The classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special was my favorite holiday special growing up. I'm happy to report that Rudolph is also a favorite of my kids. In honor of Rudolph airing Tuesday night, here are some neat facts and trivia about the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special:
- Why is Dolly for Sue, who is apparently a perfectly ordinary doll, living on the Island of Misfit Toys? This gripping debate raged on for decades, until official word from Rankin-Bass recently decided the issue: Dolly for Sue is a "misfit" because she has psychological problems - she feels unloved.
- Yukon Cornelius' stalwart sled dogs include a Cocker Spaniel, a Poodle, a Saint Bernard, a Collie, and a Dachshund.
- At the conclusion of "Holly Jolly Christmas", Hermey the elf can be seen dancing (and flirting) with an equally attentive girl elf, suggesting a budding romance.
- According to brother Ken Muller, Romeo Muller actually intended the elf to be named "Herbie", after a childhood friend. Rudolph's sweetheart was named "Clarice" in honor of the bride-to-be of another close friend.
- When Yukon Cornelius throws his pick axe into the ground and takes it out and licks it, he's checking neither for gold nor silver. The original concept for the special stated that Yukon was in fact searching for the elusive peppermint mine, which he found eventually.
- Rudolph was to have been delivered to Donner and his wife by stork, but when General Electric brought in Burl Ives as the narrator, the scene was scrapped and never filmed, so that it now appears that Rudolph was born naturally.
- Original puppets of Santa & young Rudolph from the 1964 production went on tour in Nov 2007. When purchased by their new owner, both were in poor condition...Santa had mold under his beard & half of his mustache was gone, while Rudolph's nose was gone. The owner took them to stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties International, who restored them "as a labor of love" for expenses only- $4000. The puppets originally cost $5000 each in 1964.
- The Santa puppet is 8" tall. Young Rudolph is only 4" tall. Rudolph's nose really lights. The puppets are made from wood, wire and fabric and are quite fragile. The Japanese company that handled animation made several copies of each puppet, since they didn't last long under the constant handling of stop-motion posing. None of these copies are known to exist.
- In the original TV version of the show, Rudolph, Hermey the elf and Yukon Cornelius visit the Island of Misfit Toys and promise to help them, but the Misfits are never mentioned again. After it was shown, the producers were inundated with letters from children complaining that nothing had been done to help the Misfit Toys. In response, Rankin-Bass produced a new short scene at the end of the show in which Santa and his reindeer, led by Rudolph, land on the Island and pick up all the toys to find homes for them, which has ever since been the standard version of the show run during the holidays.
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