December 18, 2002

Reindeer FOTS

Who is this reindeer named Rudolf ...who guides Santa's sleigh with the biological aberration of a red, glowing nose capable of penetrating thick fog?

The whole story of Rudolf appeared, out of nowhere, in 1939. Santas at Montgomery Ward stores gave away 2.4 million copies of a booklet entitled "Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer." The story was written by a person in the advertising department named Robert May, and the booklet was illustrated by Denver Gillen. The original name of the reindeer was not Rudolf, according to the book "Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things," by Charles Panati. The original name was Rollo, but executives did not like that name, nor Reginald. The name Rudolf came from the author's young daughter! In 1949, Gene Autry sang a musical version of the poem and it was a run-away best-seller. The Rudolf song is second only to "White Christmas" in popularity.

Ah, dear old Monkey Ward. There's some possible irony there, too; I wonder if young Mr. May was related to David May, who started the May Co. department stores in Colorado in the late 19th century?

Posted by Linkmeister at December 18, 2002 03:48 PM