By Allison Shoaf
One can see Christmas movies and decorations even before December. There are thousands of popular and cheesy Hollywood or Hallmark Christmas movies made and bought. Classics can include Home Alone, Peanuts Holiday, Holiday Inn, etc. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Dec. 6th, 1964), a classic animated Christmas movie for all ages. The tale celebrates uniqueness and teaches the importance of tolerance and acceptance.
The movie of a young reindeer named Rudolph who has a peculiar difference unlike the others, his bright and shiny red nose is a Christmas classic. Because Rudolph is so different, he is excluded and bullied by the reindeer. He is left out of Reindeer games, and they make fun of him. He runs away and during his adventure meets unique characters, Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist, the arctic explorer Yukon Cornelius, Bumble the abominable snow monster, and the troupe of misfit toys. The movie ends as Rudolph returns to the North Pole to guide Santa’s sleigh through the foggy Christmas Eve night.
Rudolph was created in 1939, when a man named Robert May wrote the original story for his daughter. Robert used the story as an advertising promotion to boost profits for Montgomery Ward department store during the Christmas Season. A booklet of the story was distributed free to all the children who visited the store. In the first year of publication the book was distributed and exceeded two million copies, it became a classic.
In 1949, the story was adapted to a song by Johnny Marks, a friend of Robert May, who wrote it based on the original story. In 1964, the team Rankin/Bass Productions produced the first animated version of the story for television. It was sponsored by the General Electric Company and premiered on NBC December 6th. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is said to be the longest running children’s Christmas special on TV.
The first animated movie was created with a form of pf animation called “Animagic.” It used a form of stop-motion animation and three-dimensional dolls or toy-like figures that were positioned in various poses to emulate movement. The first animated TV version additional songs were generated, and the storyline was enhanced by the animators.
In an interview, Mrs. Betts, a Lenape Teacher, and Lukey Berry, a Lenape student, were asked about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Some questions they considered were: Have you ever watched or read Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? What criticism or praise would you give the movie?
Lukey recalls having fond memories of the movie and even says it fills one with nostalgia and joy. He remembers a lot of the movie due to iconic scenes. Lukey goes into further detail praising the stop-motion animation. Mrs. Betts says she’s read the book and watched the movie. She can recall her son enjoying watching it on Christmas. Mrs. Betts says that the movie has received some criticism but personally thinks it’s a sweet children’s story for the holiday.
Over the years it has been revised and reinterpreted to varying degrees for books and television. One can catch the movie on the first day or at the beginning of December. Christmas movies are made to bring togetherness and teach important lessons. Whether it is uniqueness, acceptance, sharing, or being kind to others, it raises Christmas spirit.
et al. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Turns 75.” National Museum of American History, 21 Dec. 2014, americanhistory.si.edu/blog/rudolph-red-nosed-reindeer-turns-75.