The enduring magic of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the beloved Christmas special that airs tonight on CBS, has, for 50 years, been one of the most anticipated holiday TV broadcast events — even in this day of DVR and Hulu. But little do many of us know, the hour-long, stop-motion animated musical film that would go on to become the highest-rated and longest-running television special, was originally made as a promotion for General Electric, a one-off Christmas special like the many that were airing in 1960s at the time. We’ve grown up with its characters Hermey the Elf and Sam the Snowman, and its soundtrack (e.g., Burl Ives’s “Silver and Gold” and “Holly Jolly Christmas”) thanks to its annual airings. This December marks another month where once again you can’t turn on the radio without hearing a song from its soundtrack, or walk into a store without seeing a product inspired by the show. How did this crudely animated special made for kids five decades ago become such an enduring — even thriving — part of our pop cultural landscape?Continue Reading…

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The enduring magic of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

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