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Sunday, December 1, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Movies - Day 2: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Going classic again for Day 2 of my series, 25 Days of Christmas movies, with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964).  The stop motion animation is pretty rudimentary, but the tale of the little reindeer with the glowing red nose is one I have to stop and watch every time. Rudolph, Hermey the Elf who wants to be a dentist, Yukon the prospector, The Abominable and the incomparable Burl Ives as the Narrator/Snowman. And do you not want to cry over the Island of Misfit Toys? Actually, I realized in later years that the treatment of Rudolph was pretty appalling. The adults, including the flight coach reindeer, his own parents and even Santa himself, are horrid! In modern times child services would be called if a father made his son wear a fake nose because of a "disfigurement". Or someone would post a pic on Facebook, which would of course go viral, causing millions of “outraged” people around the world to rain down furious rants about them. There's even a scene where Rudolph has gone missing and his mother wants to go out with dad to hunt for her son.  And dad says "this is men's work." Hello women's movement, the 60s are calling.  Then of course Rudolph saves the day when the worst blizzard ever hits and suddenly his day-glow nose is an asset.

True story. When I was a little kid and we lived in Washington, D.C. my parents would go to church on Wednesdays for choir practice. They always had kids’ activities while the grownups practiced. On one of those Wednesdays, Rudolph was scheduled to be on TV. This was before DVRs or even VCRs.  And before cable gave you a thousand chances to see it.  You saw it once on a network station or not at all. So, I made my parents bring our TV to church so the kids could watch it. Also before TVs went mini and before anyone knew what a “flat screen” was. So that TV was big sucker…but the effort was worth it.

Another true fact: Rudolph first appeared in a booklet published by Montgomery Ward in 1939. The song, made famous by Gene Autry, became a hit in 1949.

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