It’s the 50th episode of the Advent Calendar House, so it’s time to tackle the Christmas special that put Rankin/Bass on the map and into our hearts, 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
On This Episode
- Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), ostrich-riding cowboy struggling with an inferiority complex despite being able to outrun a horse.
- Brandon Medley (@brandmed) from Blessed Are the Geek.
- Joey O. (@ImGonnaDJ24) from Y-Not Radio and Words With Nerds.
Topics and Tangents
- Is Santa really this big of a jerk or just hangry?
- The History Channel on the creation of Rudolph.
- Mashable’s 12 ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ facts.
- Burger King and Hallmark’s Rodney Reindeer plushes, which at one point doubled as stockings.
- Rudolph almost had huge, glowing eyes instead of a red nose, and all I can think of is the terrifying original version of Mr. Snuffleupagus.
- The rare and expensive Santa’s Castle play set, which includes Santa and Mr. Claus’s maybe queen-size bed.
- A lot of voices in this cast were later part of the 1960s “Spider-Man” and “The Marvel Super Heroes” animated series.
- The first mention of Santa having a wife was in a short story by Philadelphia missionary James Rees in 1849.
- The mystery of the head elf’s suddenly changing voice: Wikipedia claims it’s intentional, but we’re not buying it.
- Carl Banas, the voice of the head elf, was also the original voice of Sweetums in “Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince.”
- “Fame and Fortune,” a song that replaced “We’re a Couple of Misfits” as Rudolph and Hermey’s duet from 1965 to 1997.
- You can meet characters from this version of “Rudolph” at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Sesame Place.
- Arthur Rankin Jr. explains why Dolly’s on the Island of Misfit Toys on NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.”
- Santa’s still “skinny” on Christmas Eve, but fattens up by that night. What did he eat?
- The original ending included Yukon Corneilius finding a peppermint mine, later replaced by popular demand with the scene of Santa stopping to pick up the misfit toys.
- “The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass: A Portfolio” on Amazon or MiserBros.com.
- Original figures of Rudolph and Santa were found in an attic and appraised on “Antiques Roadshow” in 2005. They were later sold and restored.
Previous Episodes of This Podcast Mentioned
- Season 1, Episode 1: Frosty the Snowman
- Season 1, Bonus: The First Easter Rabbit
- Season 2, Episode 14: Batman, the Animated Series: Christmas with the Joker
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” ©1964 Rankin/Bass Productions.
Closing music: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by the California Raisins, from Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration.