Denzel Washington and Paul Banks.
PLUS: it's our Hurricane Sandy Show, with a limited staff; Broadway is flooded; a tardy Alan Kalter; Now I Feel Better, Now I Don't; a Top Ten list; and Biff reports on the weather.
" . . . and now, the perfect storm . . . . . . . David Letterman!"
We find Dave and Paul outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. The rain is falling, the wind is blowing, and we have no audience. Hey! Let's put on a show! Unfortunately, the doors are locked.
No audience tonight due to the storm. It was one thing to get them here, but then they would have to leave in the heart of the storm. We decided to go empty. And Tuesday may be the same.
Dave enters and goes right to the desk. He explains the obvious.
Hurricane Sandy facts. I typed up a few facts before the show, just in case.
And then, a few minutes before the opening announce I was asked to put something together. I did the Google and received some info for the Top Ten.
-Hurricane Sandy is one of the worst storms in United States history.
-Wind gusts up to 90 mph
-12 inches of rain expected
-10 million people are expected to lose power
-The hurricane will reach New Jersey and Delaware during high tide and a full moon
-Hurricane Sandy will meet a cold front and will drop up to 3 feet of snow in West Virginia.
-The hurricane will cost $1 billion.
I'm not happy with the $1 billion information I received but I wanted to include a dollar amount in damages. I think it's going to be a lot more than that. We shall see.
Dave reads tonight's opening remarks from a stack of blue cards. Even though Tony "Cue Cards" was given the "night off," I'm sure he was complaining about something.
-Hurricane Sandy . . . New York could experience the biggest power outage since the Yankees.
-Strong winds on Sunday. A Jets receiver was actually blown into the end zone.
-President Obama had a 15 minute phone call with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Usually when Chris Christie's on the phone for 15 minutes, it's with Domino's.
CBS News was working with a skeleton crew. We take a look at a special report. The graphics were hand drawn, the theme music was hummed by the reporter.
Boy, tonight really shows why we need the phony laughter from the audience. I think laughter is like the power of suggestion. When you hear someone laugh at a joke you may not think funny, you can tell yourself, "Well, somebody found it funny."
It's really bad outside. We take a look at Broadway. Wow! The Late Show marquee is underwater. Floating by is a hot dog cart, a pretzel, and Mayor Bloomberg. And if we have a hurricane next year, we'll probably show this again.
Walking in front of the camera is an angry Alan Kalter. He is soaking wet and looking a bit like Howard Beale. Dave asks Alan if he is OK.
ALAN: (angry) ""Maybe one of you 'sdd'holes could have told me we were doing a show today?!" Alan plops himself down in his seat. Hoo boy, there's nothing worse than an angry fiery red head.
New Yorkers were prepared for the hurricane. We take a look at one New Yorker, Donald Trump. We see a photo of Trump boarding up his hair.
And here's something new: "Now I Feel Better. Now I Don't."
We see the President assuring America that everything will be OK, that help is on the way.
ANNOUNCE: "Now I feel better."
Cut to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempting to speak in Spanish for his Hispanic constituents.
ANNOUNCE: "Now I don't."
ANNOUNCE: "This has been 'Now I Feel Better. Now I Don't.' "
(It's now Tuesday morning. A weather guy on the TV is pointing out some of the damage around the city. We see a shot of the West Side Highway at around 45th Street. The weather guy says it's "by the Titanic." No . . . . no, it's not the Titanic. It's the Intrepid. The Intrepid. The Titanic sank years ago. Remember?)
We go outside to talk to Biff who is reporting on the weather. Biff is in his yellow raingear by Dave Letterman Park. Biff, who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, has seen his share of hurricanes in his time. How does this one rate? Biff says this seems nothing much more than a rainstorm. Nothing like Hurricane Hazel (1954).
Actually, where we were on Broadway in the 50s, it didn't seem so bad. But go south on Manhattan island and it was a disaster.
TOP TEN: REJECTED NAMES FOR THE HURRICANE - the popular name for Hurricane Sandy is "Frankenstorm" since it is so close to Halloween. The New York Daily News tried to get some traction with "The Great Pump-Cane."
Oh, our chyron operator, the guy who does the Top Ten you see on your screen at home, couldn't get in today. Instead, we had cue carder Todd Seda put the top edge of a cue card at the bottom of your TV screen with the printed Top Ten item. Our chyron operator also does the opening animation for the Top Ten. Pat Farmer held a cue card in front of the camera with "The Top Ten" written on it.
REJECTED NAMES FOR THE HURRICANE
10. "Al Frankenstorm"
8. "Count Damp-ula"
7. "La Chupacabra-cane"
6. "Trumpical Storm"
5. "Power Outage Palooza"
3. "The New 'Hurricane Loco' from Taco Bell"
2. "iPaddle" - Todd tries to explain the joke to Dave. He doesn't do a very good sell.
1. "Oprah Windy"
We take a look at the dangling crane high above a luxury apartment on 57th Street between 6th and 7th. Ooh, boy, it looks precarious. On a giggly note, crew members on the show had rooms reserved in a nearby hotel. The hotel had to be evacuated due to the dangling crane. They found rooms on 45th Street. I had a room across the street from the theater. Nice place. I have the room for three days, but I have a feeling it's usually reserved for three hours.
Denzel enters in his yellow raingear from 53rd Street. He fights his way through the wind to enter the Bill Murray doors. (they are called the Bill Murray doors from his entrance on the first CBS show.)
Denzel takes off his raincoat and is out of breath. Dave commends him on his great acting. Dave thanks Denzel for making it to the show in this horrendous weather. Denzel says the streets are empty, "even Radio Man isn't out there."
Denzel recalls a bad hurricane from his youth called Betsy, or something like that.
(from the Google: Hurricane Betsy was the first hurricane from the Atlantic to cause at least $1 billion in damage. Because of the significance of its damage the name Betsy was retired from the recurring list of names for hurricanes. The name "Betsy" will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane.)
Denzel's new film, "Flight," opens on Friday. He plays an accomplished commercial pilot who likes to indulge in the drink. He points out that pilots don't drink, but this particular one does. How did he learn to act drunk? Did he go to local bars and do a field study? Denzel says you can find everything you want on the YouTube.
"Flight" - it opens Friday. See it at the theater. I don't think you'll get to watch it on TWA.
It's Dave and Paul and Denzel sitting in the empty audience.
We go back outside to talk to Biff. Nothing much new to report.
PAUL BANKS: from his new album, "Banks," the lead singer of Interpol performed "Young Again."
And that was our show for Monday, October 29, 2012.
Coincidence! A great depression in the weather over New York on the anniversary of the Great Depression! Hey-Ohhh! I have no idea if that make weather-sense.
One change I've noticed because of the storm is the increased use of the word "hunker."
That was me doing the opening announce. Mr. Kalter got stuck in the storm and didn't know we were doing a show. I didn't know I would be doing the opening until seconds before the show. Without the usual audience warmup, I couldn't gauge where we were in regards to the start of the show. I ran to Alan's perch and asked, "Will we rehearse it first?" I received a frantic shake of the head "no" and then heard the countdown from 10. I quickly read the opening and eyeballed where I would get the 3 cues for the announce. And there you have it.
There was no warmup and no pre-show music from the band but we did have music from Paul and the band during the commercial breaks. Other than the preshow, the show was taped as if we had an audience.
I attended the Christening for the lovely Allie Grace on Sunday. As with most Catholic sacraments, the Christening was followed by food and grog at a local restaurant. As the clock approached 7 PM, those who remained drifted to the bar to watch the end of the Giant/Cowboy game. A Giant rout had turned into a close game with seconds to go. In the most important play of the game, I got a phone call on my cell. I recognized the number on the phone and realized it had to do with work. I was sure it had something to do with the impending storm. I clicked on the phone just as Tony Romo threw a bomb into the endzone. I answered "Hello" as the Cowboy caught the pass for a touchdown. The quiet barmaid let out a yelp of joy. The rest of the bar was screaming with ire. I was trying to hear who was calling. I was told the show must go on and I was being offered a hotel room in the city. Before I answered, I shouted out to the crowd that the pass was incomplete; that the guy was out of bounds. The caller, naturally, was curious where I was. I told her I was at a religious event and that the receiver's hand touched out of bounds before he landed. No one in the bar believed that the guy was out of bounds. At first look it appeared he was in by three feet, but no one was looking at the receiver's hand. Anyway, the guy was ruled out of bounds, New York Giants escaped with the win and I got a room across the street from the theater.
I made it to the city Sunday night ahead of the storm. It would be hitting at any time. Throughout the night I would check out the window to find nothing out of the ordinary, other than the streets were very quiet. When I woke Monday morning, still nothing more than a sprinkle with a bit of a breeze. As I sit at my desk watching the clouds flow south down the Hudson at 9:30 AM Monday, still not much going on.
I tend to be a non-believer when the forecast calls for a disaster. It's usually nothing more than hype, financed I suspect by the Dura-Cell battery people, but this one really looks like it'll be something. Sunday morning I rushed out to the supermarket for some powdered milk and smiled when I saw the shelves of water were wiped clean. People were in a panic. Everyone was desperate for water, which I found ironic with 12 inches of rain in the forecast. When did hydration become such a concern? And don't most people still have water during a power outage?
Local news LOVES a storm. It's their time to shine. One thing I would change is when they show the weather map with the moving storm pattern. When the news shows the storm's path across the map, they should include the time of day in the corner of the screen. If they show the eye of the storm over North Carolina and then moving to Philadelphia and then to northern Jersey and on into New York, they should have the time changing to correspond to the weather pattern. That's what I would do if I ruled the world.
Early Monday, there is a feeling of excitement with a tingle of foreboding dread. I think by Tuesday the feeling will be more tragic.
The best part of the TV news shows is watching the anchorwomen who were hired to look pretty trying to look serious.
It was very hard for people to get in to work on Monday. We worked with a skeletal crew. CBS News was so low-staffed they showed a repeat.
And it's also fun to see the "wacky" weathermen putting on their serious face.
I'm looking forward to this . . . . . Tuesday night, while in flood conditions, Ken Burns will be here to talk about his new documentary, "The Dust Bowl"
CAMEO MENTION OF A WAHOO READER
Denise, Dominique, and Danielle. I'll be home tonight! Miss you.
This concludes another installment of CAMEO MENTION OF A WAHOO READER
Michael Z. McIntee
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