A man described as “blind drunk” smashed through the front doors of David Letterman’s Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway in New York early Sunday and wreaked havoc in the historic building’s ornate lobby.
Police arrested the man – identified by the New York Daily News as James Whittemore, 22, a Manhattan resident. He was charged with burglary and criminal mischief, the paper reported.
The vandalism happened at around 7 a.m. Sunday. The suspect reportedly had no connection to the show or to CBS. Nor could his motive be determined (of course, when it comes to drunken rampages, motives can be murky).
Repairmen were already on the scene Sunday afternoon fixing the damage, the Daily News said. CBS said a planned “Late Show” taping would go on as scheduled Monday afternoon – with guests George Lopez and “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson. Monday’s show will be the first in more than a week, since the show and its staff were on vacation last week.
Presumably, the ornate front doors of the theater – which opened in 1927 – were locked, but were somehow not difficult to break open for a determined man under the influence of alcohol. However, his vandalism went no farther than the lobby because the theater’s auditorium – including audience seating, the stage and Dave’s set – were firmly padlocked, so no damage was done there. Nor was anyone injured except for the vandal himself who sustained a cut on his forehead.
The senseless vandalism is shocking to all who love TV because the Ed Sullivan Theater is a veritable television shrine. It was the long-time home of the legendary “Ed Sullivan Show” (from which it gets its name) and “The Merv Griffin Show.” And it was also the studio where the Jane Curtin-Susan St. James sitcom “Kate & Allie” was filmed.
It’s been the home of CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” since the show premiered in 1993.