Somehow, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on TV. At least, that’s true for me. There’s just something about the cute little characters and the message that underdogs can prevail.
I’m sure you know all the lyrics to “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and you can say Hermey’s lines along with him (Not happy in my work, I guess …)
But did you know these fun facts about the Rudolph Christmas special, which celebrates 50 years in 2014?
- When Rudolph first aired in 1964, on a Sunday afternoon, it earned a 50 share of the audience — unheard-of, even in those days of just three channel options.
- Rudolph on the show was voiced by a 43-year-old woman. In their twilight years, she and the actor who voiced dentist elf Hermey lived in the same retirement community.
- The Rudolph puppet characters were brought to life in Japan by Japanese stop-motion animators, in a building previously used for testing fighter plane engines. The technology used in the puppets was considered so amazing that TV Guide devoted four pages to an article on the making of the show. How big is the Rudolph puppet? You may be surprised — it’s just palm-sized; about the size of a small kitten. The Santa puppet is 8″ tall.
- Voice recordings for the show were done mostly in Toronto by Canadian actors.
- The original Santa and Rudolph puppets were discovered in the attic of a woman who had worked for Rankin-Bass in 2005, in sad shape. They were appraised on “Antiques Roadshow” at $8,000-$10,000, and have since been purchased and restored by a Los Angeles animation studio.
- In the original airing, Santa did not return for the Misfit Toys. After complaints about this, the ending was altered to the happier version shown today.
- Speaking of Misfits: sure, the train has square wheels and the gun shoots jelly. But have you ever wondered what problem the cute doll, Dolly, had? Others have speculated about this as well, leading producer Arthur Rankin to say that she suffered from depression and self-esteem issues. Hmmmm — how very 21st century of her! (and this makes more sense given that this rationale for her different-ness was given in 2007)
Rudolph airs on CBS tonight, here at least. I’ll be watching. What’s your favorite part of Rudolph?