I’m going to let you in on a little secret (but only because I like you so much): I’m more obsessed with the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Amazon dvd link) and its adorable characters than most kids are with Santa Claus.
The movie came out the year I was born (1964), so I guess it’s fitting that I’m its biggest fan. I’d hate to even try to count the number of times I’ve seen it because not only have I watched it every year, In the VCR’s heyday, I recorded it and watched it multiple times and since getting the dvd, I’ve been known to pop it in several times during the Christmas season.
In fact, I think it’s high time I watch it today…
I’ve also been collecting Rudolph memorabilia over the years and its one of the funnest collections I have going. People get almost as big a kick shopping for these collectibles as I get receiving them.
Below are some cool facts about this classic and the people who made the magic happen.
Santa’s reindeer are all seen and even mentioned, by name, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The three reindeer with “speaking roles” are all voiced by Paul Kligman. These reindeer (along with their roles) are:
- Donner – Rudolph’s father
- Comet – Coach of the infamous Reindeer Games
- Dasher – One of the other buck’s (at the games) dad
Sam the Snowman is the Narrator of the movie. Burl Ives was the speaking and singing voice behind Sam. The face of Sam the Snowman was designed to resemble Mr. Ives.
The Abominable Snow Monster of the North is also called The Bumble in the movie.
Rudolph was voiced by Billie Mae Richards and, yes, this was a female. In addition to voice overs in quite a few Care Bear movies, she was also the voice of Rudolph in the movies Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
Yukon Cornelius was voiced by Larry D. Mann. In the 1964 TV movie Return to Oz, Mann was Rusty the Tin Man. He was also in episodes of Get Smart, The Big Valley, Bewitched, and several other classic television series. Watch for him, it’s a real hoot to hear Yukon Cornelius’ voice coming out of someone else.
Corinne Conley provided the voice for the adorable doll on the Island of Misfit Toys. She (the actress… not the doll) went on to play the second Phyllis Anderson on Days of Our Lives.
The original Misfit Toys didn’t have their happy ending. Although it’s hard to imagine, in the original TV version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph, Hermey the elf (who wants to be a dentist instead of an elf), and Yukon Cornelius visit the Island of Misfit Toys and promise to help them. However, the original movie ended without the Misfits ever being seen again… let alone helped.After it aired, the producers were SWARMED with letters from upset children who wanted to know why the Misfit Toys weren’t helped! A new scene was produced and added to the end of the show – the adorable scene where Santa and his reindeer (led, of course, by Rudolph) land on the Island of Misfit Toys, pick them up and take them to their new homes.
The main Misfit Toys were comprised of:
- Charlie in the Box – a Misfit simply because he’s named Charlie instead of Jack.
- Spotted Elephant – Seemingly a misfit because of the spots?
- A Toy Train – The back wheels were square instead of round.
- A Bird – Able to swim but not fly.
- “Dolly for Sue…” or just “Dolly” – One of the questions most people have always asked about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is, “Why is the doll a misfit toy?” One of the producers, Arthur Rankin Jr., finally addressed the subject. He said Dolly’s “problem” was psychological! He said she was abandoned by her human and it left her feeling depressed and unloved. OK, is that priceless or what?
Santa’s magic works wonders. If you watch closely, at the end of the movie, when the toys are “delivered,” the train’s wheels are all round. Also, the bird doesn’t need a parachute like the other toys for his trip from the sky – he simply flies!
Rudolph isn’t as big as he appears. While the Rudolph puppet, on screen, appears to be about three feet tall, in reality “Rudolph” is actually much smaller. He’s really the size of a newborn kitten.
They used to laugh and call him names… and that’s never okay. Author and special education professor, George Giuliani, recognized the behavior of some of the characters toward Rudolph as qualifying for bullying. In In December 2011, he decided to wrote a book titled No More Bullies at the North Pole!