Posted by: thescoundrel | December 4, 2007

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I was reading an article over on QCOnline talking about the restoration of a part of TV legacy. It seems that the original puppets from the classic Christmas television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” were found and have been restored for public display in a nationwide tour of major cities. There were several Christmas shows that became a part of my childhood holiday viewing ritual, and the Christmas adventure of Rudolph was one of those. I still like the show as an adult and have been caught once or twice during the holiday season walking and singing songs from the show. It is good to hear that these pieces of culture have been rescued from becoming more abandoned misfit toys in search of a home.

Despite Rudolph’s immense popularity and the continued growth from the original characters’ story, I still run into many who have never heard about its beginning. It is one of those unknown by most, yet readily available pieces of fable lore. Rudolph is actually an interesting display of how a marketing idea can outgrow and even survive the demise of the inventor company. It is doubtful that company management or Robert May who created the character as a Christmas advertising device, for the Montgomery Wards Corporation in 1939, could have fathomed how the character could build to such mythic proportions that it would become a major player in the Santa Claus legends. It has not only outlived its creator and the company that he worked for, it has grown into a manufacturer of both art and industry since its creation. It is a cultural phenomenon that is a tribute to the power of advertising.



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