May you and your family have a joyous holiday season, where ever you may be this Christmas. It’s the season when we reach out to others, give generously to the community and appreciate everything life has to offer. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage. We’re grateful to everyone involved in our company for giving their best and contributing to this great community we call Edmonton.
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The Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
It’s a story, it’s a song, and it’s a Christmas legend. Rudolph was popularized in a story originally called “Santa’s Ninth Reindeer”. Clement Moore, author of the iconic “Twas the Night before Christmas” created the pop culture myth of Santa’s eight reindeer in 1823. By 1939, Rudolph made his appearance in a story of a young reindeer, barely old enough to have antlers, who has a red nose so bright that it can illuminate Santa’s path through a blizzard, thus saving Christmas for all the children of the earth.
Rudolph could have been a moose
The story appeared in a booklet by Robert L. May, published by retailer Montgomery Ward in 1939. May was commissioned to create a children’s colouring book which Montgomery Ward gave away every year. The idea was to make the character a moose, but a reindeer seemed so much friendlier. Rollo or Reginald was May’s first character name idea but Rudolph was in the final draft. The story was rejected at first, as a red nose was culturally identified with drunkards. However, the Rudolph character was so cute and bouncy that management eventually accepted his rosy proboscis and the rest is history.
That first year, Montgomery Ward (which closed its doors in 2000) gave away 2.5 million copies of the story.
Rudolph as a cartoon character first appeared in 1948 in a theatrical short, initially without the song as it wasn’t recorded until a year later. That infamous song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949, when Johnny Marks adapted the story into musical prose. Marks just happened to be the brother-in-law of May. The song went on to sell 25 million copies, and was the second best-selling record ever until the 1980s.
The stop-motion animated television program was filmed in Japan but the sound was recorded in Toronto in 1964. It is based on the original story, but certainly embellished as it depicts Rudolph ridiculed to the point that he runs away from home. It profiles an elf who wants to be a dentist and introduces characters such as Yukon Cornelius, Clarice and Sam the Snowman who was voiced by Burl Ives.
Who doesn't now the lyrics to the song after all these years? The story is now under the ownership of The Rudolph Company, LP and now under public domain as is popularly and erroneously thought. The story has taken on a variety of forms, including a song, a TV special and films. The licensing is handled by Character Arts, LLC. Rudolph turned 75 last year and the beloved animated television special shown every year since 1964 turned 50. The United States Postal Service even issued a commemorative stamp honouring everyone's favourite Christmas reindeer.