“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is a common Christmas song that has been used in numerous movies and shows created for the Christmas season. However, the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was originally a short booklet and since being written it has been adapted and recreated into a song, a comic book, a children’s book, an animated television series and a number of feature films. Rudolph is recognized as the reindeer with the luminous red nose that leads Santa’s sleigh. He is well loved by children and adults alike. So who wrote “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”? Read on to find out.
Who wrote “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”?
Before becoming the well known song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was a booklet. It was written in 1939 by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward. It told the story of a young reindeer who could not find acceptance with his reindeer peers. This was due to his bright, luminous red nose. Rudolph was constantly picked on and left out of activities by the other reindeer until on fateful Christmas night when he was picked by Santa to guide the sleigh. When he agrees to the task he gains acceptance and recognition amongst his reindeer peers. May wrote the booklet as an assignment for the retail enterprise Montgomery Ward who frequently gave out coloring books during the Christmas season. Creating their own book was a cost cutting exercise and 2.5 million copies of Rudolph were distributed that first year.
The story of Rudolph was adapted into a song by Robert May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks. The song was first aired on the radio in 1949 by Harry Brannon. It then achieved instant fame when released by Gene Autry during the Christmas of 1949. This version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer remained the best-selling record of all time until the 1980’s. Since then it has been re-recorded by many popular artists and groups including Bing Crosby, Billy May, The Cadillac’s, Dean Martin, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Dolly Parton, Allan Jackson, The Wiggles, Babyface, Jewel, Destiny’s Child and Barry Manilow.
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” first appeared on television in 1964 on NBC in the United States. It was stop-motion animation produced by Rankin/Bass. The animated series was based on the song by Johnny Marks and introduced viewers to a host of new characters and plots. The animation has been telecast since 1964 in the United States making it the longest running Christmas TV special in history.
The animated feature film starring Rudolph was produce in 1998 and titled “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie”. It was produced by GoodTimes Entertainment. It has a very similar story line to the animated TV special and focuses on the back story of Rudolph rather than the story of him leading the sleigh. A sequel was produced in 2001 titled “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys”.