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Adlen Robinson: ‘Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ still popular today
Adlen Robinson

Christmas is only six days away! Do you know what the number one favorite Christmas movie/show of all time is? It is the 1964 classic, “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

I loved watching the show as a child. Back in my day it aired only once a year. Long before the days of videos, DVDs and the myriad of streaming abilities of today, if you missed the show, you had to wait an entire year before seeing it. My father always reminded us when Rudolf was set to air, and I don’t think I ever missed it. 

The show begins with Sam the snowman — the voice is that of Burl Ives and they cleverly made the snowman resemble Mr. Ives. Sam begins the show telling viewers the story of Rudolf — the beloved reindeer who guided Santa’s sled with his bright and shiny red nose. The popular song had been around long before the show came to be. In fact, “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written way back in 1939 and though it was always a hit, it gained true fame with Gene Autry’s 1947 recording. That version has always been my favorite. 

One reason I think Rudolf was, and still is, so popular is that all children can identify with not fitting in at times or just having insecurities about themselves. Rudolf’s red nose was different and because of that, all of the other reindeer made fun of him and didn’t want to play with him. All children know how it feels to not fit in — so it’s easy to see how the show draws viewers in from the beginning. 

Then there is Hermey the elf who doesn’t want to be an elf —instead, he longs to be a dentist. Rudolf and Hermey end up running away together and along the way encounter all sorts of adventures. Did you know the elf costumes in the 2003 movie “Elf” starring Will Ferrell were designed after the elf costumes in Rudolf? 

Yukon Cornelius the prospector along with his sled dogs accompanies Rudolf and Hermey for much of the adventure as they encounter the terrifying Abominable Snowman as well as the island of Misfit Toys. 

The music during the show is terrific. I find myself humming along to the tunes whenever I hear them. Years ago I bought a cute plastic set of all of the main characters in the show and they adorn my desk every Christmas season. 

Did you know that there are actually critics of “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” This year in particular, there have been several articles calling the Santa in the show a “bully” and a “jerk.” I am not sure if these critics realize the show is for entertainment and not meant to be some sort of parenting lesson. Some people just seem to want to find anything to take the fun out of everything. 

Do your children or grandchildren watch the classic throw back “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” If they haven’t seen it or haven’t watched it in awhile, why not pop some popcorn and have a family movie night? What are your childhood memories involving Rudolf? I always love hearing from you.


South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at adlen@adlenshomematters.com.