The Ed Sullivan Theater is a historic institution in New York City. The Beatles made their American debut there, Elvis Presley played there, and everyone's personal favorite - Justin Bieber - has played there. Stepping into the delightfully chilly Ed Sullivan Theater feels like history in the making, because, well, it is. The theater was originally arranged to produce live theatrical performances, but CBS has been making do since 1936. The Old Ed Sull has a rich lineup of radio and television under its belt, including CBS Broadcasting, Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, and of course, the big man himself, David Letterman. The Late Show made its home at Ed Sully in 1993, back when Rupert Jee was just a guy who sold sandwiches, and the feud between Letterman and Leno was still a fresh wound in late night comedy.With Dave's retirement upon us, (how will we live? what will we watch on TV when we're drunk?), we've put together the most interesting facts about his home for the last two decades. Be sure to vote for the facts that most surprise you, and leave your thoughts, tributes, and ballads in the comment section.
The Old Ed Sull Did a #TBT
On a Throwback Thursday (or #tbt as the kids are calling it) in 2014, the Ed Sullivan Theater decided to go retro for a day to remember CBS Television Studio 50.
The Hal Gurnee Plaque Still Stands
When long-time director, Hal Gurnee, handed over the reigns of the Late Show to Jerry Foley in 1995, a plaque was installed next to the door of the control room in honor of his dedication to late night television since the early 1960s. Gurnee worked on The Jack Paar Tonight Show in 1962 before heading over to the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson later that year. The first time he worked with Dave was in 1980 on a The David Letterman Show. Letterman is known for being extremely loyal to his staff members, so when he became the host of Late Night, Gurnee came too. He directed The Late Show for two years before retiring. The plaque will remain in the Ed Sullivan Theater as a tribute to all of Gurnee's contributions to television.
Dave Starts His Nightly Run Across the Stage in the Hallway Beneath the Theater
At the beginning of every episode, Dave can be seen running across the back of the stage before beginning his iconic, nightly monologue. He starts that run after he gets off the service elevator at the basement level below the theater. He sprints past the bathrooms, the CBS Page guarding the bathrooms, the control room where director Jerry Foley sits, up through the green rooms, across the stage, and backstage toward stage left. If you're a staff member backstage, you know instinctively to get out of the way before Dave begins his run.
The Beatles Made Their American Debut at the Ed Sullivan Theater
Amidst screams from 461 fans in the audience, and in front of 73 million at-home viewers, The Beatles played their very first American show at the Ed Sullivan Theater on February 9, 1964. Women in the audience were filmed fainting, crying, and consoling one another. Beatlemania had officially reached the USA.