While users remain divided about Facebook’s Timeline, The Late Show with David Letterman is using the social network’s recently introduced feature in a perfect way: to celebrate Letterman’s 30th anniversary on network television.
His Facebook Timeline starts in 1982 with trade magazine ads and aired promos for the debut of what was called Late Night with David Letterman on NBC. Just over a decade later is the 1993 memo from Howard Stringer, who was then president of CBS, announcing the debut of the comedian’s current TV home. The most recent items in the Timeline are mere hours old, like a web-exclusive backstage clip of Wednesday’s guests Bill Murray and Regis Philbin, indicating this project could be the beginning of an ongoing digital diary.
Along the way, the Timeline displays script covers, admission tickets, invitations to industry events, magazine covers, annual team photos and other ephemera that captures how the show changed with the times, and how Letterman himself went from a slightly goofy young man to the established household name he is today.
Interestingly, entries in the Timeline often are not things that were originally put on line by Letterman’s representatives. Instead, as with most everyday individual users, content is drawn from other Facebook profiles, YouTube, Twitter and additional sources.
All of the early fan favorites are here, like the blue card for the first-ever Top Ten List, crushing random objects in a giant hydraulic press, dropping various things from great heights, and improvised encounters with the denizens of New York. A few clips of the wacky suits are included too, like Letterman flinging himself against a wall covered in Velcro hooks while wearing a suit made from Velcro loops or getting dropped in a huge tub of water while covered in Alka-Seltzer.
There’s also a selection of guest appearances, such as: Bette Davis spilling water on Letterman’s trousers; Johnny Carson; Bob Hope; Sam Kinison; Drew Barrymore’s infamous desk dance; Johnny Cash; Warren Zevon; Cybil Shepherd wearing only a towel; and the 2010 Super Bowl ad that showed Letterman, Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey sharing a couch to watch the game.