Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Special: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Sam the snowman tells us the story of a young red-nosed misfit reindeer who, after being ousted from the reindeer games because of his beaming honker, teams up with Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist (a busy profession for someone who lives with elves), and Yukon Cornelius, the prospector (which gave me Toy Story 3 flashbacks). They run into the Abominable Snowman and find a whole island of misfit toys. Rudolph vows to see if he can get Santa to help the toys, and he goes back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. But Santa's sleigh is fogged in. He looks over at Rudolph and gets a very bright idea...

My Thoughts
Since when is Rudolph Donner's son? Haha. I know that this movie came out quite a few years ago, but I don't think I've ever seen I guess he's been Donner's son for a while and I'm just behind the times. But I've never heard that one before. Is he gonna end up like Persius? He's Zeus' son, no he's Poseidon's son. Rudolph is Donner's son, no he's Dasher's son! We need another origin story! :-)

In my opinion, Hermey seems similar to Buddy the Elf...An elf misfit who doesn't fit in with the elves that he lives with. He's not 4 feet taller than all the other elves, but he still doesn't even look like the rest of the elves, and he leaves Santa and the elves to find where he fits in the world. I guess he and Rudolph will probably join forces at one point or another. Team of misfits. :-)

I think if I had grown up watching this movie, I would have found it a little more enjoyable. I think it's a movie that should be introduced to people as children, not necessarily as 24-year-olds. It's a great Christmas treat, I think, but the animation or level of corniness may be a little beyond me at this point. It might just be the build-up of corn from all the other Christmas movies, but it's just starting to get to me...

It's so disappointing to see the people in charge of Christmas be so mean and discouraging to a little kid (deer...). Even Santa! So sad. Only one person accepts him for him, and it's a little doe that likes him. And they even take her away!

I thought at least Santa would be more accepting! The other deer are horrible, Santa's dismissive and horrible, and even his own father hates it and makes him cover it up with a fake nose!

Then he meets Hermey and the misfits unite! Is the abominable snowman just another misfit like them?? Or is he really just a monster looking for some scrumptious deer and elves to gobble up?

Yukon Cornelius...interesting character. He licks his ice pick to see if there's gold...wouldn't his tongue get stuck to it? And those dogs really have him trained :-) One question: What exactly is the poodle supposed to do? I think Corny fits into the misfit group pretty well...

Why are there always jack-in-the-boxes?!? I hate them! They creep me out...Are there really kids out there who put jack-in-the-box on their Christmas lists? Charlie-in-the-box? Maybe one of those would be okay...I hope the real Santa would be a little nicer to misfit toys. Fix them? Instead of just tossing them on an island all together? Oh, well I guess Santa didn't know about them...but what did he think happened to the misfit toys?? I may be over-estimating this Santa, too...He might just throw them out like he dismissed Rudolph...

I never realized how much Elf stole from this movie! The elf uniforms, the North Pole creatures, the traveling to and from the North Pole on chips of ice, the jack-in-the-boxes, the misfit elf...I mean, it's not a huge deal and I'm positive they did it on purpose with permission and all that, I just never would have noticed if I hadn't watched the two movies so close together.

I feel bad for the abominable snowman :-\ Everyone hates him, and he's just hungry! And the dentist elf took all his teeth out and pushed him off a cliff! That's just rude...

Oh well, as long as the misfits are now accepted. All is forgiven and the misfits are an integral part of the community now (even the abominable snowman). And Rudolph saves the day! Random: why is the sleigh pink and purple??

Random Facts
During the original network TV airing, commercials for General Electric featured Santa's elves from the show.

Although Yukon Cornelius says he needs "gunpowder" and he has a revolver tucked in his belt, the politically correct toys released in 1999 in America have a knife instead of a revolver.

Hermey is the only elf without pointed ears. He's also the only male elf with hair on top of his head.

Why is Dolly for Sue, who is apparently a perfectly ordinary doll, living on the Island of Misfit Toys? This gripping debate raged on for decades, until official word from Rankin-Bass recently decided the issue: Dolly for Sue is a "misfit" because she has psychological problems - she feels unloved.

Billie Mae Richards (Rudolph) also provided the voice for Smoothie Bear in a series of animated commercials for Kraft Peanut Butter.

Although the animations were filmed in Japan, the entire soundtrack for Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer was recorded in a studio near Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario; most of the singing and speaking cast were Canadian.

The song "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was a seasonal standard long before it was used in the film.

Yukon Cornelius' stalwart sled dogs include a Cocker Spaniel, a Poodle, a Saint Bernard, a Collie, and a Dachshund.

At the conclusion of "Holly Jolly Christmas", Hermey the elf can be seen dancing and flirting with an equally attentive girl elf, suggesting a budding romance (sequel??). Also seen in "Holly Jolly Christmas", as Rudolph tests his nose pre-flight by firing it up to full power, the elf standing closest to him is wearing protective sunglasses.

Although the Rudolph the puppet - which still exists - appears to be about three feet tall when viewed on screen, it's only an illusion. In reality, "Rudolph" is palm-sized, about the same size a small kitten. 

The face of Sam the Snowman was intentionally designed to resemble singer-actor Burl Ives, who provided the voice for the character.

According to brother Ken Muller, Romeo Muller actually intended the elf to be named "Herbie", after a childhood friend. Rudolph's sweetheart was named "Clarice" in honor of the bride-to-be of another close friend.

Billie Mae Richards (Rudolph) and Paul Soles (Hermey) lived in the same Ontario retirement community during the years before Richards' death.

When Yukon Cornelius throws his pick axe into the ground and takes it out and licks it, he's checking neither for gold nor silver. The original concept for the special stated that Yukon was in fact searching for the elusive peppermint mine, which he found eventually (spin-off??).

When the film was first released, the technology of using an articulated metal armature inside the figures was considered so amazing that TV guide devoted four pages to the story. They failed to mention that the "new" technology had been pioneered years before, most prominently inside the gorilla King Kong.

In the original TV version of the show, Rudolph, Hermey the elf, and Yukon Cornelius visit the Island of Misfit Toys and promise to help them, but the Misfits are never mentioned again. After it was shown, the producers were inundated with letters from children complaining that nothing had been done to help the Misfit Toys. In response, Rankin-Bass produced a new short scene at the end of the show in which Santa and his reindeer, led by Rudolph, land on the Island and pick up all the toys to find homes for them, which has ever since been the standard version of the show run during the holidays.

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