12 Shiny Facts About Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

CBS
CBS

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, and by now you certainly know Rudolph as well. But Rudolph wasn't always the star of the show—he didn't even exist until 1939, while the rest of Santa's coursers have been around since Clement Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, which was written in 1823. Here are 12 other facts you might not know about the world's most famous reindeer.

1. RUDOLPH WAS CREATED FOR MONTGOMERY WARD.

In 1939, execs for the Montgomery Ward department store decided they needed a character for the freebie coloring books they were handing out to kids who visited Santa. That character ended up being Rudolph, who was an immediate hit with the kiddies. Montgomery Ward gave out 2.4 million copies of the Rudolph booklet in the first year alone.

2. THE WRITER WHO INVENTED THE CHARACTER WAS GOING THROUGH A DIFFICULT TIME.

Robert May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward’s mail order catalog division, was the employee tasked with writing a story and creating a marketable character for the coloring book. May started the process in early 1939, but that summer, his wife died from cancer, leaving him a widower with a 4-year-old daughter. Though his boss tried to reassign the project, May insisted on finishing it himself. “I needed Rudolph more than ever,” he later admitted. He completed the story in August. Though Montgomery Ward could have kept the copyright for themselves, they handed it over to a financially struggling May in 1947.

3. HE COULD HAVE BEEN ROLLO OR REGINALD INSTEAD OF RUDOLPH.

Other names were considered before May settled on the name we know today. Rollo was rejected for sounding too sunny and happy; Reginald sounded too British. Romeo and Rodney were also in the running.

4. MAY’S ORIGINAL STORY IS A BIT DIFFERENT THAN THE SONG.

In the story May told in that original coloring book, Santa finds Rudolph while delivering presents to the reindeer village. In the story, Santa often had problems delivering gifts because no one remembered to leave lights on for him—and in Rudolph’s dark house, Santa “tripped on the rug, and fell flat on his back.” When he discovers Rudolph and his glowing nose, a lightbulb of his own goes off, and he invites Rudolph to help him with the rest of his drop-offs. Dutiful Rudy leaves his parents a note, then helps save the day.

5. RUDOLPH ALMOST USED A DIFFERENT METHOD TO GUIDE SANTA’S SLEIGH.

Instead of having a red, glowing nose that cut through the fog, May considered giving Rudolph large, headlight-like eyes that would light the way. After much consideration, he decided mean kids would be more likely to make fun of a red nose than huge eyes.

6. FINLANDERS KNOW RUDOLPH AS PETTERI PUNAKUONO.

Petteri is Rudy's Finnish counterpart. The Finnish legend of Santa Claus (a.k.a. Joulupukki) doesn't name his reindeer the same way we do—Dasher, Dancer, Donner, and so on—so the beginning of the song doesn't start out the same way. Instead of running through the laundry list of reindeer, the Finnish version translates to something like, "You remember Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and the Grey Wolf, but this reindeer is often forgotten."

7. HE HAS A SON NAMED ROBBIE.

At least he does according to the BBC. They developed three cartoons based on Rudolph's offspring, but the name of Robbie's famous dad is never actually mentioned. The plot line tells us that the villain of the series, Blitzen, can't stand to hear Rudolph's name. In reality, it's because the BBC couldn't get permission to use it (or didn't want to pay to use it).

If you haven't seen the British version but still remember Robbie, that's because Fox Family ran the show for a few years in the early 2000s with redubbed voices, including Ben Stiller as Robbie, Hugh Grant as Blitzen, Britney Spears as Donner, and Brad Garrett as Prancer.

8. THE RUDOLPH SONG WAS RECORDED A DECADE AFTER THE CHARACTER WAS INVENTED.

It was May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, who wrote the lyrics for the famous song; Gene Autry recorded it. Autry nearly passed on the tune, but his wife urged him to give it a shot. Since Autry recorded it, the tune has sold more than 150 million copies.

9. SONGWRITER JOHNNY MARKS SPECIALIZED IN CHRISTMAS SONGS.

We have him to thank for Rudolph, obviously, but also "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Silver and Gold," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (in addition to a bunch of lesser-known Christmas songs). The irony? Marks was Jewish.

10. RANKIN/BASS WASN’T THE FIRST TO FEATURE RUDOLPH ONSCREEN.

Though the 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion TV special is the longest-running holiday special ever, it wasn't the first to bring Rudolph to the screen. That honor goes to Fleischer Studios, which copyrighted a cartoon in 1948 as more advertising for Montgomery Ward.

11. THE PUPPETS USED IN THE RANKIN/BASS SHOW WERE REDISCOVERED IN 2006.

When they resurfaced, they did so on Antiques Roadshow in 2006. Well, not all of them—just Santa and Rudolph. A woman who worked for Rankin/Bass had stored them in her attic since at least the 1970s. Prior to that, she let her kids play with them. Rudolph lost his red nose, and let’s not even talk about how Santa lost his eyebrows. The puppets were fully restored after their trip to Antiques Roadshow and have since been displayed at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

12. THE SONG IS STILL COPYRIGHTED.

Along with "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls," and "Silent Night," “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a Christmas staple. Unlike those other three songs, however, “Rudolph” is still copyrighted and his image is trademarked. The makers of Rudolph’s Reserve ale found this out the hard way in 2003. They later changed the name to “Rude Elf’s Reserve.”

Tom Hiddleston Says Disney+ Loki Series Is a 'New Departure' From the MCU Films

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Disney/Marvel

Since first appearing in 2011's Thor, Tom Hiddleston's Loki has won the hearts of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. Despite originally being a villain, Thor's brother has warmed up over time and become one of the MCU's most beloved characters. Which is why fans have been desperate to hear any shred of information about the God of Mischief’s upcoming live-action series on Disney+.

Hiddleston had yet to comment on his role in the series—until now. "All I can tell you is that it is called Loki. It is a new departure ... but I can't explain why," the 38-year-old English actor told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.

Digital Spy reports that the show will follow the trickster as he weaves his way through a number of real-life historical events, doing what he does best: influencing the outcome. Though Hiddleston is keeping pretty tight-lipped about the project, he didn’t hold back when it came to expressing his gratitude for being part of the franchise—or for Loki himself—while speaking with THR:

“It is a constant source of surprise and delight that these films have connected with people. I knew [Loki] was a complex figure. Intelligent yet vulnerable. Angry and lost and broken and witty … I thought it was an amazing opportunity and it's grown into this network of movies. I could never have expected it. I feel very fortunate that this character has connected with people.”

Disney+ launches on November 12, 2019. While Loki does not have an official release date yet, we can only hope it premieres soon after.

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

New The Walking Dead Series Is Casting Extras in Richmond, Virginia

Frank Ockenfels 3, AMC
Frank Ockenfels 3, AMC

Watch enough episodes of The Walking Dead on AMC and you may start to wonder how you would fare in a zombie apocalypse. If you live in the Richmond, Virginia area, you now have an opportunity to act out those fantasies in real life. As WTKR reports, Kendall Cooper Casting is seeking extras to appear in a new spin-off series of The Walking Dead.

The yet-to-be-titled series set in The Walking Dead universe will be the show's second spin-off following Fear the Walking Dead, which is currently in its fifth season. Filming begins in Richmond and the surrounding area in July 2019 and will continue though November.

Ahead of filming, the show is seeking background actors. The casting call posted on Kendall Cooper Casting's Facebook page states that the production is looking for "people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, and types to play various characters throughout the series." Actors with experience in movement and dance are preferred. The job description doesn't specify whether actors will be playing people fleeing from the undead, the zombies themselves, or some other type of character on the show (though that note about experience in movement might hint at the need for some extra walkers).

SAG-AFTRA members as well as non-union actors are encouraged to submit their information, but only SAG-AFTRA actors are invited to the open casting call that's being held on Saturday, June 29. Union members can email OpenCallDetails@gmail.com for more information. Regardless of your union status, you can send an email with your contact information, measurements, experience, and schedule flexibility along with three current photos to RVAextras@KendallCooperCasting.com.

For many shows, background acting isn't complicated work, but being an extra on The Walking Dead requires some training. Actors have to attend "zombie seminars" where they must perfect the walk of the undead before graduating to the makeup chair.

[h/t WTKR]

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