Most of us know the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the misfit reindeer who saved Christmas by leading Santa’s sleigh one foggy Christmas Eve. But here is some trivia you may not know about Santa’s little flying reindeer.
1. Rudolph was created for Montgomery Ward. In 1939, the company wanted a create a book to give to kids at Christmas. They had been buying and handing out coloring books, but decided it would be cheaper to create a book of their own. Robert L. May, who was a copywriter for the company, wrote the story. It was an immediate hit. The company distributed over 2 million copies of the book the first year it was published.
2. The 1964 Rankin-Bass TV special wasn’t Rudolph’s theatrical debut. In 1947, Rudolph’s story was told in a cartoon short produced by Max Fleischer, a well-known producer who was also responsible for bringing characters such as Popeye, Betty Boop and Superman to life.
3. Johnny Marks, who wrote the popular “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” song, was the brother-in-law of Robert L. May. After Marks’ success with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” he went on to write many other Christmas hits, including “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
4. A full-length animated feature film about Rudolph was released in 1998. The film, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie” featured the voices of many well-known actors, including John Goodman as Santa Claus, Whoopi Goldberg as Stormella, Debbie Reynolds as Mrs Claus and Bob Newhart as Leonard. Canadian voice actress Kathleen Barr was the voice of Rudolph. The film had a limited theatrical release before going to home video.
5. No one really knows who Rudolph’s parents are. Robert L. May never mentioned Rudolph’s parents in the original story. In the animated TV special, Rudolph’s parents were Donner and a doe referenced only as “Mrs. Donner.” In the later animated movie, Rudolph’s parents are Blitzen and a doe named Mitzi.