Backstory — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a classic underdog story, but maybe not the way you think. In this episode, we discuss the unlikely journey of Robert L. May from workaday copywriter to creator of an icon.
Rudolph began his life as the subject of a story told in rhyming verse, that was given away to shoppers at the Montgomery Ward department stores. Millions of books were handed out over several seasons at all of Montgomery Ward’s stores.
Robert May eventually owned the rights to the character and his brother in law, a prominent songwriter, wrote the familiar song. The story and song would later be adapted into a full length television special that introduced characters and plotting not included in May’s original.
- NPR story about Rudolph that shows the complete original manuscript
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
- The U.S. Postal Service‘s page about Rudolph postage stamps
Music in this episode
- Let it be Christmas — Nicolai Heidlas, via SoundCloud
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — Paz Project, via SoundCloud
- Tweedlebugs — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
- Lone Road — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
- The Time to Run — Dexter Britain, via Free Music Archive
- Deck the Halls A” — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
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