David Bauder | The Associated PressWith the curtain soon to fall on David Letterman’s late-night television career, the end comes Friday for an odd and emotional holiday tradition that involves comic Jay Thomas, the Lone Ranger, a giant meatball and, most indelibly, singer Darlene Love.
Love will sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for the 21st and final time on Letterman’s annual holiday show. He’s retiring from the “Late Show” next May.
“I’m looking forward to it this year more than any other year, with mixed feelings, of course,” said Letterman’s longtime bandleader, Paul Shaffer. “It’s been incredibly meaningful for me.”
Letterman’s holiday show has traditions, just not the ones you see in most households. Thomas comes by to repeat the story of giving a ride to Clayton Moore, television’s Lone Ranger. Then, as he’s done since 1998, Thomas tries to knock the meatball off the top of a Christmas tree with a football.
The centerpiece is Love’s performance of the song that identifies her as the “Christmas queen,” primarily because of the annual exposure on Letterman.