Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would surly say it glows. More than likely as you've read the preceding sentence you sang the words more than read it. More than likely you are still singing the rest of the song by memory. This popular story based on an oddball Reindeer, ridiculed and teased by fellow reindeer only to rise above the rest in the end, is securely embedded in popular culture thanks in part to a gimmick. A gimmick you say' Say it isn't so.
Back in 1939, Montgomery Ward needed a new gimmick to give away to children. For years they have been buying and purchasing coloring books for Santa to give away and they wanted to save money by creating a story and coloring book in-house. So they turned to one of their own copywriters a 34 year old man named Robert L. May who had a gift for writing children's books and limericks. And thus Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was born.
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer however wasn't immediately warmly received by May's bosses as it is now by the masses. But with persistence and patience, Montgomery Wards relented printing and distributing 2.4 million copies that year. By 1946 more than 6 million copies of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer had been given away by Montgomery Wards and the demand for the Reindeer with a shiny red nose grew. In 1949, songwriter Johnny Marks put the famous story to lyrics and song and recorded by Gene Audry, which too is resisted by publishers at that time who were afraid to meddle with Santa Claus' story. Amazingly, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as a song went on to sell over 2 million copies that year. But that's not the end of the story folks, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with its phenomenal success and demand was made into a motion stop animation TV special in 1964 and has aired every year since making it one of the longest rerun shows in history solidifying Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as a pop icon hero.
As the story goes, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was born with a peculiar red nose that seemed to glow. Because of this glowing difference, he was ridiculed and teased by fellow reindeer until one night, on a foggy Christmas Eve, Santa worried that his gifts won't get delivered on time discovers Rudolph asking him to guide his sleigh. The reindeer who were disappointed that they would not be able to fly the sleigh suddenly were overjoyed to know their night would be saved making Rudolph a hero. But the story that is depicted today is quite different than the story Robert May's penned back in 1939. Rudolph was not born or lived in the North Pole. He was a common reindeer in some normal village. Rudolph was also discovered when Santa was delivering him gifts and asked him to help so he could deliver the rest of the gifts. But even with the small differences from the original, the premise of the story stays true.
So perhaps it maybe hard to believe that this beloved tale is a twentieth century creation, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, surly has gone down in history.