Where were you on the evening of May 14th, 1998? That's the night one of the most-anticipated TV series finale aired... and Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer entered into an eternity of syndication. Did you know...
- Frank Sinatra died during the West Coast airing of the finale. His daughter Nancy said she had planned to visit him prior to his death but got caught up watching Seinfeld reruns prior to the finale—"I got so involved watching the damn show that I never got over to my dad's."
- Sinatra was able to get to the hospital quickly—"'There wasn't much traffic,' said Fire Chief Mike Smollen, noting reports that the final episode of Seinfeld kept L.A.'s streets nearly deserted between 8 and 10 that night."
- The fake working title was "A Tough Nut to Crack," which was meant to throw viewers... though would "The Finale" have really given anything away?
- The two episode finale ran 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- A little under 80 million viewers were estimated to have watched the finale, which also aired in Times Square on a 35-foot screen... though Giuliani tried to stop it!
- This was the 3rd most viewed series finale in the U.S. after M*A*S*H and Cheers.
- At the end of the end, Jerry starts talking to George about shirt buttons, using lines from the first episode.
- TV Land paid tribute by going black during the original broadcast... or rather, by showing a note that read: "We're TV Fans so... we're watching the last episode of Seinfeld." See it here.
- While the finale was criticized by many, The NY Times liked it: "The hilarious final episode was everything Seinfeld was at its best: mordant, unsentimental and written by Larry David (who helped create the show and left a few years ago). Wildly self-referential and slightly surreal, the final episode revels in petty details, turns cliches on their heads and reveals why Seinfeld worked so well."
- In the finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jerry tells Larry David: “We already screwed up one finale," and gets this response: "We didn’t screw up a finale, that was a good finale!”
- Jerry's stand-up acts that bookended the show were cut out around the end of season 7, but returned for the finale.
- The last real (non-clip show) episode before the finale was called "The Puerto Rican Day," and included Kramer setting a Puerto Rican flag on fire, and commenting that “Puerto Ricans are emotional, excitable people.” NBC apologized for the episode, and it was originally banned from syndication.
- Speaking of syndication, Larry David's syndication deal was for $1.7 BILLION—this earned David an estimated $250 million in 1998, and "payments will continue until the full $1.7 billion from the original deal has been paid."
Here's the last five minutes:
Though some just remember how it ended with that Green Day song...