If you ask anyone to list their favorite holiday movies, it’s a guarantee that Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is near the top of the list. Many people even consider it to be the greatest Christmas special of all time. It’s at 92% on rotten tomatoes, 8.2 of 10 on imdb, 9.6 out of 10 on TV.com… the list goes on and on. It has brought happiness into the homes of millions of people over the span of decades and it’s a signal of the most wonderful time of the year.
A Brief History Of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
The universally loved stop-motion animated television special was created 53 years ago in 1964 and it originally aired on NBC. It was based on the song written in 1949 by Johnny L. Marks. The song was based on a poem written Robert L. May in 1939. In 1972 Rudolph began showing on CBS and that’s the only channel it can be seen on today. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in history. In the past it only aired once a year but now, due to demand, it airs many times throughout the holiday season.
Rudolph was an unexpected and unprecedented hit! It boosted the career of the narrator, Burl Ives, a.k.a. Sam the Snowman. He sang on several iconic chart topping Christmas hits, most notably “Silver and Gold” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.”
A Quick Breakdown
Rudolph is born with a shiny red-nose that his parents hide throughout his childhood years out of fear that Rudolph won’t make Santa’s Sleigh Team. When Rudolph is a little older he’s entered into the reindeer games and meets a doe named Clarice. He’s so smitten by her that he flies higher and faster than the other fawns. However, in the process of celebration his nose cover falls off revealing his glowing, red, secret. After that he was immediately rejected by the other reindeer and kicked out of the reindeer games.
He meets Hermey the elf and they decide to run away since Hermey is also an outcast, being an elf who wants to be a dentist. The pair meets and befriends prospector named Yukon Cornelius and continue on their way, all while trying to avoid Abominable Snow Monster of the North.
After escaping the Abominable Snow Monster on an iceberg, the trio ends up on the Island Of Misfit Toys, ruled by a winged lion named King Moonracer. King Moonracer allows the three runaways to stay on the island under the condition that they return to Santa and ask him to find homes for misfit toys. Rudolph leaves in the night because he doesn’t want to attract the monster to the island with his nose.
Time goes by and Rudolph grows into adulthood. Returning home, he finds that his parents and Clarice have been looking for him for months. He goes out to find his parents and Clarice only to discover that they have been taken by the Abominable Snow Monster. Rudolph tries to save Clarice, but the monster stuns him with a blow to the head.
Hermey and Yukon return to Christmastown and go to save Rudolph. Hermey lures the monster out of his cave and Yukon drops rocks on his head to knock him out. He then utilizes his dental skills and pulls out all the monster’s teeth! Yukon then drives the defenseless monster back, sacrificing himself in the process.
After surviving this ordeal, Rudolph, Hermey, Clarice, and the Donners return home where they are met with apologies from everyone. Santa welcomes the group back to Christmastown and promises that he’ll find homes for the Misfit Toys. Hermey opens his own dentist’s office, and Donner apologizes for being so hard on Rudolph. In an unexpected turn of events Yukon returns with the Abominable Snow Monster who is now a friendly tree decorator.
Christmas Eve comes and Santa fears that he’ll have to cancel Christmas because of a severe winter storm. Santa notices Rudolph’s glowing nose and realizes that its light could shine through the storm. He invites Rudolph to guide the sleigh and the team flies off making a stop at Island Of Misfit Toys to give homes to the unwanted. Finally, the team flies off into the night with Rudolph leading the way and Santa wishing eveyone a merry Christmas.
Themes Of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is a very special movie to a lot of people. Not only because of it’s association with the holidays or the nostalgia that it evokes, but because of the overarching theme of the movie. Rudolph was born as an outcast who struggled to be accepted. Rudolph starts the movie as misfit and ends up saving Christmas using the very thing that made him an outcast which is his glowing red nose. It teaches the lesson that it’s ok to be different. It’s a good message for kids and it was ahead of it’s time in the year 1964.
It included unique humor and very memorable characters, such as Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist, and Yukon Cornelius, a prospector who just can’t seem to find any gold. To this day the Island of Misfit Toys remains in the zeitgeist — populated by a water pistol that shoots jelly, a bird that swims, and a cowboy who rides an ostrich.
How To Watch
Even cord-cutters enjoy sentimental holiday movie classics. Here’s some information on how you can watch Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer online.
You stream CBS Live online with the following services.
Now that you know your options, get started. It airs tonight on CBS at 8pm ET. Don’t miss out.
Merry Christmas! And Happy Holidays!