By Tom Warner (Baltimore Or Less)
An old ‘dog learns new parading tricks
Though her appearances as 1960s cartoon superhero Underdog have become a parade (and Atomic TV) tradition, this year the versatile Suzanne Muldowney instead reprised her 2000 portrayal of a “Yellow Angel” at the 2015 Mayor’s Christmas Parade in Hampden, Baltimore. And as an added bonus, she sang two seasonal songs – in Latin! – while stopping at the Parade Review Stand on 36th Street.
Though Baltimore Or Less missed her Latin renditions of “O Holy Night” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” during the parade, we luckily caught up with Suzanne after the race and convinced her to grace us with an encore rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” – look for it starting at the 8:55 mark of our 11-minute video interview exclusive, included below:
Baltimore Or Less talks to the angelic Suzanne Muldowney
This year was not the first time Suzanne has sung holiday songs in Latin. In 2006, she sang “Silent Night” (in both Latin and English), accompanied by “The Awkward Sounds of Scott & Skizz” (local troubadours Scott Wallace Brown and Skizz Cyzyk), in her guise as The Fairy of the Golden Snow. (Click here to hear their rendition.)
Though similar in color and trim to her Fairy of the Golden Snow outfit (shown below in detail), Suzanne’s hand-made Yellow Angel costume has a number of design differences, notably the absence of snowflakes – somewhat fitting given this year’s sunny weather with temperatures in the low 50s.
And while a few fans shouted out “Underdog!” as the Yellow Angel spread her wings to fly down the parade route, Suzanne pointed out that she has more than one trick up her home-sewn costume sleeves. Though Underdog remains a favorite, she admitted “I became more versatile in the 2000’s” as far as broadening her characterizations.
Since her first parade here in 1988, Suzanne’s only non-Underdog appearances in the past 27 years have been as The Ghost of Christmas Past in 2003, the Fairy of the Golden Snow in 2006 and 2012, and her similar Yellow Angel character in 2000 and 2015; a not-so-golden snow storm cancelled the 2013 parade, ending Suzanne’s streak of 24 consecutive appearances at the annual Hampden holiday parade – and dashing her dream of celebrating the 170th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by once again appearing as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Even a near-fatal illness in 2009 couldn’t keep Suzanne away from maintaining her parade streak; though too weak to walk, she was still able to participate after the parade officials provided her with a convertible and a driver escort.
And she did return triumphantly as Underdog in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the debut of the “Underdog” TV cartoon. She wouldn’t miss that even if she was on her deathbed!
Atomic TV’s 1997 Holiday Special: “The Holiday at Ground Zero”
Atomic TV’s 1998 Holiday Special: “The Year Underdog Saved Christmas”
Atomic TV’s 1999 Holiday Special: “Underdog Battles Satan Claus”
Hampden Christmas Parade 2006 (Accelerated Decrepitude)
The Awkward Sounds of Scott & Skizz & Suzanne (YouTube)
Pain Strikes Underdog (Accelerated Decrepitude, 2009)
2012 Mayor’s Christmas Parade in Hampden (Accelerated Decrepitude)
Animals on Parade @ 2010 Mayor’s Christmas Parade (YouTube)
Suzanne Muldowney Overcomes Illness To March on Underdog’s 45th Anniversary (YouTube)