Our favorite reindeer Rudolph is quite literally as synonymous with the Christmas holidays as Santa himself but where did he come from?
And has he actually been around as long as Mr. Claus?
No is the answer, here we’re going to look at 10 glowing facts about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer from cameos to scientific reasoning behind his mythical features.
Rudolph, the star of the reindeer, first made an appearance in 1939 in a book written by Robert L May. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was published by Montgomery Ward and has since been adapted into numerous versions including a feature film that has become an annual tradition for many families around the world.
2014 saw the 75th anniversary of the much loved Christmas character and the 50th TV anniversary of Rudolph, the commemorate this Christmas legend, the US Postal Service issued a range of Red-Nosed stamps on November 6, 2014, featuring images of all the well-known Christmas characters from the TV special including Bumble, Santa and Rudolph himself.
Even extra-terrestrial beings know about Rudolph, the Sultaran nurse from Doctor Who’s Songtaran Carols episode remarks that “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. It proved to be a tactical disadvantage because it enabled me to punch him in the dark”.
Gene Autry first recorded the well-known Rudolph hit in 1949; the song sold over 2 million copies that year and is 2nd in the best-selling Christmas songs ever, after “White Christmas”.
When Robert May created his much-loved Christmas reindeer, he was very indecisive when it came to a name. He liked Rollo but this was too happy for his reindeer and Reginald seemed simply too British!
Rudolph was very close to never having his signature red-nose after May contemplated whether a drunkard-style red nose was suitable for the popular Christmas children’s story.
According to Norwegian scientists, Rudolph’s red nose is more than likely the result of a parasitic infection of the respiratory system. Reindeer, regardless of their freezing home, are rife with infections and worms. All together now “had a very infectious nose, and if you ever saw him….”
Rudolph has even made appearances, like other major celebrities, in video games. In Guild Wars Nightfall, the player is teamed with Rudy, a reindeer whose nose glows red when a player closes in on the presents needed for a Christmas quest.
Rudolph’s most well-known recording is probably the Rankin-Bass stop-motion animation created in 1964. This stop-motion TV special was first shown on NBC, it was recorded in full in Japan apart from the soundtrack and voices which came from Canada.
Rudolph was possibly Rudolphina. The reindeers that pull Santa’s sleigh are always shown with antlers, this means they either have to be very young males constantly swapped-out or, in the case of our very distinctive and individual Rudolph, it would have to be female reindeers that don’t shed their antlers at Christmas time.
So there we have it, 10 rather mind-bending facts to ever-improve the Christmas spirit.
Whether Rudolph was a female, infectious reindeer with a drunkard’s nose or not, he’s still a vital part of the holidays.
And every man, woman, and child can’t help but hum the song at the very least at the mere mention of his name (myself included).
One thing’s for sure, the legend of Rudolph is going nowhere fast!