- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Promotional advertisement for the original NBC airing
Distributed by Classic Media Directed by Larry Roemer, Kizo Nagashima Written by Romeo Muller, Robert May Narrated by Burl Ives
(as Sam the Snowman)
Music by Johnny Marks Production company Videocraft International Country United States Language English Original channel NBC (1964-1971)
Release date December 6, 1964 Running time 47 minutes Followed by Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976) Official website
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas television special produced in stop motion animation by Rankin/Bass. It first aired December 6, 1964, on the NBC television network in the USA, and was sponsored by General Electric under the umbrella title of The General Electric Fantasy Hour. The copyright year in Roman numerals was mismarked as MCLXIV (1164) instead of the correct MCMLXIV.
The special is based on the song by Johnny Marks, which was in turn taken from the 1939 poem of the same title written by Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May. Since 1972, the special has aired over CBS, which unveiled a high-definition, digitally remastered version in 2005. As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph no longer airs just once annually, but several times during the Christmas and holiday season. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest running Christmas TV special, and one of only four 1960s Christmas specials still being telecast (the others being A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman). And again, as with the Charlie Brown special, Rudolph has now been shown more than thirty-one times on CBS, although in this case, CBS was not Rudolph 's original network.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Additional characters
- 3 Additional background
- 4 Different versions
- 5 Soundtrack
- 6 Sequels
- 7 Video Game
- 8 Parodies of, and homages to Rudolph
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Sam the Snowman narrates the story of Rudolph, a reindeer who is born with a glowing red nose. His father, Santa's lead reindeer Donner, feels ashamed and uses a special cover to hide Rudolph's nose so Donner and his wife can send Rudolph to take-off practice a year later without Rudolph being ridiculed by the other yearlings. Meanwhile, an elf named Hermey has his own problem - he wishes to be a dentist instead of making toys. The Head Elf scolds him and tries to get him to obey, but the young elf refuses to change his interests.
A year later, Rudolph is a yearling reindeer who is sent to take-off practice to learn how to fly, with Comet as his coach. Donner still tries to hide the nature of Rudolph's nose with the cover. This causes Rudolph's voice to sound as if he had a permanent cold. Despite this, two deer befriend Rudolph. One is a little buck named Fireball, and one unnamed buck is said to be the son of Dasher. The other is a beautiful doe named Clarice. During some horseplay, Fireball inadvertently pops the cover off of Rudolph's nose. After seeing his glowing nose, the other reindeer, Fireball included, start ridiculing Rudolph; Comet denies Rudolph from being with the other reindeer as a result. Clarice is the only reindeer who still likes Rudolph and tries to comfort him. However, their musings are interrupted by Clarice's father, who forbids Clarice from being around Rudolph. Feeling outcast, Rudolph runs away into the forest.
While in the woods, Rudolph meets up with Hermey. The two bond after they discover they each have something that makes them unique. After deciding to be "independent together", they set out to seek "Fame and Fortune." After the song ends, the Abominable Snow Monster, a carnivorous monster that hates Christmas and feeds on reindeer, chases them. The two manage to escape him.
Later, they meet a prospector named Yukon Cornelius who is obsessed with finding silver and gold. The trio manages to flee to the Island of Misfit Toys, ruled by a winged lion named King Moonracer. Because they are misfits but not toys, King Moonracer allows them to spend one night on his island. Rudolph leaves the island on his own, having realized that his nose is a danger to his friends.
A few months later, Rudolph grows into a handsome young stag. He decides to return home despite being ridiculed. When Rudolph arrives back in his cave, he finds out that his parents are not there. He learns from Santa that they left to go looking for Rudolph, and Clarice went with them. Rudolph searches the North Pole and he finds his family and Clarice being held captive by the Abominable Snowman. Rudolph attempts to rescue them before Hermey and Yukon Cornelius find him and they try to help. They manage to knock out the Abominable while Hermey removes the monster's teeth, but Yukon knocks himself, his sled team, and the monster over a cliff when he stands up to the beast. The others return home, where they tell what happened to the others. Rudolph and Hermey stop being ridiculed, and the lead elf finally allows Hermey to open a dentist's office the week after Christmas. Yukon and the others, who survived, make a grand entrance with the Abominable, now reformed by Yukon. Everyone decides to keep the monster around because he can put a silver star on top of Christmas trees without a step-ladder. However, a strong blizzard is too much for Santa's team to handle, so Santa decides to cancel the Christmas Eve flight. But Rudolph's nose inspires him, and he asks Rudolph to lead his sleigh, which he agrees to. Rudolph leads the sleigh to the Island of Misfit Toys and takes the toys along the flight, where they are dropped off to their respective homes. With Rudolph leading the sleigh, it turns out to be a merry Christmas after all.
The character Rudolph was voiced by Billie Mae Richards, later credited as Billy Richards. The story, by Romeo Muller, introduced several new characters inspired by the song's lyrics. Muller told an interviewer shortly before his death that he would have preferred to base the teleplay on May's original book, but could not find a copy. The show features Santa Claus (voiced by Stan Francis) and the eight reindeer mentioned in the song. Of them, Donner is identified as Rudolph's father (and his family referred to in passing, likely as a joke, as the Donner Party), and Comet is presented as the coach of the reindeer team. Mrs. Claus is also incorporated into the story.
The show also introduces:
- Sam Snowman - The narrator, voiced by and styled to resemble folk singer Burl Ives, who also contributes several tunes throughout the show. Among the most famous numbers from the special is Johnny Marks' "A Holly Jolly Christmas," which became a Christmas standard in its own right.
- Hermey the Misfit Elf (voiced by Paul Soles) - who prefers studying dentistry to making toys. Quitting Santa's workshop, he and Rudolph run away together seeking "Fame And Fortune." Towards the end of the program, he finally gets his wish to open a dentist's office at the North Pole. One of many memorable songs from the show, "Fame and Fortune" was added to the 1965 airing of the show as a replacement for the reprise of a number called "We're A Couple Of Misfits", sung by Hermey and Rudolph soon after their initial meeting. The special's 1998 restoration saw "Misfits" returned to its original film context, while the 2004 DVD release showcases "Fame and Fortune" as a separate number.
- Clarice the Doe (voiced and sung by Janet Orenstein) A pretty doe Rudolph meets at take-off practice, and she immediately develops a large crush on him. In fact, it was Clarice who was part of the reason why Rudolph knows how to fly in the special, because she tells Rudolph he is cute and that gives him encouragement, resulting in a giant leap through the air. Even when the cap popped off of Rudolph's nose, Clarice remained faithful to him and follows him into the woods, where she performs one of the special's musical numbers "There's Always Tomorrow." She disobeys her father when she hangs around Rudolph, even to the point of running off into the woods with Rudolph's parents to go looking for him. The trio was then captured by the monster, but Rudolph rescued them in time. Despite the fact that, in reality, reindeer of both sexes grow antlers, neither Clarice nor any other doe in the special has antlers.
- Yukon Cornelius (voiced by Larry D. Mann) - a prospector who leads the audience to believe that he is searching for either gold or silver, but is actually seeking peppermint as revealed at the end of the original version of the special. His greedy behavior inspires the song "Silver and Gold," sung by Ives. Yukon is a blustery but benign character who ends up helping not only Rudolph and Hermey, but also the Abominable Snow Monster, which he nicknames "Bumble." Yukon Cornelius can be seen throughout the special tossing his pickax into the air, sniffing, then licking the end that contacts the snow or ice. The removal of the scene near the end of the special (for subsequent telecasts) in which Yukon Cornelius discovers a "peppermint mine" by that method near Santa's workshop left audiences assuming that he was attempting to find either silver or gold by taste alone. The scene was returned to the film in 1998 as well.
- Tall Elf is a minor character who appears in the "We Are Santa's Elves" and "Holly Jolly Christmas" scenes. Tall, thin and bespectacled, this character was an integral part of the stop-motion commercial and subsequent print ads produced for General Electric for the inaugural broadcast.
- Head Elf (voiced by Carl Banas) is Hermey's immediate supervisor, a portly and ill-tempered foreman and songleader of Santa's workshop. He wears a goatee styled to resemble popular songleader Mitch Miller and begins by using Lawrence Welk's famous introduction, "Ah one, and ah two". He is outraged at Hermey's persistent disruption of the assembly line with his dentistry studies. He also conducts the elves in their song for Santa, "We Are Santa's Elves," a tune which Santa finds annoying. Towards the end of the special, he finally grants Hermey's wishes and allows him to open a dentist's office. In one of the show's bloopers, the head elf is voiced by a different (and unidentified) voice actor in the musical scene as he begins conducting the group.
- The Abominable Snow Monster of the North (a.k.a. Bumble) - A large, ferocious ape-like mammal of unspecified species, possibly a yeti. As the main antagonist, he pursues Hermey and Rudolph throughout their adventure. The sight of Rudolph's glowing red nose drives Bumble into a rage. Sam the snowman also explains that the monster hates everything to do with Christmas as well. Later, the Abominable Snow Monster captures Rudolph and his family at his cave. However, Yukon and Hermey come to the rescue by knocking the monster unconscious and extracting all his teeth. Near the end of the film he has a change of heart, and he is seen putting the star on top of the Christmas tree and becoming a part of Christmastown.
Several new members of Santa Claus's herd of reindeer include Fireball, a young buck with a distinctive shock of blond hair who befriends shy Rudolph at the "Reindeer Games." The Reindeer Games are the annual contest where Santa Claus evaluates the flight skills of his youngest reindeer. It is Fireball who encourages Rudolph to meet Clarice. Clarice informs Rudolph that she finds him cute. Inspired by Clarice's affection, Rudolph impresses all the reindeer assembled with his flying ability. A playful scuffle with Fireball ensues and the clay/mud cap Rudolph has been wearing to hide his glowing nose comes loose. Fireball is the first to witness Rudolph's true appearance and is terrified by the sight. Though Fireball does not appear on screen to be among the reindeer who mock Rudolph at the Reindeer Games, his voice is clearly heard doing so. He can be heard calling him "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and then some other bucks laugh.
Most of the adult male reindeer, including Donner, Comet, and Clarice's father, were voiced with similar voices by Paul Kligman.
The Island of Misfit Toys
The "Island of Misfit Toys", another canonical addition to the original story, is an island sanctuary where defective and unwanted toys are sent. Among its inhabitants:
- King Moonracer - a winged lion who acts as the island's ruler, voiced by Stan Francis. King Moonracer is responsible for flying around the world each night in search of unwanted toys. He lives in a large castle atop a hill on The Island of Misfit Toys, and acts as a 'governor' to the island, deciding who can or cannot stay on the Island, such as Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius.
- Charlie-In-The-Box is a misnamed, but otherwise seemingly normal jack-in-the-box who acts as the island's sentry. Charlie is voiced by Carl Banas, who also voices several other toys in this scene.
- Spotted Elephant is a polka dotted elephant and also is the island's footman.
- "A Dolly for Sue" (as she calls herself) is a seemingly normal girl rag doll with red hair and a red gingham (checkered) dress. Her misfit problem is never explained on the special, but was possibly revealed on NPR's Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me! news quiz show (broadcast December 8, 2007). The show revealed that Rudolph's producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., says Dolly's problem was psychological, caused from being abandoned by her mistress and suffering depression from feeling unloved.
- Bird Fish is a toy bird who swims instead of flies.
- A misfit cowboy who rides an ostrich.
- Trainer, a train with square wheels on its caboose.
- A toy boat that sinks rather than floats; a squirt gun that shoots grape jelly; an airplane that cannot fly, and "a scooter for Jimmy".
It is during this scene the Marks standard, "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" is performed by the inhabitants. Toy versions of nearly every character from this show were produced in the 1990s.
Viewers were so taken by these forlorn characters, many complained Santa was not seen fulfilling his promise to include them in his annual delivery. In reaction, a new scene for subsequent rebroadcasts was produced with Santa, with Rudolph in the lead, making his first stop at the island to pick up the toys.
The songs and incidental music were written by Johnny Marks, with Maury Laws supervising. In addition to the songs previously mentioned, the score also includes the film's love theme "There's Always Tomorrow", sung by the reindeer Clarice after Rudolph is kicked out of the reindeer games (the song is included in the version aired on CBS and in the DVD version, but is removed from the version aired on CBC Television in Canada). Marks' holiday standard "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" appears as instrumental background music when Rudolph first arrives at the Reindeer Games and meets Fireball. Also included in the soundtrack is an instrumental version of Marks' setting of the Christmas hymn "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." As previously discussed, the song "Fame And Fortune" replaced the "Misfits" reprise for later television broadcasts from 1965 until 1998.
In 2006, puppets of Rudolph and Santa used in the filming of this famous television special were appraised on PBS Television's Antiques Roadshow. The puppets had been damaged through years of rough handling by children and storage in an attic. In 2007, both the Rudolph and Santa puppets were restored to original condition by Screen Novelties, a Los Angeles based collective of film directors specializing in stop motion animation. Puppet fabricator Robin Walsh led the project.
Original 1964 NBC broadcast edit
This version includes the original end credits, where elves are seen delivering boxes (which list all the technical credits). It also includes commercials and closing network bumpers. However, this version does not include the Misfit Island finale that was filmed for the following years' telecasts.
In response to viewer protests on the unresolved fate of the toys on Misfit Island, GE shot a new ending which shows the toys being rescued. This is the ending that has been shown on all telecasts and video releases ever since. In the process, several sequences were deleted: the instrumental bridge from "We Are Santa's Elves" (featuring the elf orchestra, which are barely glimpsed on screen outside of this bridge), the duet reprise of "We're a Couple of Misfits," additional dialogue by Burl Ives, and the "Peppermint Mine" scene resolving the fate of Yukon Cornelius. Also, a new song, "Fame and Fortune," was shot for the revised version and put in place of the reprise of "We're a Couple of Misfits".
1998–2008 CBS telecasts
The above 1965 deletions were returned to the film, but "Fame and Fortune" was not included and was replaced with the original "We're a Couple of Misfits" reprise. This telecast also deleted the "Peppermint Mine" scene (to date, it has never aired on CBS).
Oddly, starting sometime in the 2000s, CBS aired the video for "Fame and Fortune" synced with an edited version of "We're a Couple of Misfits." Beyond that, the special has been edited further due to more commercial time; the special is time-compressed and some musical numbers shortened.
2009 CBS telecasts
"Fame and Fortune" has once again been replaced with "We're A Couple Of Misfits", the special itself undergoing further cuts for more commercial time.
When Rudolph was first issued on video by previous owner Broadway Video, the 1965 rebroadcast print was used with the changes listed above under 1965-1997 Telecasts. All current video prints of Rudolph by Classic Media are a compendium of the two previous telecast versions of the special. All the footage in the current versions follow the original NBC airing (without the original commercials) up until the end of the "Peppermint Mine" scene, followed by the final act of the 1965 edit (with the Misfit Island finale and the 1965 alternate credits in place of the original end credit sequence). In 1998, Rudolph was released by Sony Wonder on VHS. In 2000, it was released on DVD, and on Blu-ray Disc in 2010. This edit has been made available in original color form by current rights holders Classic Media. As previously mentioned, this is also the version currently airing on CBS, albeit in edited form to accommodate more commercial time.
- Family Home Entertainment (1989–1997)
- Golden Book Video (1998–2003)
- Sony Wonder (1998–2007)
- Classic Media (2004–present)
- Vivendi Entertainment (2010–present)
- BBC Video / Video Collection International (late 80's - 90's)
- Warner Home Video (as Moasic Entertainment) (2000's)
- Universal Pictures UK (2010-present)
- Roadshow Home Video (as Roadshow Lorimar Home Video) (late 80's)
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (early 2000's)
- Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2010-present)
In 1964, an LP of the soundtrack was released. It contained all the original songs performed as they are in the special, with the exception of Burl Ives' material, which has been re-recorded. MCA Special Products released the soundtrack on CD in June 1995. It is an exact duplication of the original LP released in 1964. Tracks 1-9 are the original soundtrack selections; tracks 10-19 are performed by a studio orchestra. The song "Fame and Fortune" is not contained on either release.
The tracklisting is as follows:
- "Overture And A Holly Jolly Christmas" - Burl Ives 2:28
- "Jingle Jingle Jingle" - Stan Francis 1:17
- "We Are Santa's Elves" - Videocraft Chorus 1:36
- "There's Always Tomorrow" - Janet Orenstein 1:51
- "We're A Couple Of Misfits" - Billie Mae Richards & Paul Soles 1:24
- "Silver And Gold" - Burl Ives 1:46
- "The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year" - Videocraft Chorus 2:25
- "A Holly Jolly Christmas" - Burl Ives 1:22
- "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Finale) - Burl Ives 1:22
- Christmas Medley: "The Night Before Christmas Song" / "A Merry Merry Christmas" / "When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter" / "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" - Decca Concert Orchestra 3:21
- "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" - Decca Concert Orchestra 1:54
- "There's Always Tomorrow" - Decca Concert Orchestra 2:26
- "Jingle Jingle Jingle" - Decca Concert Orchestra 2:14
- "We're A Couple Of Misfits" - Decca Concert Orchestra 1:22
- "Silver And Gold" - Decca Concert Orchestra 2:26
- "We Are Santa's Elves" - Decca Concert Orchestra 1:13
- "The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year" - Decca Concert Orchestra 2:26
- "A Holly Jolly Christmas" - Decca Concert Orchestra 1:35
- "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" - Decca Concert Orchestra 1:44
The Rankin/Bass special, which currently airs on CBS, inspired numerous television sequels made by the same studio:
- The best-known Rudolph sequel is Rudolph's Shiny New Year from 1976 which first aired on ABC and is still aired annually on ABC Family.
- The feature-length Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July paired Rudolph with another famous creation inspired by a song - Frosty the Snowman, and was released in the summer of 1979, which Arthur Rankin, Jr. would later acknowledge was a bad idea.
Based on this special, a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer video game was released on November 9, 2010. The adaptation was published by Red Wagon Games for the Wii and Nintendo DS systems, and was developed by High Voltage Software and Glyphic Entertainment, respectively. The game was received poorly, and garnered extremely negative reviews from sites such as IGN giving it a 1.5/10. 
Parodies of, and homages to Rudolph
The television special's familiarity to American audiences through its annual rebroadcasts, coupled with its primitive stop-motion animation that is easy to recreate with modern technology, has lent itself to numerous parodies over the years:
Films by Corky Quakenbush
Animator Corky Quakenbush has produced parodies of Rudolph for several American television shows:
- In its December 16, 1995 episode the Fox Network's comedy series MADtv aired "Raging Rudolph", which parodied Martin Scorsese's films. In it, Sam narrates in a Joe Pesci-like voice how Rudolph and Hermey got violent Mafia-style revenge on their tormentors. This was followed by two sequels: "The Reinfather", spoofing The Godfather trilogy; and "A Pack of Gifts Now", spoofing Apocalypse Now. The original skit was also rebroadcast in MadTV's 300th episode.
- A 2001 episode of That '70s Show ("An Eric Forman Christmas") featured a subplot where Kelso was taunted by his friends for still watching "kiddie shows" like Rudolph even though he was in high school. Later in a dream sequence produced and directed by Quakenbush, Kelso himself appears in stop-motion form in the cartoon, where Rudolph and Santa encourage him to continue watching the show, telling him that he can never be too old to enjoy it.
- In December 2005, the George Lopez Show featured an animated segment in which Lopez sees a stop-motion version of himself on television in a Rudolph-style special mirroring the theme of the holiday episode.
Other parodies of Rudolph
- In the 1993 stop-motion animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Zero the ghost dog, has a magnificently glowing pumpkin nose, which is bright enough to break through the fog that Sally has conjured up. Jack lets Zero go to the head of his skeleton reindeer team, and light the way for him and in an early scene where Jack is in bed he quickly looks through a book version of Rudolph to find a logical answer to explain Christmas to the other citizens of Halloween Town.
- In the 2001 animated film Monsters, Inc., there is an Abominable Snowman character (voiced by John Ratzenberger) which bears a significant (and intentional) resemblance to the Bumble.
- On Saturday Night Live in 2001, Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse had Sam the Snowman refusing to narrate the story because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He then took two children to Ground Zero at New York City, but Santa Claus convinced him to narrate the story because people need comforting stories like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Sam decided to narrate the tale, but was immediately interrupted by a special news report. Three years later, TV Funhouse would again parody Rudolph, this time referencing the Red state-blue state divide. In the segment, Santa hangs out with liberal celebrities Natalie Merchant, Margaret Cho, Al Franken, and Moby while skipping over the Red states ("screw the red states, voting for that dumbass president just because of that moral values crap. I don't want any part of them!"). Rudolph's red nose turns blue. Both episodes were directed by Chel White of Bent Image Lab.
- The 2003 movie Elf has a snowman named Leon that looks and behaves almost exactly like Sam the Snowman. Voiced by Leon Redbone, Leon appears in the scene where Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) leaves the North Pole to seek his father in New York City; like the protagonists in Rudolph, Buddy leaves the area by chopping an ice floe off the edge of a body of water and floating away. In addition, Buddy's outfit is exactly the same as that of the elf who supervises Hermey.
- In the Fairly Oddparents episode "Channel Chasers", the Rudolph special is one of the shows entered. Adult Timmy resembles Yukon Cornelius and Timmy resembles Hermey. Comet also appears. However, Rudolph's name is never mentioned, though he is referred to as the "freak with the glowing red nose."
- In the Lizzie McGuire episode "Xtreme Xmas", one of the ghosts who visits Lizzie in her dream represents Hermey the Misfit Elf, played by Adam Lamberg.
- In the Kim Possible episode "A Very Possible Christmas", Snowman Hank, the host of Ron's favorite Christmas special looks incredibly similar to Sam the Snowman.
- In 2004 for the show's 40th anniversary, CBS produced stop motion promos for their programming line-up, done in the style of Rankin/Bass animation. Appearing as elves in the CBS promos were puppet versions of CBS stars Jeff Probst from Survivor, Ray Romano and Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond, William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger from CSI, Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men, Phil Simms and Greg Gumbel from The NFL on CBS, and late-night talk show host David Letterman. A new stop-motion animation featuring Rudolph and Santa meeting even more CBS network stars was also aired in 2005.
- South Park The Island of Misfit Mascots Commune appeared in "Sexual Harassment Panda". In "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!" Cartman's family is seen watching Terrance and Phillip where the duo run up and fart on Rudolph which in turn makes his Nose light up.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 made numerous references to the special in their movie hecklings (such as Rudolph's line "I'm CUTE!! I'm CUUUTE!! SHE SAID I'M CUUUUUUUUTTTE!!!!") and, in episode 321, in which they made fun of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, even had their own ideas for misfit toy residents on the Island of Misfit Toys: Toaster Dolls, Patrick Swayze's Roadhouse board game, the EZ Bake Foundry and Mr. Mashed Potato Head.
- The main character of Tigers' Quest, Tiggra, comments that his brother—named Donner by the author in an intentional nod to his favorite Christmas story—once suggested that he should have been born with a "glowing red nose" instead of his abnormal white coat. Additionally, Tiggra's mate, Clairese, was named as an homage to Rudolph's girlfriend of the same name (but different spelling).
- In an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Cookie attempts to force some younger students into making toys, and goes as far as dressing them in costumes much like the elves in the Christmas Special. One even exclaims he would rather be a dentist.
- The 2005 American Dragon: Jake Long holiday episode "Hairy Christmas" features Fu Dog dressed in the same outfit as Sam the Snowman.
- 1999 saw the introduction, on British television, of Robbie the Reindeer. Robbie is Rudolph's son and, thus, the tenth of Santa Claus's reindeer. Though not an Aardman Animations production, several of the company's staff did work on the project and it bears their visual style, as well as using the same stop motion animation techniques as the Rankin/Bass original. A running gag in the program is that none of the characters can ever mention Rudolph by his full name. The reason given is that the villain, Blitzen, is outraged to hear the name of his rival, but the implication for the viewers is that the program's producers were unable to get copyright permission to use his name. There have been three stories produced so far. "Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire", "The Legend of the Lost Tribe" (2002) and "Close Encounters of the Herd Kind" (2007).
- In a similar vein to Robbie, several television specials, songs and films have introduced characters that purport to be brothers (e.g. Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen), cousins (e.g. Leroy the Redneck Reindeer), or other relatives of Rudolph.
Uses in advertising
- In 2004, office supplies retailer OfficeMax released a new commercial featuring the popular "Rubberband Man" character (played by Eddie Steeples) that they had introduced for the back to school shopping season earlier that year. The new holiday ad featured a stop motion puppet likeness of the Rubberband Man handing out Christmas presents to animated characters resembling those from the special.
- In November 2007, the Aflac insurance company aired a commercial that utilized the now Classic Media-owned Rankin/Bass characters. Rudolph has a cold and does not want to miss work and all his friends start to say that he will not be able to pay for his needs (food, electricity, and dental bills). Santa Claus comes through the cave they are in and tells them about Aflac. The Charlie-in-the Box wonders what will happen if he is not better by Christmas, and Rudolph thinks the Aflac duck can do the work. Rudolph gets better in a week, but Blitzen is sick, so the Aflac duck fills in for him.
- Alltel, Office Max, and Aflac commercials were created by Bent Image Lab, although they made unauthorized use of the copyrighted characters.
- Apple Inc. parodied Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in holiday 2007 indirectly by featuring Rankin/Bass likenesses of the Macintosh and PC characters, which were featured as people (a 'cool guy' as Mac and a 'nerd' as PC) on many commercials earlier in the year used to advertise Macintosh computers. The commercial featured Mac, PC (Personal Computer), and Santa Claus altogether singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" as a trio, only for PC to ruin the song. The Santa Claus character in the commercial somewhat resembles the Santa Claus in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special.
- In 2009, Verizon began showing a commercial of the misfit toys with an AT&T phone. The characters wonder why it is there with all of its features. They discover why when the phone shows a map of where it has 3G coverage (Verizon's ad campaign touts its much wider 3G coverage compared to AT&T), to which the toy airplane replies "You're gonna fit right in here!" and falls on the ground laughing.
- List of animated feature films
- List of Christmas television specials
- List of stop-motion films
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Wii Game)
- ^ http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion/columns/article/905466--rudolph-remembered
- ^ "The Rundown". Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me! (NPR). 2007-12-08. http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=35&prgDate=12-08-2007&view=storyview. "Arthur Rankin, Jr., in a more recent interview explained, quote, she was cast off by her mistress and clinically depressed, they didn't have Prozac back then." Although this reference might have been made in a joking manner.
- ^ "Rudolph & Santa Characters from 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer'". Antiques Roadshow. PBS. 2005-06-18. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200501A42.html.
- ^ Goodman, Brenda (2006-12-23). "Rudolph and Santa, as Good as New". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/arts/television/23rudo.html.
- ^ TV Party.com: Rudolph--Behind The Scenes, Part II, by Rick Goldschmidt
- ^ IGN's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Review
- ^ "Raging Rudolph". Video.
- ^ "The Reinfather". Video.
- ^ "A Pack of Gifts Now". Video.
- ^ "Rubberband Man Santa's Helper". Video. See also: Rubberband Man - The Making of "Santa's Helper". Video.
- ^ "Aflac - Rudolph". Video.
- ^ Bent Image Lab.
- CBS' official site
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Internet Movie Database
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Keyframe: The Animation Resource
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special) at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- A detailed story of the Rankin/Bass special
- Character Arts' official licensee site for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer licensing
- publicity photo of Burl Ives with Rudolph and Snowman puppets
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