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Animation Monday: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer 50th Anniversary

Geek Alabama Animation Christmas 2014

This week on Animation Monday, which will be Christmas themed, we need to talk about a classic Christmas cartoon celebrating its 50th birthday!  Surely, you must have grown up watching the classic cartoon Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer?  If not, you must not be in the Christmas spirit!  Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is one of those classic Christmas specials mostly everyone catches at least once every Christmas season.  I would say How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and Frosty The Snowman are also other must catch Christmas specials each year.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer began as a poem written by Robert L. May in 1939.  Then, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer became a song sung by Johnny Marks in 1949.  But the version of the song sung by Gene Autry became very popular!  Here is the song on YouTube.

Then in 1964, the Christmas cartoon special Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer first aired on NBC.  If you have seen the special, you know the cartoon is all stop motion, which I think is the best way to make a Christmas special!  Rankin-Bass Productions made the special, and they used flexible dolls and adjusted them in tiny increments while shooting them frame by frame.  Most of the dolls have not survived since the Christmas cartoon special was made.  But, Santa and Rudolph survived and was appraised on Antiques Roadshow in 2006.  Here is that video below and don’t worry, because these two were restored to mint condition after this episode aired on PBS.

Since 1972, the special has aired on CBS.  And the classic Christmas cartoon got digitally remastered and aired in high definition beginning in 2005.  The Christmas cartoon was made and produced in Japan, yes Japan.  And all of the voicing work was done in Canada by Canadian actors who did work on radio dramas.  It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest running Christmas TV special in history, and one of only five 1960’s Christmas specials still being telecast.


So, what makes this Christmas cartoon special?  Well, for starters it tells the story of how Rudolph became Santa’s lead reindeer on his sleigh.  I also like the special because it deals with things who are being rejected, like Rudolph’s blinking red nose, and the Island of Misfit Toys.  I like how the special ends, from the misfit toys being accepted, to Rudolph getting accepted, because his nose saved Christmas for all the boys and girls.  Yes, you can tell some of the misfit toys are depressed, because of being rejected.  But, the special teaches everyone that even people today being rejected have talents, and they need to be shown off and discovered.

So, I will continue to watch Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer every Christmas season, along with many other people as well!  New families introduce this classic Christmas cartoon to their new kids, and this Christmas special will remain popular forever!  Long live Rudolph and his red nose!  Watch Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer below or via the public domain by clicking here!

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