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Howard Stern the True Shocking Story
this tract was originally released in 1993 as "Veritus Slpendor Underdog" (The Splendorous Truth Of Underdog)
By Suzanne Muldowney, Artwork by Phil
The following is a true account of atrocities committed toward me by Howard Stern and Associates, and their consequences. This account Was intended to have been made public long ago, but I have met with many obstacles. Now, it is hoped that the reader will learn and heed the truth behind myth, gossip, and sensation.
In the early months of 1992, I had the ill fortune to become involved with Howard Stern's television show. Many myths have evolved since then which are necessary to explode, and set matters straight.
I, Suzanne Muldowney, am basically a dancer, having studied ballet as a teenager but performing freestyle choreography much like Isadora Duncan. For at least 20 years, a good part of my dancing has involved character portrayals. Along these lines, I have been portraying TV-cartoon superhero Underdog since '80.
When Howard Stern et al. learned of this, they enticed me to be on his television program, but before I had a chance to learn of its true nature. Until then, I had never heard of this man or the program!
Howard and his minions besmirched the good names of both the character and me by asking these questions:
-- Does Underdog bark
like conventional dogs?
-- Does he belch?
-- Does he excrete wastes?
-- Does he lust after his girlfriend [Polly]?
-- Does he fight with other superheroes for superiority or supremacy?
-- Does my dancing depict him in any of these situations?
The answer to all
of these questions is
On two occasions I was asked: does Underdog use pep pills?
The answer: Underdog never uses pills to become strong. The creators of the 60s cartoon series made him occasionally tire out from strenuous exertion and have to use a recuperative, though not in every story. (Consider how everyone automatically has a certain energy level and, once it's depleted, either takes time to rest or consumes something to "recharge the batteries" in a hurry.) The acting out of this recuperation is impossible to do unless a group of performers are acting out stories with me; I have always been a single.
Q: How did the public respond to your appearances?
A: I became a laughing stock
and an outcast. Numberless children, as well as adults, were deliberately perverse
by repeating the same or similar obscene questions, or by cracking dirty jokes.
It was appalling that children had chosen to hop on this bandwagon. In my hometown,
when I leave for work and have to go a few blocks to catch a bus, I pass a group
of children awaiting a school bus. Before, these children never acknowledged
me; now they were copying Stern & Company's examples! The oldest of these
children were no more than twelve years old! How could children
have tuned in to this program? If this could happen in my own neighborhood, how many millions more, nationwide, could have been
affected? Two or three times there were delegations of preteen children to my door. They had spread rumors that I had been adulterous with Mr. Stern, and that Underdog was a lustful cad! Essentially I was ostracized, not praised, by virtually everyone I knew.
Q: Why would anyone want to create such filthy notions about you or your character?
A: I didn't know, until it was too late that this was the essence of Howard Stern venues: to make obscene jokes of virtually anything respectable, usually by borrowing or stealing an existing topic and then profaning it to an R or X rating.
BECAUSE HOWARD STERN COULD NOT ORIGINATE, BUT ONLY STOLE AND THEN VULGARIZED AND DISTORTED, HE WAS AN ALL-TIME PARASITE.
Q: Why had you been on the program in the first place?
A: I said before: I had never heard of either the program or the man. I did not contact the show first; it was the other way around. The staff insisted that they were booked way ahead and that I must make my first appearance immediately, before having had a chance to learn more about it. I begged them repeatedly but they denied my request.
Q: Couldn't you have watched an episode at home first?
A: I WAS FIRST CONTACTED BY THE PROGRAM ON A MONDAY. THEY MADE ME MAKE MY FIRST APPEARANCE THE FRIDAY OF THAT SAME WEEK. BECAUSE THE SHOW AIRED ON SATURDAY NIGHTS, I COULDN'T POSSIBLY HAVE VIEWED THE SHOW IN THE NORMAL WAY UNTIL THE DAY AFTER MY TAPING.
Q: If the show, its norms and contents, proved so offensive, why didn't you just leave?
A: I was made to sign releases
before any taping was done; I was afraid the staff would take action against
me. But also, I was a long way from home. I didn't know anyone. I didn't know
around the premises and since I had no car and had been brought in
by limo, I could not return home by myself.
Furthermore, in the "Howie-wood
Squares" instance. I was strategically positioned in the tic-tac-toe grid
so that I was trapped. I was in the top row, and had to enter via a rollaway
staircase which was immediately removed. Being at least two stories up, I couldn't have left without jumping from the grid and risking injury.
Q: Why didn't you talk things over?
A: I TRIED VERY HARD TO LEARN
ABOUT THE SHOW BEFORE DOING ANYTHING, BUT THE STAFF WAS UNCOOPERATIVE OR EVASIVE.
IN ARRANGING FOR THE FIRST TIME, I WAS UNABLE TO TALK DIRECTLY TO MR. STERN.
THOUGH IT WAS HIS SHOW, HE WAS NEVER REACHABLE.
AFTERWARD, EITHER UPON COMPLETION OF A TAPING OR BACK AT HOME, ONLY THE STAFF, NOT MR. STERN, WERE AVAILABLE FOR TALKING -- ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAD TO COMPLAIN OF ILL TREATMENT.
Especially within the studio itself, I was unable to discuss matters with him because (1) he would slip away, (2) it may have been another guest's turn, (3) the directors would make me go somewhere else. I could speak directly to him only when on the air; he always took advantage of me.
Q: Why were you on the show more than once?
A: Through deceit and guile! The first time, I was told that the only free space available was the end of that same week. Very soon after, they were planning that "Hollywood Squares" travesty. Although I didn't realize that until after. Again, they said that the installment was to be made at the end of that week -- only a couple of days hence!
Because the first time had proved a nightmare, I was suspicious. But they said that big-time, straightforward celebrities would make up the panel; and being "extra-special," I was desired greatly. They mentioned, by name, Gene Rayburn and Jaye P. Morgan among the prospects. I took their word in good faith that the installment would be a clean, decent one like the conventional game.
Alas, I was dead wrong. When the limo brought me to the studio, the rest of the cast was already assembled since I had been delayed in traffic. When I came into the room, except for the two aforementioned stars, all the other panelists, waiting, proved to exemplify a rouges' gallery of human vices! Punk-rock artists, fortune tellers, and --worst!-- a Ku Klux Klansman and a pair of seductresses! And the game questions posed were in line with their vices -- extramarital love affairs, drugs, fornication, etc. I couldn't believe my ears; I wanted to bail out but was trapped in the grid.
And that episode was not the end of it. For about a month I heard nothing more from them, but then in the latter half of April, I was informed that, in the manner of the Oscars, there was to be an awards episode to guests who had been outstanding in various themes. Apparently I had been nominated for Best Choreography, and must be present there to receive the award and make a speech, as did other series-award winners.
But because this was the Howard Stern show. I immediately said no; I would not come. Maybe I wouldn't even win in this category; even if I did, someone else could accept in my stead.
When the woman I was speaking to, and whose job it was to book the guests, heard my refusal, she said, "Hold on." So for a while I was left waiting on the line. When she came back, she said: "No, you must be there. Everyone who's nominated has to attend."
I was outraged at hearing this. What could they be up to? The installment, like the others, was to be taped in just a couple of days. Soon after, one of the male staff told me the same thing about mandatory attendance.
THOUGH I SAID NO, THEY DIDN'T TAKE IT FOR AN ANSWER AND FORCED ME TO COME UNWILLINGLY.
When I arrived at the studio, it would be a while before the taping started. I was put into a private room, where there was a TV set, and was left to busy myself. I decided to keep practicing my speech should I win.
Quite some time passed until the hour came for a TV show I wanted to watch. I turned on the set, but at the commercial break, a promo was inserted for the episode I was about to make. The announcer's voice said it was an award series; then a superimposed image of an award figurine was inserted. When I saw how the figurine looked, I shot up out of my seat. The award figurines were pornographic naked women, bent forward at the waist, with a paper-money bill wedged between the buttocks!!
Now I knew I had been taken, again. I wasn't going to accept an award like that! I ran out of the room and screamed for the male staff member I had been made to seek counsel with. But he could not be located; instead, two girls came. I wanted to leave at once; I would not go on tonight. But these staff girls made me go with them to another part of the premises. They would not let me leave. They insisted that the promo I saw was only a test pilot; the figurines actually looked different.
I TRIED TO LEAVE, BUT WAS OVERTAKEN AND FORCED TO RETURN.
Finally I was hustled
into the banquet room and made to sit at
a table peopled by immodestly dressed girls. My category was to be
next. I did win Best Choreography, but the statue was, indeed, the
pornographic figurine I had seen on the promo.
I spoke in graphic detail about Howard's
atrocities and the indignities I had suffered, and that I was
refusing the award. I actually banged my fists on the table in
saying to him, "Clean up your act!" Later, people said that others
at their tables, and Howard, either pulled their ties or shuddered in fear.
SOCIETY ALWAYS FRETS
ABOUT VIOLENCE ON TV SETTING BAD REAL-
LIFE EXAMPLES. HOWARD STERN'S R- AND X-RATED COMEDY BROUGHT A REAL
TRAGEDY IN LIFE TO ME.
Shortly after the
award episode aired, I received an indignant
letter from a group headquartered apparently in southern New
Jersey. They had organized themselves into an Underdog Fan Club,
but were now dissolving it! "We have been absolutely besieged with
complaints from our friends and neighbors... How could you possibly
have accepted? ... you are too unhealthy an example for us and our children..."
I cried my eyes out
at this. Howard Stern, not I, was the bad
example; he and his stooges had forced me to make that episode.
Now I was being punished because of him.
However, this unfaithful
group never contacted me until after
my first Stern appearance. Their original letter was also a
questionnaire which, when I filled it out, revealed that I did more
than just portray Underdog. I had had to send the entire original
letter back to them via a printed post-office box address, so that
I could not write to them on my own. Now, in receiving their
farewell note, I found no return address on the envelope, and only
a "South Jersey" postmark, so that I could not trace these people
to their hometowns. I had never dreamed there would ever be an
Underdog Fan Club, let alone one dedicated to me; now one started
in the wake of Howard Stern was also ending because of him.
** But didn't the
Nickelodeon revival of the Underdog cartoon
series make children see the truth about you? **
No. By the time Nickelodeon
started the reruns, the children
had already been brainwashed by Stern & Company. Even afterward,
children treated me no better.
I WAS ON HOWARD STERN
3 TIMES FROM FEBRUARY TO MAY OF 1992.
THE NICKELODEON REVIVAL DID NOT START UNTIL JUNE 15, 1992.
To quote my awards
speech: "The Underdog cartoon series hasn't
been shown in about nine years. Thus millions of unsuspecting
children [who had somehow tuned in to Howard Stern] were hearing of
him for the first time. But because of Howard, his assistants, the
other guests, and their assorted antics constituting what Howard
himself termed `a sea of debauchery,' these impressionable
youngsters were also hearing terms like `orgasm,' `Ku Klux Klan,'
`homosexuality,' `lesbianism,' and so forth, for the first time.
Now they think Underdog is Howard's invention, and that the
character and I are lustful cads."
Because Howard Stern
"got there first," children took him at
his word. Then, when Nickelodeon began re-running Underdog's
cartoons, neither adults nor children who were viewers of Underdog
via Nickelodeon -- let's call them VUNs -- ever told me that they
were aware of the revival. When they did speak to me, they harped
only on Howard Stern. If these people were VUNs, they never
admitted so to me; they certainly never put two and two together in
terms of the differences or connections between animated and live
* * * * *
Ever since that fateful
invitation to be on this dissolute
program, I have had to set people straight every minute re these
aforementioned matters. But those same people only teased me
spitefully; while others promptly forgot my words or were
Since the program
aired nationwide, its nature, contents, and
especially my consequent indignities were inexcusable. How,
especially, could children have tuned in to it? How could their
adultfolk have allowed it? If the adults watched it at all, they
set up a bad example for the children.
Because the Underdog
character was patterned almost entirely
after Superman, Howard Stern chose also to profane the latter.
HOWARD STERN SAID
THE ONLY LINK BETWEEN SUPERMAN AND UNDERDOG
Howard Stern also
emphasized that Underdog was "just a silly
show." To this I had replied: "True, but there was a lot of
negative feedback on that, just like with the Batman series with
Adam West. The public demanded either improvement or cancellation.
With Underdog, I've always done him more sensibly and
HOWARD STERN WENT
FURTHER BY DECIDING THAT TO BE MORE
REALISTIC, OR MATURE, UNDERDOG HAD TO BE INCLINED TOWARD
"ADULTIFICATION" -- ADULT VICES SUCH AS GREED, PRIDE, OR LUST!
Howard Stern and his minions have committed very real deeds of super-villainry:
(1) Ruined reputations
of every human guest and profaned every
subject they got their hands on;
(2) Grossly abused
First Amendment in use of media;
(3) Become corrupt with irresponsibility as well as power;
(4) Polluted minds with media toxins:
(5) Made lethal examples for real life and prompted tragedies in unlucky individuals' lives.
These people have
blighted the past, are still polluting the
present, and no doubt will waste the future. Unsuspecting
innocents must be warned accordingly.
Whether the average
fictional superhero focuses on
crime-fighting, rescue missions, or acts of goodwill, part of the
time he/she invests is in alerting the public of imminent trouble.
Though Underdog is fictional, I, playing his part, am on a very
real goodwill/rescue mission to warn you, the reader, of past
disasters and present need for future precaution and passive resistance!
Though Howard Stern's
TV show was discontinued after the
summer of '92, it was nevertheless dangerous while it lasted, since
one did not have to go to an adult-entertainment facility, rent a
film, or even pay for a cable installment; the program was on free
TV and could get into any household just by tuning to the right station!
Also, Stern is still
active on radio; millions of people take
radios to school or work -- during the morning peak hour, right
when he is on the air! If your area has a radio station which airs
his program, (1) find out which station; (2) what time Stern airs;
and (3) DO NOT TUNE INTO HIM AT THAT TIME!!! He and his "products"
are as deadly as illegal drugs, and MUST BE SHUNNED!! He has been
warned repeatedly by the F.C.C. to amend or stop, and has also been
deservedly saddled with legal cases and fines, but will not repent.
He must he "starved out of business" via insufficient patronage!
From the very first,
I have been plagued by Stern-oriented
acknowledgements at every one of my performances, regardless of how
I performed or dressed; and even when I've been in street clothes,
going to work, worship, or the grocer.
My first Stern appearance
was February of '92; next month,
when I was to be in a couple of St. Patrick's parades, and even
though I was in Irish costume, I was greeted altogether
inappropriately. At present, I have made about thirty appearances
other than Underdog, but would be acknowledged the wrong way no matter what!
It was distressing
in itself to be greeted this way by
thousands, even millions of people, indicating how so many tuned in
to Howard's profligacy in the first place!
The acknowledgments proved to be several standard intimidating phrases:
(1) "lt's the Underdog Lady/Underdog Woman"
(2) "I saw you on the Howard Stern show"
(3) "You were on the Howard Stern show"
(4) "It's that woman from the Howard Stern show"
(5) "Howard Stern loves you"
I especially hated
the first one, since Howard himself
invented it. I had already been performing Underdog publicly for
years and was known in some localities for it. Now, numberless
people were imitating Howard's example, even where I was already known!
ANYONE WHO CALLS
ME "UNDERDOG LADY" OR "UNDERDOG WOMAN" GIVES
HIMSELF AWAY AS HAVING LEARNED THE TERM FROM HOWARD STERN.
To be greeted with
the fourth one meant that the person
thought I was one of Stern's assistants. And the fifth was a big
lie; Howard had proven himself to show no respect for anything or anyone.
TO BE GREETED BY
THESE PHRASES HAS BEEN A CONSTANT THORN IN MY
SIDE BECAUSE STERN WAS A VULGAR MAN. IF HE AND HIS M.O. HAD BEEN
CLEAN AND DECENT, LIKE ED SULLIVAN'S, I WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECTLY
HAPPY AND HAD BETTER SUCCESS.
It was especially
alarming when young people -- sometimes only
6 to 8, and mostly 10 to 18 -- used any of the first three. I
said before how children never mentioned Nickelodeon to me as the
perpetuator of Underdog.
I found how many
adults were unaware, until I told them, of
the Nickelodeon revival. Even some mischievous children were
unaware. Some adults told me they had watched Underdog as
children, but not before first mentioning Howard Stern!
WHENEVER I WAS IN
PUBLIC, THE OTHER PERSON, NOT I, WOULD RAISE
THE SUBJECT OF HOWARD STERN.
People did this far
too often, as though that was the only
important info on me. If told them to stop, they persisted.
When the news of
the TV show's cancellation broke. I was
overjoyed; people now ought to stop deriding me. But, no. I was
still wrongly thought of as a Howard Stern by-product and,
therefore, an impurity. Worst: if I had in any way precipitated
the show's downfall, I received no credit, commendation,
testimonial, or official acknowledgement of any kind. A few
scattered people who said they wrote letters of complaint probably
never had them read by Stern himself. When that unfaithful club
gave me the axe, I sent a copy of their letter to Stern and his
conspirators at the TV station. But they expressed only a flippant
regret. Stern himself remained aloof. Never had there been
evidence of picket lines, riots, or letters to the editor against
Stern's deeds. I have only evidence of action against me, not for
me, in standing up to him.
In the time before
Christmas, when there were many holiday
parades, I kept processing past adult-child groups of spectators
which were obviously families. The adults would say "I saw you on
Stern," "Underdog Lady," etc. right in front of the children!
Would the children next ask who was Howard Stern!? Sometimes other
parade entrants, assembling for lineup, would greet me the same
way; they were only children or teens who had watched the program!
After winter had
passed, I was still getting the same
acknowledgments, though the show had been off for months and the
cartoons had been on Nick for almost a year. I began putting
people to the question and was disgusted to find:
(1) People who called
me "Underdog Lady" didn't know the first
thing about the character or that Nickelodeon had been re-running the cartoons.
(2) People who spoke up about the Howard Stern show had forgotten what my topic had been.
although they might be VUNs, greeted me
only via phrases #2 and #3, or repeated obscene questions or
statements made by Howard or his assistants.
On August 8, 1993,
I was making an appearance (not Underdog)
at the Jersey Shore when one man yelled, "Underdog is a homo!" He
meant "homosexual," referring to an evil question I'd been asked on
"Howie-wood Squares." He claimed that Stern had made a video from
some of his old episodes including one of me! I've seen no
evidence of such a video in rental stores, but if it does exist, it
would serve only to soil my good name all over again.
On September 5, on
my way home from an Atlantic City
appearance, I was accosted by a British couple who said that not
only had they seen me on Stern, but that the telecast was at home
in Britain! How many other countries over the world could have
gotten brainwashed, via Stern, about me!!? Underdog has to be
My performance situation
has not improved because of all this.
In fact, it's worsened! "I have been dropped from some circuits in
which I used to be, and been denied entry into others... I've
become a victim of negative pre-judgment and discrimination because
of Howard Stern."
Dance-wise, I can
perform staged recitals and concerts only 2
to 3 times a year, and in backward locations. All my other
appearances are parades or block parties in which I don't even get
to dance but merely drift around in costume, socializing. I've
been termed a "star" and "celebrity" but have not been engaged in
some celebrity-VIP-only events like the Presidential inauguration,
Super Bowl Halftime, big-time charity telethons, special concerts
or TV programs, etc. I'm still struggling, even worse than before,
just to get a chance to put myself on display. I've suffered many
impediments over many years and am in danger of forced retirement
due to mediocrity or under-achievement.
There must be a drastic
change of both viewpoint and
opportunity if I'm to make any progress, especially with Underdog,
UNDERDOG'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY WILL BE IN 2004!
Howard Stern ruined
things for me but has never apologized.
He would only seize the opportunity to change the discussion to
What kind of opportunity
can I hope to get which would turn
the tables for me, for Underdog and dancing in general?
I deserve to be remembered and not die as just another Jane Doe, ultimately forgotten!