Thursday Thirteen #16

13 Facts about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

1. The TV special was first aired on December 6, 1964. (exactly 43 years ago today!)

2. The puppets were small: Santa was 8" tall, and Rudolf was only 4" tall.

3. Back then, animators used the "stop-motion" method -- starting and stopping a camera while arms and other parts are moved in tiny increments that appear as fluid movement in the final film (well, sort of fluid movement, by today's standards).

4. This version was re-broadcast annually many times over the years, even after it was finally released on video and then DVD. It still airs annually, but now on CBS rather than NBC, making it the longest-running TV special with regards to consecutive years.

5. In 1976, a sequel to the Rankin-Bass original special was produced, entitled Rudolph's Shiny New Year and then a third in 1979 entitled Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. Then in 2001, a a fourth in the series was released titled Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys. (but let's be frank, none of them is as memorable as the original)

6. The story of Rudolph was created by an employee of Montgomery Ward; Robert L. May in 1939.

7. As a child, May was rather sickly, shy and introverted. So, he based the story on his childhood feelings of alienation from his peers. As to the name, May considered and rejected Rollo (too cheerful) and Reginald (too British) before deciding on Rudolph. (Reginald the red-nosed reindeer just doesn't make it--he was right.)

8. Rudolph's story was used as a promotion for the store, to be given to children by the Montgomery Ward Santa Claus.

9. Approximately 2.4 million Rudolph, the Red-Nosed reindeer poems were given away in the first year of its publication.

10. May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks composed the song from the poem.

11. Gene Autry recorded the song in 1949 (way before our time!).

12. Autry's version sold two million copies that year and went on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to "White Christmas."

13. In the U.S. and Canada, the song is sometimes performed (usually by children) in a humorous manner with additional lyrics. These lyrics are recited as a response at the end of most of the lines in the song. You can see them here. (I was introduced to these by my twin nephews, about 10 years ago, and now can't hear the song without thinking of them!)

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How COOL! Your brother in law composed the song Rudolph! WOW!
Diana said…
Great post!! Fun facts!
jenn said…
I want to go watch the movie right now!
Happy tt!
Not MY brother-in-law, Nicole, May's, the author of the original poem.

Thanks for visiting, and Happy TT!
that kind of animation has always freaked me out!
Denise Patrick said…
Very interesting facts. I didn't know much of them, either. And to think I thought Gene Autry made it all up.

Thanks for teaching me something new.

Happy TT!
Sassy Lucy said…
Very interesting and factual T13, having watched my all-time fav TV special Santa Claus is Coming to Town last night, I regret we missed Rudolph because of a Scout meeting...Rudolph's Shiny New Year was and will always be a favorite of mine.
Excellent T13, please know you are invited to visit the Cafe anytime!
Kat said…
Wow! Who knew Rudolph was older than I am. Happy Birthday Rudolph! Happy TT!
Michelle said…
Great list! I love learning new trivia about popular things. THanks for posting this.
The Rock Chick said…
Rudolph has always been my favorite of all of those Christmas specials. I just love the personality they were able to put into him without all the technology we have today!!!

Happy TT
Jessica The Rock Chick
damozel said…
I remember the first time I saw the rudolph Christmas special (exactloy 43 years ago, sniff!) I watched it on the little black and white TV in our living room. My mom put out the little table and we had our supper in front of it.

I never saw one of the sequels or even knew they existed.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

thanks for visiting ours:BN-Politics
Holly said…
What's not to love about Rudolph? This IS my absolute favorite holiday animation and I watch it EVERY year. And because I love it so much, I loved your post. Thank you!!!

Happy TT-13!


Nicholas said…
Very interesting. I never knew where that story came from. I thought it just sort of spontaneously generated itself!
Tink said…
I've seen it and I can watch it over and over again. Love the song too!
Thanks for visiting my animated movies TT.