10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’
Most children today have grown up watching the classic Christmas special ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer‘ that was filmed using stop-motion animation. As the winter holiday season fast approaches and you settle down to watch ‘Rudolph’ on television, check out these 10 cool facts that you didn’t know about one of the most famous Christmas specials of all time.
1. Character Names Were Inspired By Real People
According to Ken Muller, brother of ‘Rudolph’ screenwriter Romeo Muller, the original name for Hermey the Elf was supposed to be “Herbie” in honor of a childhood friend. Meanwhile, Clarice (Rudolph’s girlfriend) was named after the future bride of another friend.
2. Rudolph and Friends Were Created in Japan
Japan has long been known for its love of animation (anime anyone?). But did you know that ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ was actually filmed in Japan? Yep! In fact, many of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion “Animagic” specials were produced in Japan.
3. A Pack of Hounds
Yukon Cornelius has an interesting sled dog team. Instead of Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, his rag-tag team of pooches include a Poodle, a Cocker Spaniel, a Saint Bernard, a Dacshund and a Collie.
4. Even Toys Have Self-Esteem Problems
On the Island of Misfit Toys, Dolly for Sue seems perfectly normal on the outside, and for decades fans have debated as to why she was there. Producer Arthur Rankin finally revealed on NPR in 2007 that Dolly considers herself a misfit due to her low self-esteem issues and psychological problems. She’s a doll who feels that she is unlovable.
5. Elven Romance
At the end of the movie, eagle-eyed fans will notice that the elf Hermey can be seen flirting and dancing with a pretty young female elf, with the implication that romance is in the air. (Aragorn and Arwen 2.0, anyone?)
6. Sam’s Inspiration
The songs were sung by Burl Ives, who was the voice actor for the character of Sam the Snowman. The animators also created Sam to look like the burly Ives.
7. General Electric Made A Killing on the Merchandise
The company General Electric sponsored ‘Rudolph’ for the first three broadcasts, and they had quite the innovative marketing scheme at the time: They put out print ads featuring the characters from ’64 to ’66, and when you purchased any General Electric product, they gave out copies of the soundtrack album as a premium.
8. Bringing Christmas Back to Life
The original puppets of Santa Claus and the younger Rudolph were eventually purchased by a new owner after going on tour in 2007. Since they were in absolutely horrible condition– Santa had half of his mustache missing while Rudolph was missing his famous nose — the new owner spent $4,000 for them to be restored to mint condition by stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties International.
9. He Is the Chosen One
In the original script, Rudolph was supposed to be delivered to Donner and his wife via a stork, but after General Electric chose Burl Ives to be the narrator, they scrapped the scene so that in the film, Rudolph is born normally like any other reindeer.
10. Even the Misfits Were Ignored. Again.
In the original script, while Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius promise to visit the Island of Misfit Toys and bring them back, they never do so. After the special aired, Rankin-Bass were inundated with angry letters from kids demanding that the Misfit Toys be helped. To console the children, they produced a short scene where Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the reindeer arrive on the Island and deliver the Misfits to new homes. This scene has shown on TV since 1965. Power to the little ones!