The cast of the classic story and its various adaptations.
The most famous reindeer of all. Has a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it—oh you get the idea.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: In the DC Comics series, two children (Jack and Judy) decide to visit the North Pole to ask Santa if they could find Rudolph. When he finally meets the children, Rudolph learns that he's very famous. Once his fame goes to his head, Rudolph becomes very egotistical and starts arguments with the elves and reindeer. As a result, Rudolph decides to briefly quit being part of Santa's team. One of Santa's reindeer even mentions that "He's getting too big for his nose." after Santa makes posters telling the elves and reindeer that Dasher will take Rudolph's place as head reindeer. It's gotten so bad that Santa actually took him off the Christmas list while Rudolph responds with a smug remark. Rudolph later realizes that his fame really did go to his nose and returns to being the lead reindeer.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: While Rudolph's design in the various illustrations of the books, the 1948 short cartoon and the DC comics miniseries wasn't by any means ugly (although Robert L. May's text does mention that Rudolph was considered "the ugliest reindeer", its an Informed Flaw at worst), he was noticeably gangly and lanky looking in physique◊. The Rankin-Bass special makes him much cuter and younger looking while making his proportions more stocky.
- Adaptational Badass:
- Downplayed. The Rankin-Bass Rudolph tends to see more direct action and conflict than in the books or DC comics, and while he's no superhero in the making, he proves formidable enough to come out on top against his opponents or at least make an effort to stand up to them, such as The Bumble and Winterbolt and his snakes.
- The DC Comics Rudolph saw his fair share of action as well. Issue 11 has him dealing with armed western bandits, and he's able to focus the light of his nose to burn a rope trapping him. He even uses his nose to blind a gunman before he can fire his gun at him.
- Adaptation Personality Change: In the original story and numerous adaptations, Rudolph is very shy, timid, and awkward. He is also very self-conscious with his red nose (notably in the 1948 adaptation and 1998 feature film) and doesn't became more confident until Santa wakes him up on Christmas Eve. In the 1996 adaptation, he's very upbeat and playful.
- All of the Other Reindeer: But of course. His glowing nose makes him an outcast from his brethren until Santa realizes it can be useful.
- Art Evolution: His design is somewhat overhauled for Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, but The Island of Misfit Toys reverts him back to his 1964 design. The sudden redesign in Shiny New Year is rather odd considering its an Immediate Sequel to the original special.
- Artistic License Biology: Zigzagged. Rudolph's anatomy in the Rankin-Bass series isn't remotely accurate to the appearance of a reindeer, looking closer to a white-tailed deer. However, the first special does acknowledge the very fast growth rate of real life deer, with Rudolph reaching a large size with antlers in only a matter of months, although this is oddly disregarded in the follow-ups by keeping him young.
- Brought Down to Normal:
- Downplayed in "Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July". He willingly extinguishes his glowing nose as part of his deal with Winterbolt to save Frosty and his families lives, but he's still able to fly.
- In the sequel to the original book, Rudolph Shines Again, Rudolph's nose briefly loses his ability to glow due to feeling put upon since the other reindeer still dont respect him and give him a lot of work to do. He gets it back by the end after he rescues two lost rabbits and adopts a selfless attitude.
- The Cameo: Rudolph makes brief cameo appearances in two other Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town and Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.
- Cursed With Awesome: His glowing nose makes him an outcast, but it soon proves to have its uses. Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July explains that Lady Boreal endowed his nose with magic to make it shine as a defense against the evil Winterbolt, and that its power lasts only as long as Rudolph uses his gift for good.
- David vs. Goliath: His fight with The Bumble. He's absolutely no match for the giant creature in a fight, but he's brave enough to keep on fighting for the sake of his family and girlfriend.
- Dramatic Irony: Rudolph's Red Nose got him ridiculed by the other reindeer. But in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, when he briefly loses it, he ends up an outcast again by losing what made him famous. And for extra irony, in The Island of Misfit Toys he seriously considers the idea of getting plastic surgery to remove his nose because he thinks its the only reason people like him.
- Famed in Story:
- After saving Christmas in the original special, Rudolph quickly gains a reputation as a living legend in-universe. Hermey even hangs a lampshade on this in The Island of Misfit Toys when he notes that Rudolph is a "beloved holiday icon!"
- The DC Comics also show Rudolph being well known in-universe. Issue #3 has Rudolph listening to his own theme song over the radio!
- Flight: Is capable of his like all of Santa's reindeer.
- Gag Nose: Downplayed. While Rudolph's red nose isn't comically large, the original book's text described the size of his red nose as "It's red as a beet! Twice as big! Twice as bright!". His standard design◊ between◊ 1939◊and 1964◊ note kept his red nose◊ big. The 1964 Rankin-Bass special made his red nose smaller. Non-Rankin/Bass adaptations, such as the 1948 short film◊, the 1998 feature film, and the 1996 Montgomery Ward adaptation retained the original size of his red nose sticking closer to Denver Gillen's original design for him.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: In Diana Magnuson's illustrations of the story. Rudolph, along with the other reindeer, are seen wearing hats, coats, and scarves.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, he willingly takes the blame for the circus money getting stolen and sacrifices his glowing nose so Frosty and his family won't melt in the summer heat as part of a deal with Winterbolt.
- I Just Want to Be Normal:
- In the original special, he comes to hate how his glowing nose makes him an outcast from the other reindeer, but once his nose proves to be useful he comes to embrace it.
- In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, he use his own nose and the story behind it to demonstrate to Happy why he shouldn't be ashamed of the things that make him unique (i.e. his giant ears).
- Naturally, him (briefly) losing his glowing nose in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July is treated as a bad thing.
- This ironically becomes a conflict again in The Island of Misfit Toys, as Rudolph thinks people only like him because of his nose and seriously considers getting plastic surgery to replace it with a normal nose, but Clarice talks him out of it.
- Informed Deformity: While Rudolph's lightbulb nose is indeed bizarre, it certainly isn't something to be afraid of or have him ostracized over.
- Innocently Insensitive: In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, when Rudolph convinces Happy to show him his giant ears, Rudolph laughs at the sight, which upsets the infant. However, Rudolph clarifies to him that he's not laughing out of mockery, but because the sight of Happy's ears had made him feel so wonderful that he had to laugh out loud, just like it had done with everyone else.
- In-Series Nickname: The DC Comics sometimes have his friends shorten his name to Rudy out of convienience. The 1998 feature film also had some of the characters call him "Rudy" (notably his parents) besides Rudolph.
- Lonely Together: Rudolph and Hermey immediately hit it off upon meeting due to both of them being misfits. Even after he and Rudolph find their place, they still remain close friends.
- Luminescent Blush: In the original story, after the reindeer congratulate him on christmas morning. Rudolph starts blushing, which causes his entire body to literally turn red that's as bright as his nose.◊
- Nice Guy: He's all around pleasant and selfless, always putting others needs before his own.
- Non-Mammalian Hair: Rudolph is depicted with hair in the 1982 version of Rudolph Shines Again, where his hair is the same color as his fur◊. He has blonde hair in the 1998 movie by GoodTimes Entertainment.
- Shrinking Violet: In the original story and 1948 animated short, Rudolph is very shy and doesn't speak as frequent as the other reindeer. He does become more vocal after meeting Santa Claus (in the original story) and congratulated on Christmas morning (1939 story and 1948 cartoon).
- Save the Villain: In the 1998 movie, Rudolph with the help of his friends, rescue the main antagonist of the film after almost falling off a cliff.
- Snap Back: Strangely, all three of the follow-ups to the 1964 special ignore that Rudolph grew up into a stag at the end and treat him as if he's still a fawn or button buck.
- Sneaky Departure: Rudolph feels he's endangering the others because his glowing nose always exposes them when the Abominable Snow Monster is near, so he leaves them in the middle of the night.
- Tender Tears:
- In the original 1939 illustrations, Rudolph is seen crying early in the story near a tree after the reindeer make fun of his nose. A close up of Rudolph crying is also seen, complete with Rudolph's tears dropping between the text.
- Rudolph is seen crying in the 1948 cartoon by Max Fleischer after the other reindeer make fun of him. He is later seen crying himself to sleep on Christmas Eve before Santa stops by his home.
- The Pollyanna: Unlike other adaptations, Rudolph is very optimistic, easily excited, and cheerful in Rudolph's Lessons For Life.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Rudolph blushes after Clarice compliments him.
- Took a Level in Badass: Finally through with running from his problems, Rudolph finds his family and Clarice at the mercy of the Bumble and wastes no time fighting the creature off to save them. He proves horribly outmatched, but his bravery after months of fleeing from the creature cannot be understated.
- Took A Level In Cynicism: Downplayed in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys, where he becomes somewhat bitter about the fame his nose has brought him, thinking nobody would care about him if he didn't have it and even considers getting his nose removed via plastic surgery.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the DC Comics series, Rudolph briefly becomes very uppity with the other reindeer after learning that he's very famous from children outside the North Pole. He temporarily quits being a member of Santa's Reindeer, starts an argument with a reindeer and elf at Santa's toy shop, and gets narcissistic about his own red nose. However, Rudolph later realizes how much his arrogance has hurt his reputation with the citizens of the North Pole.
- True Companions: With Hermey and Yukon.
- Truth in Television: While real life reindeer obviously don't have lightbulbs for noses, their noses do store a lot of their bodies heat exceptionally well, which was likely the inspiration for Rudolph's nose.
- Vocal Evolution: Billie Mae Richards' voice for Rudolph subtly but noticably changes to sound less stuffy and pouty in the first two sequel specials to reflect Rudolph maturing as a person. Strangely, Rudolph's voice does not change as he grows into a stag in the original special.
- A Wizard Did It: Both the "Foggy night" and Rudolph's shiny nose are retconned into having supernatural origins in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July.
Rudolph's father and part of Santa's famous sleigh team.
- Abusive Parents: Donner's treatment of Rudolph due to his odd nose borders dangerously close to being emotionally abusive. Although considering the time when the creators were growing up and when the movie was released, it 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 in the sixties, whether it was fair or not, and could still be considered reasonably well-adjusted. With that said, he does owe up to what a jerk he was and he's the first person to set out in search of him.
- The Cameo: He gets cameo appearances in two other Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and The Year Without A Santa Claus.
- Demoted to Extra: While he appears in all three of the sequels to the Rankin-Bass special, they're only minor cameo roles.
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: While it was definetely selfish of him to force Rudolph to cover up his nose with mud, his fears that Rudolph would be ostricized by his brethren for it are immediately vindicated once the charade is blown during a practice game.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Donner deeply regrets how he treated Rudolph after his son runs away.
- Opinion Flip-Flop: So, Rudolph is now popular because they figured out a way for his red nose to be useful. His father chimes in, saying "I knew that nose would be useful someday." However, it bears noting that he made up with Rudolph before it was revealed his nose could be useful.
- Papa Wolf: Donner goes out to look after Rudolph when the big winter storm hits.
- 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 all get captured by the Abominable Snow Monster.
- Took a Level in Kindness: While Donner only had a brief speaking appearance in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July. He's a lot kinder and less aggressive toward Rudolph than in his previous appearance.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Donner and his son's relationship can be summed up this way.
- Demoted to Extra: Already having a modest role in the 1964 special, her only appearances in follow-ups are cameos via flashback in Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July, and she's completely absent from Rudolph & The Island Of Misfit Toys.
- Flat Character; Beyond being a kind and caring parent to Rudolph regardless of his nose, she doesn't have much of a personality going for her.
- Good Parents: In stark contrast to Donner's tough parenting, she's a loving mother who never once judges Rudolph for his nose, and its implied she didnt like going along with Donner's desire to cover it up. She even takes the initiative to try and find Rudolph herself after Donner sets out and tells her to stay put.
- No Name Given: Her first name isnt given even in supplemental materials.
The jolly old elf.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Santa in the Rankin-Bass special isn't quite as jolly as he is in the other takes on the Rudolph story, being rather dismissive of his elves and being downright rude towards Rudolph and Donner once the formers nose is revealed. However, he comes around humbled in the end after the winter storm forces him to seek Rudolph's help to save Christmas, and he is much nicer in the sequels.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: The 1998 movie and Rudolph's Lessons For Life makes Santa closer to how he's portrayed in the original Rudolph books by having him not shun Rudolph for his nose.
- Art Evolution: His design in the Rankin-Bass specials sequels are noticeably less cartoony than in the original 1964 special. This is presumably due to the shift in character designers (the first special had Antony Peters design the characters, while Paul Coker Jr. handled the designs for Shiny New Year and Christmas in July. However, The Island of Misfit Toys relapses him back to his 1964 design, but keeps the whites in his eyes.
- Bad Santa: His early behavior towards Rudolph and his unique feature qualifies. There's also the fact that he could have flat-out ordered a stop to the harassment Rudolph endured, but didn't bother.
- Big Eater: Surprisingly averted. Santa is surprisingly lean in the first Rankin-Bass special, with his small (but slightly pudgy) body being several times smaller than his noggin. Mrs. Claus even chastises him for not eating his dinner, saying "Nobody wants a skinny Santa!"
- Black Bead Eyes: He has these in the original special, loses them in the three follow-ups.
- Breakout Character: A few years later, he got to headline his own prequel specials Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (which outright confirms its set in the same world as the 1964 Rudolph special) and The Year Without a Santa Claus.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If Santa had bothered to invest in some fog lamps or headlights for his sleigh, he probably wouldn't have needed to seek out Rudolph's help in the first place due to the winter storm. This humorously gets acknowledged in The Island of Misfit Toys.
- Demoted to Extra: His role in Rudolph's Shiny New Year is smaller than in the 1964 special since he just serves as the narrator, and he only gets a cameo appearance via flashback in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, but The Island of Misfit Toys gives him a bigger supporting role once again.
- 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, but its not exactly clear if it was for covering up his nose or because his son has an uncontrollable, uncurable physical abnormality in the first place. However, he and everyone else 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.
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: While he definetely could've handled the situation better, he was absolutely in the right to chastise Donner for covering up Rudolph's nose.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After his jerkish behaviour throughout the 1964 special, karma bites him in the rear hard when a bad winter stormnote grounds his sleigh and forces him to seek out the aid of Rudolph and his nose to help him out.
- Narrator: In Rudolph's Lessons For Life, Santa is the main narrator and tells the story of Rudolph from his point of view.
- Santa Claus: You were expecting maybe the Addams Family?
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Considering what a pleasant person he is in Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and The Year Without A Santa Claus, he's much less nice in the 1964 special, although he relapses back into being nicer again in the Rudolph sequels.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Santa's harsh reaction when Rudolph's fake nose cap comes off leads Coach Comet and the others to shun Rudolph, embarrasses Rudolph and makes Donner feel ashamed of his son.
- The Workaholic: The apparently main reason why Santa is skinny for much of the time: he claims to be too busy with Christmas coming up.
Santa's wife who constatly keeps her husband in check.
- A Day in the Limelight: She's the main protagonist of the 1974 Special The Year Without a Santa Claus where she's relucant with Santa deciding to not have Christmas for one year. Throughtout the special, she watches over her husband who becomes sick and decides to leave the North Pole to check on people who starts to forget Santa. She even has her own song fantizing about taking her husband's job for a single year.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's leaves snarky and humorous comments around her husband. Notably telling him to eat and giving a humorous "Ho Ho Ho" at Santa before taking off on Christmas Eve.
- Flat Character: In the 1998 feature film, she has the least amount of depth. She is mostly seen attending ceremonies and showing support for her husband.
- You Don't Look Like You: She was given a newer design for the other Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials beginning with Santa Claus Is Comin To Town till Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July. The unofficial sequel In The Island Of Misfit Toys brings back her original design but given pupils alongside Santa.
The deuteragonist of the 1964 special. One of Santa's many elves who works year-round making toys, who harbored a desire to become a dentist instead.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Hermey's peculiar desire to become a dentist instead of a toy making elf gets him ostracized by his fellow elves and the Head Elf. Naturally, he and Rudolph instantly hit it off once they find common ground with each other.
- All There in the Manual: For years, there was a lot of confusion as to whether his name was Herbie or Hermie and how his name was spelled, but the original script shows his name to be spelled as Hermey.
- Chekhov's Skill: His profession as a dentist proves helpful on two occasions.
- His dentistry skills prove instrumental in saving the others from The Bumble in the climax, using pliers to rip out his teeth.
- In The Island of Misfit Toys, the dental floss he gives to Yukon proves instrumental in capturing the Toy Taker when its improvised as a binding rope.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He's completely absent from Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, but once again plays a supporting role in Rudolph And The Island Of Misfit Toys.
- Cool Car: In The Island of Misfit Toys, he owns a flying truck that allows both him and Rudolph to travel abroad.
- Cursed With Awesome: His dentistry talents (or at least his peculiar desire to do it at the expense of his job and tradition) makes him an outcast among the other elves, but he uses it to save his friends from the Abominable.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has a slightly wry sense of humor and it shows in some of his lines.
- Depraved Dentist: Hermey is a rare heroic example. In the climax, he rips out the Bumble's teeth with pliers. In The Island of Misfit Toys, he uses a ridiculously large drill to make a root canal for the Head Elf, but he insists it "won't hurt a bit."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rudolph. They're clearly best friends with each other.
- Non-Standard Character Design: To help sell the idea that he's a misfit, his appearance was deliberately designed to be distinct from the other elves, having blonde hair poking out, whites in his eyes, a small nose and round ears.
- Our Elves Are Different: In this case, Hermey harbors no desire to make toys and wants to become a dentist instead. He gets his wish in the end, and is running his own clinic in The Island of Misfit Toys.
A travelling prospector hoping to strike it rich by finding gold.
- Badass Normal: Amidst a North Pole filled with flying reindeer, elves, monsters, living toys, and freaking Santa Claus, Yukon is... a normal guy. Yet he can fight and back-off the Bumble when push comes to shove, and is usually the one carrying his sleigh with at least 6 if not 8 dogs on top of it - and one time including young Rudolph and Hermey while running from the Bumble.
- Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Yukon Cornelius is a big, strong, tough guy; and he's the only adult in the 1964 special (with the exception of Mrs. Donner and King Moonracer) who isn't mean to poor Rudolph. Not that he's exactly dumb, more just incredibly quirky, but it doesn't change the fact that the strong guy is the nice guy.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He's completely absent from Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, but returns in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys and plays an important role in defeating the Toy Taker.
- Disney Death: He seemingly falls to his death with the Bumble, but he shows up no worse for wear afterward.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Subverted: he seemingly falls to his death saving his friends from The Bumble, but it turns out "Bumbles bounce!"
- Heroic Sacrifice: He willingly and literally takes the fall to save his friends from the Bumble.
- Large Ham: Next to the Head Elf, he's probably the most bombastic character in the whole special.
- Nice Guy: Notably, he's pretty much the only adult who is nice to Rudolph in spite of his nose, and this is before its discovered his nose has benefits. Also, after failing to get his sled dogs to mush, he winds up just pulling the sled himself, with his dogs dozing on board.
- Sniff Sniff Nom: Occasionally tastes the end of his pickaxe after it's touched something, to see if he's struck gold. Not as insane as it sounds, since he's actually looking for peppermint.
Reindeer games coach and part of Santa's famous sleigh team.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Comet forbids Rudolph from playing reindeer games when his red nose is revealed.
- Adults Are Useless: He also doesn't put a stop to the yearling bucks calling Rudolph names.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Exploited. Comet encourages the other bucks when they bully Rudolph for his red nose.
- Demoted to Extra: Has a much smaller role in Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And The Island Of Misfit Toys, only appearing in a handful of scenes and with only a line or two.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Implied. He isn't pulling the sleigh on Christmas Eve, likely as punishment for the way he treated Rudolph.
- Damsel in Distress: When she goes off to find Rudolph, she unwittingly gets herself and Rudolph's family captured by The Bumble, forcing Rudolph and friends to rescue her.
- Expy: She's very clearly inspired by Faline, in that she's a doe who is a love interest to the lead character and has been friends with him since childhood.
- Flight: In The Island of Misfit Toys, she learns how to do this with the help of Rudolph.
- Forbidden Romance: She and Rudolph hit it off almost immediately after meeting and she tries to stick with him even after his nose is revealed, but her father intervenes and forbids her from staying with him. In The Island of Misfit Toys, they become a couple.
- Nice Girl: Even after Rudolph's nose is revealed, she remains loyal and kind to him.
- Official Couple: With her boyfriend Rudolph.
- Only Friend: Clarice is the only deer who does not laugh at Rudolphs nose.
- Out of Focus: Strangely, she's completely absent from Rudolph's Shiny New Year and only gets a cameo appearance (via a photo and flashback) in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July. She gets bumped back up to a supporting role in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys and helps with defeating the Toy Taker.
- Satellite Love Interest: Her role in the story is pretty much just to give Rudolph a love interest, although The Island of Misfit Toys does try to flesh out her character a bit more.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: She as a red bow and huge eyelashes to distinguish herself as a doe from the bucks.
- The Cameo: Despite later Rudolph specials having a different continuity than the original special. Clarice made two non-speaking cameo appearances in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July. She is seen during a flashback, and an autographed picture of Clarice can be seen in Rudolph's trailer outside the circus. Unlike Rudolph's parents, who made two more appearances in other Rankin/Bass specials, note Clarice was absent for 15 years between 1964 and 1979. note
- Token Good Teammate: She's the only reindeer who remains nice to Rudolph after his nose is revealed.
- Took a Level in Badass: In The Island Of Misfit Toys, she learns to fly and takes part in helping Rudolph and his friends stop the Toy Taker.
Santa's head elf and Hermey's boss.
- Aesop Amnesia: Suffers this in Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And The Island Of Misift Toys, where he chastises Heremy for leaving the toy factory to pursue his dreams to become a dentist, apparently furious for leaving his staff one elf short. Heremy warns him he'd better be nice, as he might need a dental checkup. Turns out, he ends up needing a pretty big root canal.
- Demoted to Extra: He's completely absent from Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, and in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys, he only plays a small cameo role.
- HeelFace Turn: Boss Elf finally realizes that Hermey's dentistry dream really does have potential after hearing how he pulled out 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. (Ironically, Boss Elf is the first one who needs an appointment.)
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: While he definetely could've been nicer about it, he is perfectly in his right to be annoyed at Hermey goofing off from toy making and choir practice by harboring what seems to be a completely impractical and bizarre desire to be a dentist.
- Kick the Dog: Him cruelly telling Hermie to his face that "You'll never fit in!"
- Large Ham: Even when he's not shouting, he speaks in a loud, boisterous and demanding voice.
- Larynx Dissonance: His voice strangely changes briefly at one point due to one of his lines being added in late by another uncredited actor.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After spending the special mocking and shunning Hermey for his desire to be a dentist, he's forced to seek out his aid in the end when he gets a rotten tooth. The Island of Misfit Toys even has Hermey give him a root canal via a ridiculously oversized drill.
- Mean Boss: He isn't remotely evil, but he is a tactless bully to Hermey and a strict hardass to the other elves. He comes around once Hermey returns a hero, although having a dental problem himself probably had a hand in him finally accepting Hermey's desire to become a dentist.
- No Indoor Voice: Almost all of his lines are loud and boistrous.
- No Name Given: He's just credited as "The Head Elf" in the original special and as "Elf Foreman" in The Island of Misfit Toys.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: The guy is practically the walking embodiment of this trope, though it's most evident when Santa is watching over the Elf Practice session.
The narrator of the 1964 Rankin-Bass special.
- Alliterative Name: Sam the Snowman.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Strangely, he's completely absent from all of the sequels, although Rudolph & The Island Of Misfit Toys gives him an Expy in the form of Scoop the Snowman. He didn't appear again in the series until the 2010 Nintendo Wii game and the 2016 short Rudolph 4D.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: His only raison d'etre besides telling the audience the story is to sing and perform on the banjo songs that are only tangentially related to the plot.
- Greek Chorus: He doesn't interact with the characters and just serves as the narrator for the 1964 special (though he does claim he was the one who pointed Heremy and Yukon in the right direction to find Rudolph).
- Ink-Suit Actor: The face of Sam the Snowman was intentionally designed to resemble singer-actor Burl Ives, who provided the voice for the character.
A group of toys inhabiting The Island of Misfit Toys that were abandoned or unwanted for being defective or just odd toys.
- Advertised Extra: While the island they hail from does indeed appear in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys and they do play a modest role in the third act, the actual island is only featured briefly for a few minutes in the film and they get far less screentime than the other characters.
- Informed Flaw: Despite being misfits, most of their flaws are minor at worst or informal.
- No Name Given: Charlie in a Box and Sue the Doll are the only toys given nanes in the 1964 special.
The ruler of The Island of Misfit Toys.
- Mix-and-Match Critter: He has the body of a lion but has bird like wings, not unlike a griffin.
- Not So Above It All: Despite being a wise and kingly figure, he's in such discomfort with a toothache that he practically passes out when Heremy pulls out a giant drill to give him a root canal. He even others "Mommy" just before he faints.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Compared to the other judgemental adults (sans Mrs. Donner and Yukon) that Rudolph meets in the special, Moonracer is downright nice in comparison, if stern and imposing. While he refuses to let Rudolph and friends live on The Island of Misfit Toys, he at least allows them to stay overnight in a cozy cottage to rest up in exchange for promising to tell Santa about the misfit toys so they can find homes. To say nothing of his generosity in giving a group of abandoned toys a place to call home in the first place.
- The Tooth Hurts: The poor guy gets this in the sequel, to the point the plot is kicked off when he specifically request Heremy to come help take care of the problem.
- Narrator: He is the narrator of Rudolph's Shiny New Year.
- The Faceless: His face is always covered by his visor.
Expy: Sev is clearly based off of Benjamin Franklin.
A whale who resides in the waters surrounding the Archipelago of Last Years. Rudolph first meets him in Rudolph's Shiny New Year, where he helps him save Happy from Aeon the Terrible.
- The Cameo: He plays a small but important role in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July, even helping save Frosty and his family in the end by bringing Jack Frost over to restore them after being melted.
- The Dreaded: A heroic example. Big Ben is the one thing Aeon fears aside from death itself.
- Gentle Giant: He's big enough to swallow Rudolph whole, but he has a pleasant, genial personality and more than willingly helps Rudolph in his quest.
- Meaningful Name: Being a whale, he easily dwarfs all of the other characters in size. His name being a reference to the famous clock tower is also apt due to him having a clock attached to his tailflukes.
The famous snowman. He, his family and Rudolph are shown to be friends in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July.
- Living Snowman: And like in his special, he's brought to life by his magic hat, but can't survivein warm weather without using an amulet Winterbolt gives him and his family.
The narrator of Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys
- ,Alliterative Name: Scoop the Snowman.
- Greek Chorus: Like Sam the Snowman, he pops up to comment or narrate the story.
- Punny Name: On "getting the scoop (news)" since he's a news reporter and scooping (shoveling) snow, since he's a snowman.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He's clearly meant to be a stand-in for Sam the Snowman from the 1964 special, as Burl Ives had died by this point, and Ocean Group presumably didn't have a good enough impersonator.
A giant monster that terrorized the wintery wastes of the North Pole and anyone unlucky enough to cross his path.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: He's a massive creature that absolutely towers over Rudolph and the other characters, and is (initially) evil.
- Berserk Button: Anything to do with Christmas, including a certain reindeer's shining red nose. Notably, he visibly becomes crazed upon Rudolph challenging him in his own lair and uses a stalagmite to hammer the poor buck into unconsciousness.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: He fits the archetypal depiction of a yeti, complete with white fur, but is much larger than usual.
- The Big Guy: Becomes this to the North Pole quite literally in Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And The Island Of Misift Toys, where he acts as the muscle for the group. Unfortunately for him, his size doesn't help in their plan to stop the Toy Taker when he proves to be too big for his blimp to carry off.
- The Bully: He liked to toy with his prey before devouring them, which turned out to be his downfall.
- Character Tics: Whenever enraged, his pupils dilate briefly before they shrink into a Kubrick Stare with his hair tuff standing on end. It is best seen when Rudolph makes himself known to the beast in the cave.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Inflicts this on Rudolph when he attempts to rescue Clarisse and his parents from the monster. Namely, he tears off a stalagmite and smashes it over the red-nosed buck's head, knocking him out cold.
- Defanged Horrors: Played for Laughs when Hermie removes all of his teeth. He gets a nice set of dentures to replace them in Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys.
- Demoted to Extra: He's completely absent from the other two Rankin-Bass Rudolph specials, but gets a bit player role in The Island of Misfit Toys.
- Disney Villain Death: Subverted: as while he seemingly falls to his death with Yukon, but it turns out "Bumbles bounce!"
- The Dreaded: The mere thought of him makes Sam the Snowman shiver in fear, and not without reason. Subverted later on once he becomes a good guy.
- Evil Laugh: Lets out a disturbingly cruel one after he clubs Rudolph with a stalagmite. It's honestly quite terrifying.
- Expressive Hair: Has a tuft of fur on his head that stands on end whenever he's pissed...namely whenever he catches sight of Rudolph.
- For the Evulz: He fell somewhere into this as he had no clearly defined motive for why Christmas-related things made him so angry. Thankfully, he reforms himself after losing his original teeth.
- HeelFace Turn: After he gets his teeth yanked out and falls off a cliff, Yukon manages to reform him into being a helpful monster.
- Kubrick Stare: Pulls this off pretty well for a limited animated puppet from the '60s. Notably, his pupils dilate and soon contract whenever he sees Rudolph, signifying just how much he despises Christmas.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Yukon unknowingly paid him back for conking Rudolph earlier by smashing him over the head with a frozen boulder. Hermey proceeded to remove his fangs and that was that.
- Living Crashpad: The reason he's able to survive a very high fall off a cliff with Yukon is that "Bumbles bounce!"
- Oh, Crap!: Realizes his teeth are missing too late to do anything about it. Has another one when Cornelious begins to back him towards the cliff just before they both go over.
- Sadist: When he was evil, he hungrily pursued Rudolph and Hermey across the snowdrifts just to be rid of Rudolph's red nose and cruelly dragged out his potential feeding on Clarisse and the Donner family despite them being precious little food for him. There's also that disturbing as all hell laugh he made after clubbing Rudolph over the head with a stalagmite.
- Smug Snake: During his villainous stage, while he does have the brute strength to back up his threats, his main weapons are his fangs that he uses to instill terror before his victims can properly react and flee. Once he loses his teeth, however, as Cornelious points out, his intimidation becomes significantly less.
- The Speechless: He only communicates in roars, grunts, and wheezes.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Spelled out by Clarisse when he has her and the entire Donner family totally at his mercy. Seems he enjoyed instilling terror in his prey before devouring them.
The villain of Rudolph's Shiny New Year, a giant millenium old vulture.
- Anti-Villain: While he's not a pleasant person, he has a perfectly understandable, if selfish, reason for trying to stop the New Year from coming—he's been alive for almost a thousand years, and is understandably terrified of death.
- Big Bad: Of Rudolph's Shiny New Year, where he tries to stop the new year from coming by kidnapping the infant Happy New Year so he won't turn into ice from old age.
- Feathered Fiend: A giant vulture who acts antagonistic towards Rudolph and friends, at least until the end.
- Giant Flyer: While nowhere as big as The Bumble, he's still a very large vulture that easily dwarfs Rudolph and his friends.
- HeelFace Turn: He turns good at the end when seeing Happy's giant ears makes him laugh so much that it permanently warms his heart, ensuring he won't pass away.
- Immortals Fear Death: Aeon's motivation. He's not technically immortal, but he's clearly lived several millennia, and as such, he's terrified of dying, and thinks he can stave off death by kidnapping the New Year. (And he succeeds, just not the way he figured.)
- Meaningful Name: Given he's lived for just about a millenium, Aeon is a rather fitting name for him.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Yes, kidnapping an infant and trying to avert the coming of the new year is a jerk move, but Aeon can only live for one aeon (hence his name) and if the new year comes, that deadline will finally be up and he'll be reduced to ice and snow. In short, Aeon isn't so much malicious as he is terrified of dying. Fortunately, Rudolph and Happy manage to avert that fate for him.
The villain of Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
- And I Must Scream: At the end of the special, Winterbolt transforms into a tree after Lilly destroys his scepter.
- Beard of Evil: Winterbolt has a long, white beard to emphasize his evil nature.
- Big Bad: He's the driving conflict in Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas In July.
- Bullying a Dragon: Winterbolt tries to freeze Lady Boreal with his staff at the beginning of the film, but she deflects it and puts him into a deep sleep for many years.
- Create Your Own Hero: Its revealed that his actions indirectly led to Rudolph getting his nose and thwarting the winter storm he conjured in the 1964 special.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Winterbolt has a powerful and deep voice befitting for a villain as a result of him being voiced by Paul Frees.
- Faux Affably Evil: Winterbolt shows himself before Rudolph, Frosty and co. posing as a friendly snow fairy godfather offering a way for the snow family to go to the United States without melting - long after he's been established as a terrible villain to viewers.
- Flight: He is capable of this due to his magical powers.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He's revealed to have been not only the cause of the winter storm in the 1964 special, but he was indirectly the reason Rudolph has his iconic nose in the first place.
- Hate Sink: Unlike the other Rudolph villains, who are either reformed (The Bumble), sympathetic Anti Villains (such as Aeon the Terrible and Mr. Cuddles) or just bullies, Winterbolt is completely devoid of any sympathetic qualities. He's a cruel, arrogant, remorseless and power-hungry sociopath who was perfectly willing to pull strings to destroy Rudolph's life and even "kill" Frosty and his family for the sake of his own agenda, even holding their lives hostage in order to blackmail Rudolph. When he meets his end at the hands of Lilly, he gets absolutely no sympathy from the audience.
- An Ice Person: Winterbolt can uses his scepter to freeze anything into ice.
- Just Think of the Potential: When Winterbolt learns of Frosty's magic hat, he decides to get it so he can use it to build an army of animate snowmen!
- Knight of Cerebus: Compared to villains of previous and later Rankin-Bass specials- Bumble the Abominable Snowman, Prof. Hinkle, Burgermeister Meisterburger, January Q. Irontail, the Miser Brothers, Queen Lily, Brutus, Aeon the Terrible, Kubla Kraus, Mag- Winterbolt stands out. He's got power, cunning, and the ruthlessness to use them! Every other villain was either a Large Ham, Laughably Evil, an Anti-Villain, or all three.
- Mr. Exposition: Winterbolt has a "Genie of the ice scepter", who acts more like a soothsayer and brings Winterbolt up to speed on elements of the Rankin-Bass universe we already know.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- Had Winterbolt not used his Snow Dragons to create that foggy storm on Christmas Eve, Rudolph would have never been chosen to guide Santa's sleigh and gained the respect of his peers.
- After Winterbolt succeeds at dousing Rudolph's nose and breaking his spirit, he cons Frosty out of his magic hat. In doing so, he gives Rudolph the impetus to stand up and fight against the villain redeeming himself and reigniting his nose.
- No Ontological Inertia: When Winterbolt is defeated, his magic is undone, resulting in all the snowmen temporarily melting.
- Sorcerous Overlord: Winterbolt ruled the North Pole long before Santa arrived, using his magic scepter to freeze anyone who stood in his way.
- Take Over the World: Upon learning about Frosty's magic hat, he plans to create an army of snowmen to take over the world. It wouldn't have worked, mind you, since, even if they were impervious to melting, they'd be no match for the combined armies of the NATO and Warsaw Pact (since a threat like Winterbolt would be necessitate an Enemy Mine between the Americans and Soviets).
- Transflormation: After his scepter is shattered, Winterbolt loses his powers and turns into a tree.
The villain of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And The Island Of Misfit Toys. He was a teddy bear who was (accidentally) abandoned by his former owner, which set him off on a quest to "rescue" other toys from meeting a similar fate to his.
- Alliterative Name: His non de plume villain name Toy Taker.
- Anti-Villain: While it was indeed wrong of him to kidnap toys from their owners and steal Santa's entire supply of gifts, he has a rather sympathetic, if misguided, motive for doing so.
- Big Bad: Of Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys, although it turns out he's not really evil, just misguided.
- Costumes Change Your Size: His Toy Taker disguise noticeably changes his size and appearance, when in reality he's even shorter than Hermey. This is justified in-universe, as he was walking on stilts the whole time.
- Evil Counterpart: To King Moonracer. Whereas Moonracer is a benevolent if stern ruler who seeks out abandoned or unwanted toys in order to give them a home until they find a new owner, Mr. Cuddles kidnaps any toy he can get his hands on, even those who still have owners, in hopes of ensuring they won't have to face being abandoned or thrown out by their owners or any potential owners in the future.
- Freudian Excuse: What started his quest was his owner gradually losing interest in playing with him, getting left in a box in a closet for years, and then getting thrown out by his owner and winding up in a landfill, which deeply hurt him and made him want to spare other toys of the same fate. However, It turns out that him getting thrown out was an accident.
- Fluffy the Terrible: His real name, apt for a teddy bear like him.
- "I Am" Song: His villain song "The Toy Taker".
- Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: It's not explained where or how he got the Magic Flute that lets him hypnotize other toys.
- Villain Has a Point: While he crosses the line by stealing toys from innocent kids and shanghaing Santa's entire stock of gifts, he's not wrong in his belief that toys can and are neglected and carelessly thrown out by owners without a thought, using his own experience of being thrown out as proof (although it turns out that the latter was an accident and that his owner had every intention of giving him to his daughter as a gift). Even Santa Claus at least concedes that he's correct that children eventually do outgrow their toys. While him discovering the truth does demonstrate to him that toys have hope even when their owners outgrow them, it only conditionally debunks his theory.
- Villain Song: "The Toy Taker", which he sings to the toys he kidnapped in an attempt to sway them over to his side.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His modus operendi for stealing peoples toys, including Santa's stock of Christmas gifts, was just to "save" toys from a seemingly inevitable fate of being abandoned or thrown out by their owners.