This article is from the Conan O'Brien FAQ, by Joseph Gebis firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
For the first two years of the show, "Late Night" had an animated
opening. This opening was a swoop-down into a red-headed animated
character's room who was settling in for the night. He walks in with a
bowl of snacks, kicks his cat out of the bed, turns on the tv with a
remote, and starts munching. The guests for the night would be announced
and would appear as pictures in a spotlight over an animated NYC skyline.
This opening stayed basically the same for two years. (A huge, winking
Conan head was deleted from the opening early on.)
At the Conecon, Conan mentioned that some high-up goober-smoochers
wanted the show to have a live-action opening instead. Conan would not
divulge any more information, except that the new opening was coming.
On the second anniversary of the premiere of the show (September 13,
1995), the new, live-action opening also premiered. This opening features
Conan bicycling through NYC. The whole opening is very blue and very
surreal-ish. Conan bikes through several NYC landmarks, including Grand
Central Station, and the dinosaur room of the Museum of Natural History.
Over a shot of the Museum, the guests' names appear in text as they are
announced. At the very end of the opening (which doesn't always appear on
the broadcast version, but shows up in the studio monitors), Conan bikes
into the delivery entrance of Rockefeller Center.
This opening can still be downloaded in its entirety from the NBC web
site. It is at:
The opening recently underwent other changes. It was shortened up
by splicing out some stanzas from the opening theme song and
discontinuing Joel Godard's comments. This made space for a "Late Night"
promo that is shown between the end of the "Tonight Show" and the start
of "Late Night." This was an unpopular, but tolerable change. The week
of June 9th, however, the opening was replaced completely and the promo
*became* the opening. The theme song played behind clips of the upcoming
show while Joel Godard announced the specifics. These changes by NBC
Burbank have been greeted with universal hostility by fans of the show.
Fans wishing to voice their objection to the changes may find detailed
information on what to do at: