in a hurry to shut down and get out. Made sense.
It was the last show of the week.]
seemed to be over faster than the Warren show, but it did take the same amount
of time. As we left the theater, I spotted Wahoo Mike sitting in the guest chair
with Alan Kalter next to him. I decided not to try to get his attention…he works
way too hard on the show as it is. We went back to Kinko’s and posted the
PLSQGs for the Thursday & Friday shows. Dinner that night was at a
restaurant on Broadway. Ellen's had singing wait staff and being Halloween, it made
for a bit of a different show.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1...
with Peggy- JPMorganChase, More Sightseeing
Show Remote Taping
Back to Top
This day was going to be different. No Late Show to see. We had made plans
to visit with a friend (Peggy) of Sharon’s and go flying around on her private
plane around the Statue of Liberty in the late afternoon. The corridor down the
Hudson River had been reopened recently since 9/11/01 and if the weather held,
it would make for an incredible view of NYC from the air. We went to Peggy’s
workplace on Park Avenue in the morning. She supported software for
JPMorganChase trading center in 5 overseas sites.
Peggy offered us a tour of a
trading floor across the street from her office. We met her and got our passes.
What we saw was amazing to the casual viewer. It was a very large floor, filled
with rows of workstations with 5-8 flat screen monitors at each station. There
were hundreds of these stations. This floor was for international trading of
just about everything in the world.
was a neat experience. I followed Peggy's instructions
and we went up the escalator to the second floor
and went to the desk. Only problem, we had gone up
the Employee Only entrance. They tell us how to
get over where we needed to be and after a few moments,
we are told Peggy is on her way. I give her
the gift Alan and I got for her and her husband.
Matching hats with the tail number of their private
plane on them. The hats also matched the color of their
plane. They were in a "gift" bag.
A friend in the past collected everything that
had anything to do with flying... the saying "I
would rather be flying..." was special. I stitched
it on her bag with the tail number and the
nickname of her plane, Romeo. Alan and I
seemed to have been able to find the right gift
for people along the way.]
There was another floor above
was identical. Another “executive” floor was elsewhere. Peggy explained that it
was relatively calm, because the world was calm and the U.S. stock markets
weren’t open yet. I could tell our tour was special by the way that the traders
looked at us. We were circling around the center of the floor and at each row,
eyes would look up at us in a “Who are these special people to be walking around
here?” type of glance. We also saw the large cafeteria on another floor
which had a very wide selection for the thousands of workers in the building. It was a
unique visit that wouldn’t be duplicated.
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We go down to the old ferry building that I used
while stationed in the Coast Guard, It is located
the Staten Island Ferry building. Both buildings are being renovated. Governor’s
Island is deserted but will be developed eventually. Back on the subway to
the upper west side to continue the tour. We walk to the Metropolitan Museum of
Art. Then up to the Guggenheim Museum. Inside, I explain to Sharon how the
spiral walkway makes for an easy tour through the exhibit.
going into the Guggenheim I wanted to walk in Central
Park. Well...Alan set that up for me. We entered
and took a photo of the sign located
at the gate and the lovely green plants. We then
turned around and exited. I sort of laughed when
it happened. I CAN say I was in Central Park twice.
Once on foot and then on the bus. The bus?
Oh--that is another first. My first ride on public
transportation like that. It was quick and easy
with the little metro cards. The path
through Central Park is a blur--there is photo proof.
The bus made only a few stops on our way to Broadway.
this point, my back is hurting me. I needed something
to interrupt the feeling. As
long as I was standing, I was okay...getting up
sitting were becoming more difficult.
Try and find a pharmacy when you need one. Alan
finally found one. Then...all we could see were
We catch a bus to
cross through Central Park to the upper east side. We had made a promise to take
pictures of Tom’s Restaurant (Broadway & 112th Street)…the one in the
"Sienfeld" show that is used for the outside shots.
of my neighbors is a big Sienfeld fan. The goal
was to get photographs of the place and if I could,
a menu for her. Alan did the planning and my neighbor
had neat things to share with her fellow employees
at work. It appears she was rather disappointed
because there was not a "BIG" salad on
the menu. It's a Sienfeld thing.]
Sharon went in for a couple of
souvenir menus and said that it was a place where she didn’t want to eat. We took
the obligatory pictures and ate pizza for lunch. The weather was the only thing
that would keep us from flying and it was looking darker as the forecasters had
predicted. After lunch, we call Peggy and travel towards mid-town to finally
discuss the situation. It didn’t look good. The clouds were coming in dark and
low. By the time we got back to 42nd street, Peggy was in touch with the weather
forecaster at her airport and there didn’t seem to be a way for us to do the
flying. It was a disappointment, but when safety was concerned, I didn’t
need any more thinking about it.
Show Remote Taping
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We returned to the hotel and decided to go
also had to deliver Rupert's shirt to him. He likes
to fish so we got him a fishing shirt. A nice cabin
representing Alan...and the word "Arkansas" under
the picture for me. Rupert looked at the shirt and
touched the picture..."Oh nice.. a fishin'
Our normal route was up 8th to 53rd. When we got to 53rd, we found
the street blocked off. There was something going on with contestants from the
New York Marathon that was going to happen in 2 days. Upon walking further, we
find it’s not really people from the Marathon, but staffers from the Late Show
in running gear, a cab with a running number and a camera filming. We proceed to
watch, after getting out of the camera shot to the south side of the street. Pat,
Kenny, Bill, director Jerry Foley and a few other stage people were around.
Writer Steve Young was there and we talked his ear off for quite a while.
explained that when they filmed something like the
thing they were doing, a writer was usually present.
Their purpose was to fine-tune the presentation. I do believe what
I enjoyed most, was standing back on that step watching
all of them do their job. When there was work to
be done, everyone pitched in. The wind was blowing
very hard. Paper cups were being used to make
it appear as race day. It was taking a bunch of the
to keep the cups in the street. Over and over, the
runners ran down the street. At one point two
women stood beside me and asked what was happening.
They were going to be running in the real race
on Sunday. JPMorganChase, the place we toured with
Peggy, was sponsor of the race. The
final times would be at the
business. After the filming was done...we went on to Kinko's. On returning, the street was clear
and clean. The Late Show team had left it in better shape
than it had been all week.]
cab was trying to take over the runners as they ran up the street. The street
was littered with white water cups that Pat & Kenny had thrown out and
stepped on. They stepped on them because the wind would keep blowing them out of
the street and into the gutter. They would get them swept out again, the scene
was reset and the cups would blow back to the gutter. This went on a number of times.
Finally near the end, Kenny got a dustpan and broom and started to pick them
all up. There were over 10 takes of the cab sequence that we saw. Steve
showed us a runner’s label that was another joke…something like there were so
many runners that they had one that was number
Yeah, over 19 septillion entered. As
the crew cleaned up we went on to Kinko’s, to post,as planned. We then went up to Times Square
and took a few more photos of the nightlife.
the way back, from Times Square, I noticed him again. The man that sleeps
in the box outside the side entrance to the Ed Sullivan
Theater. He waited to set up his box sleep area
until everyone was gone. He placed it under the
light near the door. Plastic over the cardboard.
I wondered if this was the one that Dave mentions.
The one that stands across the street and flips
him the bird. I know he probably doesn't really
flip him the bird...but I am sure that David and
the staff know of this one. Everyday he packed it
up... and every night he put it back out. He appeared
to be a fixture while we were there.]
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2...
NYC, Travel to DC & visit with Sister,
to Arkansas & Wuff
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Our last wake-up call in NYC. We said goodbye to Renee and she wished us a
safe trip out of town. We checked out and took Sharon’s second ride in a cab
to Penn Station. Traffic was light early this morning and we got there in no
time. We boarded the Amtrak train and had a noisy ride to BWI due to some drunk New
Jersey Net fans traveling to a game in D.C. My sister met us at the train
station and drove the short distance to the airport.
forgot to mention that his sister got a new car.
Brand spankin' new. When it came time to park at
the airport, a parking place just happened to be
right beside the elevators.]
The counter person advised
us that Sharon’s plane flight didn’t exist anymore. She placed her on
one that would leave in 10 minutes, getting her home faster.
says that so casually...she calmly told me my flight
didn't exist and then paused. I turn back to look
at Alan and his sister. I am thinking great. No
flight and Wuff is expecting me to pick her up.
I guess something bad had to happen to what had
been an almost perfect trip. Alan stepped
forward and before I knew it, I have tickets in hand
for a plane that was about to board. A direct flight
to St. Louis then home.]
We said our good-byes and Sharon
walked through the maze that led to the security checkpoint. My sister took me
to her house in Maryland.
I did get a full body search and scan at this airport.
The rush ticket made me a marked person. Even the
shoes had to come off. I took it it stride. The
one checking me said she was sorry it would take
a little time--the plane would not leave without
me. I told her I had visited the WTC. After
seeing that hole in the ground and fine
dust everywhere, she just needed to tell me
what she wanted me to do. At that point, the
next person pulled out of line started complaining.
Seated next to me, the woman was really upset
about being checked. The
security checker said,"So...you saw the World Trade Center Ground
Zero while you were visiting?" She glanced
at the woman to my left as she spoke.
I told her
yes and I would never forget what I saw. The thought
that all those people died because, "we didn't
have time to do what you are doing right now makes
me sick." The woman that was complaining
the flight home I had a window seat. I had to switch
planes in St. Louis and it appeared I had missed
my flight. I finally arrived at the gate and it
was empty. The woman behind the desk then pointed
me to another gate. They had moved the flight and
set it back a half-hour. I was going to make it
home with no problem. Well, there was those twilight
zone flash backs again...Time passed quickly and
I landed to find that it had rained in Arkansas
the entire time I was gone. As I exited the airport
parking at NWA, I realized it was going to be a long
wet ride down the mountain and probably fog in front
of me. Wet it was. No fog this time. Wuff was ready
to see me. I had arrived 2 hours earlier than expected
with the new plane tickets. I will not board her
again. It appears that the one I trusted with her
did not follow through with the instruction I had
given. It took
me a week to get her back to normal. The part that
bothered me most was that her voice was gone. She
had been put outside and would bark to be let in.
They would not let her in. I lived for almost two weeks with a dog that didn't
sound like my dog. Yes--I did have a long "discussion"
with the caregiver.
called while at dinner to make sure I made it home okay.
His family had taken him out for seafood. Wuff got
left over rib bones from Alan's meal in New York. She
really didn't stay mad at me for leaving her long.]
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balance of Alan's report about DC, Philadelphia
and St. Louis will be added soon!
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