Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a song and popular Christmas story about Santa Claus's ninth and lead reindeer who possesses an unusually red-colored nose that gives off its own light, powerful enough to illuminate the team's path through inclement weather.The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, L.P. and has been sold in numerous forms including a popular song, a Rankin/Basstelevision special (done in Stop Motion animation) in 1964, and a feature film by GoodTimes Entertainment in 1998. Rudolph was created by Robert L. May in 1939 as part of his employment with Montgomery Ward. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P. Although the story and song have not passed into public domain, they have established themselves as folklore (as evidenced by the development of local variations and parodies such as "Deadeye the Lonesome Cowboy," collected in the field by Simon J. Bronner and included in American Children's Folklore).:Johnny Marks decided to adapt May's story into a song, which through the years has been recorded by many artists (most notably by Gene Autry in 1949), and has since filtered into the popular consciousness.The lyric "All of the other reindeer" can be misheard as the Mondegreen "Olive, the other reindeer", and has given rise to another fictional character, Olive. Similarly, the lyric "and they shouted out with glee" has evolved into a tongue-in-cheek misinterpretation itself, "and they shouted out, 'With glee!'" — prompting singers to shout "With glee!" in response to the line. (This can clearly be heard on at least one recording of a live performance of the song aired during the 2009 season.)The song in its Finnish translation, Petteri Punakuono, has led to Rudolph's general acceptance in the Finland's folklore as Joulupukki's, the Finnish Santa's, lead reindeer. However, in Finland, Santa's reindeer do not fly. Mike Eheman made the newest version of the song with the actual flying reindeer so Santa can land on rooftops.Apropos of nothing, the song can be sung to the Hawaii Five-O theme music.Trope Namer for All of the Other Reindeer.
The Rankin/Bass Christmas Special provides examples of:
Abusive Parent: Some of the things Rudolph's father says and does are seriously close to the border of emotional abuse. Although considering the time when the creators were growing up and when the movie was released, it was probably wasn't intended to come off as abusive and was meant to be a typical father-son relationship. Men being hard on their sons was considered the norm, whether it was fair or not, and could still be considered reasonably well-adjusted. To be fair, though the narrator does state that Donner felt pretty bad about the way he treated Rudolph when Rudolph runs off.
Animated Adaptation: The Rankin-Bass special, or course. However, many years before the famous stop-motion special, the Jam Handy animation studio made a short subject adaptation of the cartoon in 1944, directed by none other than Max Fleischer. The song was not written yet during its original run, but a 1948 re-release of it dubbed in the song over the opening.
Heel Face Turn: Boss Elf finally realizes that Hermey's dentistry dream really does have potential after hearing how he pulled the Abominable Snowmonster's teeth and lets Hermey open shop as dentist, with the first appointments set for as early as the week after Christmas. The Abominable Snowmonster itself makes the turn after Yukon outwits it with Hermey's help.
"I Want" Song: "Fame and Fortune" before it was changed back to "We're a Couple of Misfits" fits the bill, also the first half-minute of "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year".
Jerkass: While All of the Other Reindeer naturally qualify, Santa Claus himself is actually quite abrasive in this edition, first tersely dismissing the elves' song, and storming out, and later, after Rudolph's nose is made public, he not only doesn't stop the other reindeer from ridiculing him, but actually treats Rudolph just as bad as they do.
He even tells Donner he should be ashamed for his son's uncontrollable, uncurable physical abnormality.
Santa's remark to Donner might have meant he should be ashamed of hiding Rudolph's nose.
They all have a Heel Realization upon hearing Rudolph and Hermey's story about their travels and realizing their abnormalities can be put to good use after all (even Donner admits he had always known Rudolph's red nose could be useful later on).
The head elf is a hardass, and initially refuses to let Hermie be a dentist. He eventually relents and allows him to open a Dentist office after Christmas.
Karma Houdini: All of the adults around Rudolph treat him in a way that borders emotional abuse. They never get called out or face any consequences, his Informed Deformity just turns out to be useful and they accept him.
Nothing Is Scarier: The Abominable Snow Monster is a terrifying presence in the first half of the special when he exists only as a frightening roar while a giant pair of legs go striding by, and the scene becomes very dark. Once we see the whole creature, he's not that scary any more.
Product Placement: The special was originally commissioned and sponsored by GE, which was selling new smaller Christmas Tree lights — that looked very much like Rudolph's nose....
Re Cut: More times than some might expect for a 50-minute TV movie.
The original 1964 broadcast differs from later versions through Rudolph's and Hermy's performance of "We're a Couple of Misfits," Donner expressing pride in his son guiding Santa's sleigh, Yukon Cornelius striking peppermint, and elves dropping presents from the sleigh during the end credits.
Beginning in 1965, "We're a Couple of Misfits" was replaced with "Fame and Fortune," and "We Are Santa's Elves" lost an instrumental scene with physical humor, to make room for commercials. Also, at the request of viewers, a new scene featured Santa collecting the Misfit Toys from the island and a new credits sequence showed elves delivering them to unseen households. As a result, Donner and Yukon Cornelius's witnessing Santa's flight was removed. This is the same version sold on VHS.
Platypus Comix's review of a 1979 broadcast note which actually spends more time discussing the cheesy commercials than reviewing the special reveals a version which cuts all of "We Are Santa's Elves," as well as a brief moment when Donner asks his wife to Stay in the Kitchen. (The author claims every other version he's seen contains the latter moment, suggesting it was reinstated during the mid-1980s.)
In 1998, CBScame to the rescue and restored "We're a Couple of Misfits" and "We Are Santa's Elves" to the special, but still included the scenes of the Misfit Toys becoming presents. Due to the retaining of those scenes, the special still does not include the original ending or end credits sequence.
Beginning in 2005, Rudolph got screwed by CBS, when they decided to make room for commercials by cutting the "We Are Santa's Elves" instrumental and Donner's and Yukon Cornelius' scenes of the ending again, and also syncing a shortened "We're a Couple of Misfits" to the animation of "Fame and Fortune." They also time-compress the show slightly.
Most DVDs, and also the Blu-Ray, feature the cut that most closely matches the original broadcast. It includes "We're a Couple of Misfits" and the uncut "We Are Santa's Elves," and also places Donner's and Yukon Cornelius' final scenes right before the scenes of the Misfit Toys becoming presents. However, it does not include the original end credits sequence, and DVDs produced from 2005-2006 are inexplicably missing Donner's and Yukon Cornelius' final scenes.
Society Marches On: In 1964, the squirt gun from the Island of Misfit Toys was a misfit because it squirted jelly rather than water. Now it's a misfit because it's a toy gun that looks like a real gun, which is no longer legal or acceptable.
Stay in the Kitchen: When Donner's wife asks if she can help look for Rudolph, he responds, "No. This is man's work." Joined by Clarice, she follows up, though, and it gets worse for both of them when they get captured by the Abominable Snowmonster.
Expy: Zoey to Clarice and Arrow to Fireball. Arrow only looks like Fireball, and appears to be based on Fireball's attitude on Rudolph after he learned about his nose. Zoey was actually going to be called Clarice but couldn't due to copyright reasons.