The Ultimate Howard Stern Project List
The Ultimate Howard Stern Project List: Part 2
Continuing the list of projects that Howard Stern worked on outside of his regular radio show. These are the years between 1990 and 1994
MOVIE: The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Frequent guest Andrew Dice Clay landed the starring role in the movie "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" and while it was being cast offered Howard a part as a DJ right on the air during Howard's show. Howard accepted and showed enthusiasm in being in his first major Hollywood movie. This all came to an end when Howard met with the movie's director Renny Harlin and was turned down for the part. The day after Howard came into the studio an angry man blasting the film's director and putting Clay on a shit list he never quite got off of. According to Howard's story he was brought into a hotel room to meet Harlin who then boasted that he was going to direct "Alien III". After the brief talk Harlin introduced Howard to the casting director who took him to another room for a line reading. After Howard read the lines to the casting director he was turned down for the part. Howard felt that Harlin was obnoxious and was angry that he never even bothered to give him a proper screen test or watch his line reading. Ultimately the part of the DJ was given to Gilbert Gottfried. When the film came out Howard declared it one of the worst films in history and it's director Renny Harlin a hack who did not understand comedy. In fact the movie got universal bad reviews both by film critics and Andrew's fans and quickly tanked at the box office. Clay was never offered a major part in a movie or television show again, a shame as he was at the least a very good actor. Renny Harlin was not hurt by the film. Right after he finished filming he was assigned as director of "Die Hard II" which was released to the theaters the week before Ford Fairlane. It's critical raves and continuing success overshadowed the failure of the other movie. Ford Fairlane did have one success. It's theme song "Rock The Cradle of Love" sung by Billy Idol was a huge hit and is considered an 80's classic, the video still being aired on VH1 Classic to this day.
Howard's rant against Harlin showed his then Naivety in the motion picture business, as did Dice who assumed he could cast any of his friends in the movie just because he was the star. The movie was a studio project. Harlin was a hired hand who only agreed to make the movie in return of being promised Alien³. [ ultimately that movie was held up in pre-production so long that Harlin no longer was interested in doing it. ] Harlin had no say in the script or casting of the movie and probably did not even have final cut. The casting director was the person in charge at that time and was the person Howard had to impress. He also failed to notice that the studio producing the movie was 2oth Century Fox and three years earlier he had been accusing their boss of killing Edgar Rosenberg on national television twice, and both on the Fox's television network. The decision not to cast Howard had already been made long before he met Harlin. The only reason why the meeting was arranged in the first place was to appease the film's star Andrew Dice Clay.
TELEVISION: The Howard Stern Summer Show ( a.k.a. The Channel 9 Show )
Once again Howard announced on the air that he was getting his own television show. It would be a few shows on the local station WWOR Channel 9 just for the summer. Channel 9 had been in talks with Howard for a while. After cable started going mainstream in the mid 80's a local television station in Atlanta called TBS owned by Ted Turner was offered to cable companies all over the United States. They picked the channel up mainly due to the fact that it aired baseball games by the Atlanta Braves. Turner dubbed his channel a "Super Station" and now nationwide was able to charge more for advertisements and be able to afford network quality programming. Channel 9 had the rights to air Mets baseball games and saw this as an opportunity to launch WOR as another Super Station. All they needed was a few signature shows to build regular viewers. They originally wanted Howard in 1987 but he was still in talks with Fox for a nighttime show on their network, so instead opted for Morton Downey Jr. promoting him as "the Howard Stern of television". Morton's show was an instant success and was not only available on the super station but put into syndication for markets without cable. By 1989 viewers became tired of Downy Jr. and ratings began to drop. When the show was cancelled WOR executives immediately turned to Howard who to their amazement accepted an offer even though they had yet to achieve Super Station status.
The show was only supposed to be on for a few weeks in the summer of 1990 and had it done well would be relaunched later on that year with a syndication deal and bigger budget. Howard boasted he would beat Saturday Night Live, then in summer reruns, in the ratings which actually did happen. With phenomenal ratings WOR kept extending the show for more weeks eventually airing new episodes during the fall and amazingly beating Saturday Night Live even after new episodes started airing. "Summer Show" was dropped from the title and it was shortened to "Howard Stern". Later that year it was picked up for syndication. Two versions of the show existed. For the local broadcast Howard did live commercials for sponsors like Snapple and the P-Touch Fax machine. The first week he lost a sponsor, Newmark and Lewis. They had sent over a large cut out standee of the owner Dick Lewis to use in a live read of the commercial. During the commercial Howard kept referring to the standee as Big Dick and then handed it to guest Jessica Hahn and said "Here Jessica, you know how to handle Big Dick". Dick Lewis did not find that funny. Fortunately the other sponsors had a better sense of humor. The syndicated version did not have the live commercials but instead had extra footage that was not shown on the local version to make up for the missing commercials.
The show continued to do well in the ratings and stayed on the air until summer of 1992 when it was suddenly cancelled. WOR claimed it was due to Howard's inability to get national sponsors, the same reason given for the cancellation of his national radio show. Howard claimed that he was the one who pulled the plug on the show because in it's two years Channel 9 never increased the budget like they had originally promised. Most likely it was a bit of both reasons. WOR was paying Howard and his staff shit for what was a huge hit show both locally and in syndication. But because Howard was so controversial he was unable to get major advertisers like McDonalds. [ Snapple was still up and coming at the time. Their success was mostly due to Howard. And yet even they at one time stopped advertising on the show because they thought he was too controversial. When sales plummeted they were back. ] Without major sponsors the show was not making enough money to pay Howard what he was promised. Whatever the reason the show went off the air while still a hit.
HOME VIDEO: Untitled Howard Stern Mail Order Video For 1990
By 1990 Howard no longer wanted to do any pay-per-view specials, especially after he went into talks with WWOR-9 for a weekly show. Since he was able to produce a tape for "...U.S. Open Sores" without any pay-per-view special he realized he could complete his five tape commitment via documentaries of his events. The big event that year was a mock funeral thrown in Philadelphia for his competitor John DeBella's radio show. Howard had already thrown a funeral for Don Imus when he finally beat "Imus in the Morning" in the ratings and promised funerals in every market his show was syndicated to whenever he beat their top rated morning show. Unlike the Imus funeral which was a small gathering across the street from the then RCA building, the Philadelphia funeral was a planned radio event that involved a crowd of tens of thousands. Howard had a behind the scenes documentary taped that featured his journey to Philadelphia in a private party bus and shenanigans in the hotel rooms Howard and his staff stayed in. At one point Jessica Hahn stopped over and shared a hot tub with Howard, Jackie, and Fred which was all taped. Howard also sought to pad out the tape with videos his listeners sent in. A full ten years before the show "Jackass" Howard was asking his viewers to send in videos of their own stunts, an idea that came from the show "America's Home Video". Howard would be holding his own contest called "America's Grossest Video" the finalists to be shown on the video. Most of the clips had listeners playing pranks or injuring themselves doing stunts. One fan clip reportedly had a listener holding up a firecracker and blowing apart one of his fingers.
The video became one of those projects that Howard stopped talking about and by the end of the year there was no mail order video. At the time it was believed that Howard's priorities had shifted to his Channel 9 show and no longer had the time to work on the video. Others suspected that when he signed with WWOR that he wanted to keep the show top secret until he had a confirmed air date and the Philadelphia funeral and "America's Grossest Video" footage was actually being shot as Channel 9 episodes. The real truth for the disappearance of the tape had to do with Howard and Jackie's wives. Hearing second hand about their alleged x-rated antics on the bus trip and with Jessica Hahn in a hot tub, both events that Howard had talked about on the air, Alison and Nancy were both furious with their husbands. One practical joke pulled during the trip could have ended Jackie's marriage that week. Jessica had worn her teddy into the hot tub and when she later removed it to dry off Howard snuck it into Jackie's suitcase. When Jackie got home he found it seconds before his wife did and quickly disposed of it behind some thorn bushes in his back yard. Howard got Jackie to talk about it during the radio show where his wife was listening and found out about the hot tub. The next day Jackie started the show with his infamous apology to his wife Nancy. At home both Alison and Nancy were so upset that Howard decided that the offending behind the scenes footage would never see the light of day. Then Howard's lawyers gave him another problem. He was informed that he could never use most of the "America's Grossest Videos" footage because it involved listeners either injuring themselves or committing some sort of crime. The lawyers were worried that by airing the videos that Howard had solicited his listeners to make that he would be opening himself up to possible prosecution. Suddenly Howard's video was down to 10 minutes of usable footage. With the Channel 9 show now in production Howard no longer had the time to produce new footage and the tape was cancelled. However, the Jessica Hahn incident would later be used for his movie "Private Parts" with the hot tub story being changed to Howard and Fred in a bathtub with a porn star.
RECORD: Howard Stern: Crucified By The FCC
Howard announced that he would be releasing the controversial Christmas show that was fined by the FCC on audiotape and CD. As time went on Howard announced that it would also include bits that were either banned or censored by the various radio stations he worked at. Eventually he announced the box set of CDs would include classic bits as well. The box set was released on both cassette tape and CD. Many fans were disappointed to find very few banned or censored bits and only about 13 minutes of the infamous Christmas show. What they ended up with was something that was one quarter documentary and three quarters "Best of". In fact many of the bits on the discs would regularly air during his "Best of.." radio shows. There were also complaints that some of the bits were edited, and many of the bits chosen for the disc, such as Bob & Ray and Fartman, were far from the best.
Making Crucified By The FCC was a nightmare for Howard which explains his reluctance to release any of his radio shows on disc since. Back in 1988 Howard either signed a contract or made an agreement to release one video a year on mail order for five years. [ this is why he retained the phone number 1-800-52-STERN for so many years. recently Sirius took the same number for their customer care department. ] In 1990 the Channel 9 show was an unexpected success and was expanded from just a few shows in the summer through the rest of the year. This left no time for any pay-per-view shows or direct to video specials. In 1991 the Channel 9 show was once again taking up most of Howard's time. A year earlier the FCC fined Howard and Infinity for a Christmas party he held in his studio. Many fans were either asking him to repeat the show or to sell tapes of it. Howard realized that the full Christmas episode could be a great substitute for another video. Besides, would his fans be that interested in buying a video now that they could see him for free on the Channel 9 show? Both Howard and Infinity were sure that the Christmas episode would be their best seller mail order item yet, especially since non listeners around the country would be interested in ordering and listening to the radio show that got the biggest FCC fines in history.
Almost immediately there was a problem and her name was Gina Girl. Back in the 80's Howard would end each year with a Christmas episode where listeners were invited down to the studio to give him presents and participate in a raunchy on the air Christmas party. In 1988 he was soliciting callers asking them what they would do to get into that year's party when they got a call from a woman claiming she wanted to do something called a gina dance. It did not take long for Howard to realize the woman was retarded and someone was giving her lines to say over the phone. That person turned out to be a frequent caller and occasional Wack Pack member who went by the name Crazy Jerry. Jerry had found a severely retarded woman and knowing that Howard would invite any woman into the studio who agreed to take off all her clothes, put her up to calling in to the show. Howard dubbed the woman Gina Girl and invited her an Jerry to the Christmas party. Howard knew he had hit gold when his mother called in to the show to reprimand him for his planned Christmas show and Gina Girl began to have an incoherent argument with her. During the Christmas party Gina Girl was constantly yelling things out and at one point performed her "gina dance" which involved her taking off all her clothes and jumping up and down. [ If you have not figured it out yet, she was suppose to be saying vagina dance. ] Gina Girl became a very popular Wack Pack member and was a show regular. Then one day Howard got a call from Gina Girl's legal guardian who had no idea that she was on the radio attempting to yell out obscenities and taking her clothes off. Not only did the guardian forbid Gina Girl from ever going on the show again but threatened to sue if Howard ever replayed any recordings of her.
Infinity tried desperately to convince Gina Girl's guardian to sign a release allowing them to sell the Christmas show with no luck. Editing Gina Girl's voice out of the tape was out of the question as she was yelling stuff out all through the show, even while others were talking. A valiant attempt was made by Scott Salem to edit Gina Girl completely out of the Christmas show which amounted to only 12.7 minutes where Gina Girl was far enough off mike that you hardly heard her. Fortunately this included the two moments in the show the FCC sited when they handed down the fine, Howard saying "Black lesbians filled with lust" and a listener playing a Casio organ with his penis. Howard realized that what little of the episode he could use would work as a documentary and decided to dig out all the radio bits that had been banned or censored in the past. But this plan fell through as well when when he was unable to get NBC or DC101 to allow him to use bits he did at their stations therefore preventing Howard from including such notorious banned bits as "Virgin Mary Kong" and "Das Love Boot". Problem being that WXRK had been very tolerant with Howard and had never banned him from replaying anything other than the Christmas show. They did ask him to stop doing Bob & Ray bits with Robin, but had never exactly banned any past bit from being replayed. The problem there was finding a Bob & Ray bit that did not involve a phone caller who they could not get a release from. Howard decided to find all the shows where he had to hit the delay because a guest cursed on the air which included 'Grandpa" Al Lewis yelling "Fuck the FCC" at a rally and comedian Judy Tenuta losing it on the air and cursing. Still needing to fill the two disc set Howard decided to include classic bits, but once again had problems getting releases from others who participated in those bits. Only one Fartman bit was usable, and there were problems with "A CCCChristmas CCCCarol" A couple of years earlier Howard did a bit where members of the Wack Pack preformed a version of A Christmas Carol. One of those Wack Pack members was called Turrets Girl, a listener who had convinced Howard she had Turrets Syndrome and made a coughing uncontrollably. A few months later Howard found out that she did not have Turrets and was faking the condition just to get on the air, so she was banned from the show. Unfortunately she was one of the ghosts in the Christmas carol parody and refused to sign a release. Her part was edited out.
A final version of the disc set was finally completed at the last minute and regrettably ended up using filler that was mostly year old radio bits. Even so "Crucified By The FCC" became the first mail order item Howard put out that did not have significant overstock. Nearly every set sold. However unlike the video tapes which became collectors items that trade for $80 and up on EBay, "Crucified by the FCC" sells for $10 less than what it originally sold for, perhaps because of how easy it is to download unauthorized versions for free off of file sharing sites.
Disc 1/Tape 1
Celebrities ( Parts 1,2,3 )
Phony Phone Calls
Various Bits Remembered
Bob N' Ray
Disc 2/Tape 2
Out of the Closet Movies
Various Bits Remembered II
Sam and Jessica
BONUS: A 12 page booklet came in the same box as "Crucified by the FCC'. The first page, dedicated to a Wack Pack member named Froggy who had just died that year, was written by Howard and promised that it would be the first of many "Best of Collections". The pages that followed included a brief biography of Howard, some pictures of Howard growing up and early in his career, copies of FCC letters, an analysis of hate mail sent to Howard and doodles made by Howard by Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a top ten list of show catch phrases with "Baba Booey" coming in at #1, and a puzzle where you had to find dirty words.
HOME VIDEO: Howard Stern's Butt Bongo Fiesta
Out of the blue Howard announced that he was going to release a new TV special onto video tape called "Butt Bongo Fiesta" and would include a segment shot in 3D. As far back as WNBC Howard had been asking his women listeners to come down to the studio and take their tops off. When that became boring Howard escalated the bit to allowing him to paint their breasts [ Green on St. Patrick's Day and multi colored for Easter ]. This eventually escalated to having women come down to the studio an allow Howard to spank them. One day while spanking a listener Howard decided to play her ass like a bongo, and a new sport was born. The Butt Bongo fad did not last that long on Howard's show but for a while there it dominated it. Men would bring their wives and girlfriends down to the studio to compete in ass bongo playing. In all likelihood Howard wanted to have a butt bongo segment on his Channel 9 show. But by the fall of 2002 the Channel 9 show had been off the air for months. Naturally Howard would have had left over material he had wished to use on that show including Butt Bongo. The tape came with two pairs of 3D glasses for a segment taped in Pulfrich Stereoscopy. This method of 3D involved glasses where one lens is darker than the other causing the brain to think that images moving left to right are further away while objects moving right to left are closer. This effect is occasionally used to make flat 2D television images appear 3D. But it has it's limits. Only moving images appear in 3D, and the effect wears off after a couple of minutes as the brain adjusts to the glasses. On Howard's tape most of the 3D effects were either animated plants passing the screen right to left, or people [ and elephants too ] walking around in circles. Howard had see this form of 3D demonstrated during a Super Bowl halftime performance and hired technicians to do the same on his tape. Howard also used the tape to finally use some of the footage shot for the unreleased 1990 video. The usable "Americas Grossest Video" submissions were shown as was much of the Philadelphia funeral footage not involving any incriminating moments.
BONUS: Included with the tape, two pairs of Howard Stern glasses for watching the 3D segment
TELEVISION: The Howard Stern Interview
The E! Channel was launched as Movietime in 1987. In 1990 it relaunched as E! and as 24 hours version of Entertainment Tonight style programming. By 1992 E! was still available to very few cable subscribers. They needed subscribers to ask their respective cable companies to add the channel and felt by giving Howard Stern an interview show they could get his millions of listeners who did not have E! to do so. This is usually referred to as bait programming. New struggling cable channels would program shows and hire celebrities they knew had cult followings so that viewers would have a reason to ask the channel be added. E! was not only a channel that hardly any of Howard's listeners had but had never heard of before Howard promoted it on his show. only about 27 episodes were made and the show was pulled off of E! after a year, but not because the show had failed. It was responsible for the E! channel being added to cable services all across the country and was their most viewed show at the time. What happened was Howard no longer wanted to do it. He was already getting the same guests on his radio show and felt that it was extra work interviewing them twice in the same week. There was a simple solution to this, a new show that Howard wanted to do for the E! channel that would be filmed in the radio studio taping his on air interviews. But the new show would not debut until 1994
TELEVISION: The Larry Sanders Show
For the first [ and still only ] time Howard was asked to appear in a scripted television show where he played himself. Howard usually turns down television appearances, but this show had two things going for it. One was that Howard thought "The Larry Sanders Show" was one of the greatest shows ever made for television. The other was that it was all timed out to promote his next project.......
BOOK: Private Parts
Howard had mentioned many times before he wanted to write a book and at one time got as far as saying he had a deal to write a cook book. That is probably why no one took him serious about this book until it was actually in print. For millions of Howard Stern fans there was reason to rejoice. For the first time since "50 Ways To Rank Your Mother" Howard would be releasing a product that you did not have to mail order. It reached #1 on the New York Times Best Selling Book chart and within a week became Simon & Schuster's all time best selling book ever. Just about the only negative thing to happen was during the first stop in the book tour at New York's Barnes & Noble on 5th Av. Too many fans showed up to have their book signed and had to be turned away nearly causing a riot. But the day was not a total fiasco. The first person on the line was Crack Head Bob who went on to be a very popular Wack Pack member.
TELEVISION: Private Parts Infomercial
A half hour commercial shown on E! for the book private parts to be hosted by a respected English actor. The host was Patrick MacNee [ Sir Harden Thike was not available ]. Not actually an infomercial but a special as it had commercial breaks. The night it aired news broke of Michael Jackson being arrested for his first child molestation trial. Instead of breaking in to the infomercial with the news E! ran a news ticker along the bottom of the screen.
Private Parts Audio Book
According to Howard he wanted to read the audio book but decided it should have sound effects and guest speakers. For instance in chapters where he talks about his parents they would add their own audio commentary about the events, or during the Fartman chapter having fart sound effects. Inevitably what he wanted became such a big production that recording the actual audio was delayed while he wrote a new script for the audio book. Inevitably the project became too expensive or too overwhelming or Howard took too much time that Simon & Scuster got fed up and cancelled the project. [ Howard never said [I]exactly[/I] why the audio book was cancelled, only that the problem was it turned into a big production. ] At one point though Howard seriously thought about doing the audio book but read by someone else. It was after David Letterman did a comedy sketch where they pretended to listen to part of the audio book as read by James Earl Jones. If James earl Jones could read a few lines of Private Parts as part of a Letterman sketch could he be convinced to read the whole book for real? Other famous actors were also brought up as possibly reading the book and even allowing members of the Wack Pack was suggested. But nothing came of this either.
LIVE EVENT: Miss Howard Stern New Years Eve Pageant
A pay-per-view special that aired live in 1993 and continued through the 2004 New Year's Eve countdown, followed by a beauty pageant for Miss Howard Stern. [ But not the current Miss Howard Stern. this one only held her crown for a couple of years. ] With his radio empire continuing to grow and the phenomenal success of his book Howard Stern was having one successful year that he had to end with a bang. Apparently the real purpose for Howard agreeing to do another pay-per-view special was to finally complete his legal obligation to Infinity and One Twelve to deliver five mail order products.
HOME VIDEO: Howard Stern's New Years Rotten Eve
The very first minute of the very first day of 1994 that Howard returned on the air from his Christmas vacation he announced that for his listeners who could not get the pay-per-view special he was releasing it on mail order video. This was the last of the mail order items that Howard sold to his fans and the last one he was obligated to release for Infinity. Howard had already done the new Years Eve stunt a decade earlier with success and decided to do it again. This time there was more publicity for the contestants as they were chosen on the air in the weeks before the special aired. The pageant on the video tape was five minutes shorter, but there was 42 minutes worth of bonus behind the scenes and making of footage. Once again there were complaints about tape quality and late deliveries. My own personal experience: I had assumed that Howard would be selling the pay-per-view commercial on home video and at 12 midnight the night before he was scheduled to return from Christmas vacation I called 1-800-52-STERN and found they were taking orders for the tape. I gave them my credit card number and they took down my address and other relevant information. If I was not the first person to order the tape was at the least within the first hundred people to order it. Sure enough a couple of weeks later Howard started getting phone calls from listeners who had received their tapes, some who claimed they had just ordered a few days before. And sure enough once again I had to wait nearly a full month for my tape to arrive. Howard's people never did fix the delivery problems, which is probably why he gave up offering mail order items. The difference between going in to a book store the day Private Parts came out and buying the book, and waiting weeks to get New years Rotten Eve in the mail was like night and day. But I can't complain. Some listeners claimed they had a two month wait while others reported their tape must have been lost in transit and had to have a new one sent, which made it three or more months before their tape arrived.
BONUS: About a week after Howard returned from vacation and announced the video was for sale Robin threw him an on the air surprise party. [ one of many back then ] One of the guests was the artist Leroy Neiman who presented Howard with a portrait of him as a gift.
Howard took about half a minute to marvel that he was immortalized by one of the great artists of our age, then suddenly started saying that it would be nice if he could give his listeners a free poster of the painting that would come free with the video. Neiman agreed to it and by the end of the interview it was official: Order "New Year's Rotten Eve" and get with it a free Leroy Neiman portrait of Howard. Now I happen to know a little something about the art world. Even if you buy a painting you still have to ask the artists permission to use it commercially. And artists rarely allow their paintings to be used commercially unless they are paid very well. It is very unlikely that Leroy Neiman would agree to allow Howard to use the painting commercially right there on the spot. At the least he would tell Howard to have his agent call him and arrange a deal, but more likely would have been offended and would have stormed off. It is more likely that the deal to use the painting had been arranged ahead of time. In other words that was no gift but a painting Howard had commissioned for use as a poster for his tape. Therefore he knew he was getting the painting as a gift and therefore the whole thing was nothing but theatrics. And that would also mean that he knew in advance that there was going to be a surprise party for the painting to be given away at. Confirming this suspicion was that listeners were getting the poster a week later. It would take longer than a week to turn artwork into posters and have them all printed and then all shipped out. This time instead of the poster being a strip of paper jamed into the video tape box it came separate in a cardboard role. It was a vert decent sized poster at 2'3" x 2'8".
RECORD: Unclean Beaver
In 1994 Wren sold the rights to the record to Ichiban Old Indie, a record label that specialized in re-releasing out of print albums. It was re-released under the title "Unclean Beaver". Howard has never acknowledged the existence of this CD nor allowed any caller to mention it on his radio show. Not only did Howard lose all rights to the material on the album but sees no money from it's profits. The CD does not come with a poster.
Oh,Oh, Oh, Oh, OJ -- Baby you can rent a car
Unclean Beaver Episode I
4 Blacks and a Mac
Happy Birthday To You
Richard's Family Fewd
Barry Off White's Owed to Howit
I Shot Ron Reagan
Unclean Beaver Episode II
Nail Young's Cat
Springstern's Easter Parade
50 Ways to Rank Your Mother
Howard Stern is a God.
BOOK: Private Parts Paperback Edition
Private Parts was coming out in paperback. As an incentive for his listeners to buy a second copy of the book there would be 60 new pages. 60 new pages?? There was about three pages written by Howard and 57 pages of newspaper clippings about the book tour. What a rip off. And if that was not bad enough the paperback was released with two covers, one showing the left side of Howard's face and the other showing the right side so you had to buy both books for the full cover.
BONUS: The paperback had a fold out mock up of a poster for an upcoming Private Parts movie and a contest form where the winner would get a walk on part in the Private Parts movie that was then in pre-production.
TELEVISION: Howard Stern [ a.k.a. The E! Show ]
Video cameras jammed into the cramped WXRK studio recorded the radio show to be turned into half hour daily programs for the E! Channel. When WXRK moved to a new building a larger studio was built for Howard so they could better accommodate the cameras. After making some test shows that may or may not have aired, the E! show began regular broadcasts June 20 1994. The original concept was to show the visual stuff going on in the studio and during the radio show Howard would often mention that he was holding something up [ usually an unflattering drawing of Gary sent in by listeners ] and that you would see it on the E! show. But that is not what happened. First of all it was usually two days before it would air, and with an emphasis on airing celebrity interviews quite often things that Howard promised would be on the E! show never aired. This was the natural evolution of Howard's interview show. Instead of a one on one interview you had the guests in Howard's radio studio. But the cost was that every celebrity that came in got at least an entire episode. Never saw that painting of Gary in a zoo that some listener sent in? hat was because E! chose to air his interview with Leeza Gibbons instead. And whenever A list celebrities visited the studio E! would edit the appearance into two episodes. When Rosanne Barr came in as a guest, what was less than a half hour long on the radio was somehow padded out to an hour and a half on E! The first episode was Howard talking about what he should ask Rosanne when she came in, some footage of Rosanne entering the green room, then her finally entering the studio where the show ended on a sort of cliff hanger. On the following night the show was padded out by showing 30 second previews of what was coming up after the commercial break, and after the break recapping the last minute of the interview prior to the break. Eventually Howard stopped saying you would see something on E! unless it was something big [ like when A.J. Benza punched Stuttering John ] or a planned event [ Like Hollyweird Squares ]. The show lasted on E! for 11 years and was finally cancelled in 2005 even though it was the channels top rated show. E! gave the old "we are taking the channel in a new direction" excuse, but it was a combination of the channel being run by someone who did not like Howard and the FCC threatening to begin fining cable broadcasts.
MOVIE: The Adventures Of Fartman
After years of saying that he wanted to be in a movie, in 1992 Howard made a big announcement on the air. He was going to do a movie for New Line Cinema and the movie would be called "The Adventures Of Fartman" Fartman first appeared on National Lampoon's White Album as a short sketch where he talks about his powers. Howard expanded the idea and began calling people up saying he was Fartman. These were usually long distance calls to hotels in Mideastern countries warning the confused desk clerk that as Fartman he would take revenge for acts of terrorism by using his flatulent powers. Howard continued the bit on and off throughout the 80's. When Adam West was a guest on the Channel 9 show Howard and Fred wrote a sketch where he was a teacher for a superhero school. Howard played Fartman and for the first time a costume was created. It was not too long after that Howard announced the plans for a Fartman feature film. According to Howard he was a guest on The Tonight Show and joked to Leno that he was going to do a Fartman movie. Watching the show was JF Lawton who had just scripted two hit movies, "Pretty Woman" and "Under Siege". Lawton was trying to come up with an idea for a movie he could write and direct and thought Fartman would be perfect. He pitched the movie to New Line Cinema and they green lighted it.
For the next few months Howard promoted the fact that his Fartman movie would be written by the hottest script writer in Hollywood. Music guests wanted to be on the soundtrack album. The band Enough Z'nuff came in to perform the song "Silent But Deadly" which they had hoped would be the movie's theme song. That year at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards Howard appeared as Fartman in a newly designed costume to promote the upcoming movie. It would have been filmed that following year with a release date somewhere around 1994.
And then the project fell apart. Howard claims it was because that New Line Cinema wanted full rights to the merchandising of the movie and he did not want to give it to them. The story seems odd as National Lampoon who created the character should have had the merchandising rights. Howard said that he was going to bring the movie to another studio, but while this was happening his book Private Parts became a best seller. Rysher Entertainment wanted to make the book into a movie and Fartman was shelved. Private Parts took longer than expected to make and by the time it was finished shooting Lawton was busy with another project, the television show VIP with Pamela Anderson. On the air Howard suggested that Fartman would be a good followup to Private Parts but eventually began to realize how silly and embarrassing a movie about a farting superhero would be.
Governor Of New York
The Libertarian Party was formed in 1971 and stood for less government interference, less regulations, less taxes, and more civil rights. In the fall of 1994 they were at risk of being eliminated from the state ballot unless they came up with an independent candidate who could get several thousand votes in the next general election. Only about six parties can fit on a ballot so the ones who get the least votes in elections are eliminated and replaced with parties who do well with write in votes. Boring, right? But basically this is why from time to time these small political parties get celebrity candidates they know would never win, like Grandpa Al Lewis. Howard was approached by members of the libertarian Party who felt none of their perspective candidates would get more than a few hundred votes in the next election. They wanted to nominate Howard at their next convention hoping enough of his listeners would vote for him and keep their party on the ballot.
Howard asked his listeners to join the Libertarian party so they could vote at their convention. He pledged to bring back the death penalty, to fill the potholes in state roads with the ashes of the executed convicts, and to stay in office long enough to sign those laws and then resign. [ He assumed it would take only one day for this to happen. ] He picked Stan Dworken, who was more or less the first politician who called in to his show, to be his lieutenant governor. Most of the Libertarian party was against Stern. Their party was at the time against the death penalty and Stan Dworkin, who was a former legislator who was opposed to many of the Libertarian's platforms. But since thousands of Stern fans had joined the party Howard and Dworken were both voted onto the ticket with no problem. The Libertarian Party was hijacked for a radio bit.
Radio bit or not Howard continued to aggressively campaign, going on a bus tour with Dworkin and the recently crowned Miss Howard Stern that was broadcast live over the radio. Howard did still have a contract with Infinity and there is some question if they would let him out of it should he actually win the election. But early on during the campaign season Howard got a significant percentage of the vote and was an actual threat to win the governorship. He suddenly dropped out of the election claiming in a press conference that the reason was that he did not want to disclose his salary with Infinity. The Libertarian party was now stuck with Stan Dworkin as their candidate. And to make matters worse just before the election Howard threw his full support to the Republican candidate George Pataki and asking all his listeners to vote for him. The Libertarians did not get any of the votes from Howard's listeners they were hoping for.
Speculation as to why Howard dropped out ranges from him fearing he would actually win and be forced to give up the radio empire he worked so hard to build for a job he was not prepared for, to Infinity or WXRK reading him the riot act and telling him he would be fired or sued if he did not stop using his radio show to promote his candidacy which would in turn take him away from the show should he win. Another interesting theory is that Pataki or the Republican party secretly approached Howard and asked him to drop out of the race and endorse their candidate. This theory is backed up by Howard being invited to sit behind Pataki during his inauguration. Fans are still divided as to if Howard seriously wanted to become the next mayor or if this was just a wacky radio stunt.
And there was still more to come. Another #1 bestseller book, a #1 Box Office movie, and the #1 album on the Billboard charts. And then there was the time Howard almost met Batman. All this and more in part 3 of the article.
- The Ultimate Howard Stern Project List
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