Rudolph Restored
December 8, 2006 9:05 PM   Subscribe

If you've grown up in the states, odds are you've seen/watched the highly rated Christmas special, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Trailer here

When the production was over, the animation company put the puppets in a closet. When they were due to be thrown away, a secretary got permission and took them home. Her children played with the puppets for years...nobody thought they'd be of value. Some of them broke, and last year they were found. (not all were intact.)

Photos of the Restoration. Close up of the restored Rudolph. There were a number of films after (over 10+ years after the first,) Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Frosty Christmas in July and Island of Misfit Toys. These (and many other films) are Rankin/Bass productions. Some people also know Rankin Bass for their animated version of the Hobbit and the Last Unicorn. Rankin/Bass previously mentioned on Mefi
posted by filmgeek (40 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and a favorite of mine, the Mad TV parody.
posted by filmgeek at 9:06 PM on December 8, 2006

This post is awesome. So many memories...
posted by Brittanie at 9:21 PM on December 8, 2006

'Tis a long yarn. Yarrr.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:21 PM on December 8, 2006

Nobody wants a Santa puppet...with a hole in it's head.
posted by sourwookie at 9:23 PM on December 8, 2006

You are obviously not a Firefly flan.
posted by y2karl at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2006

What about Clarice?
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Dewd! This post is great!
posted by Tullius at 9:47 PM on December 8, 2006

What about Clarice?

Judging from the dilation on those pupils, she's possibly quite aroused. Just to add a little extra to the disturbingly-attractive-animal syndrome.
posted by knave at 10:00 PM on December 8, 2006

Is a seven-para FPP a new MeFi record?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:01 PM on December 8, 2006

Two thumbs up. Can you imagine what rudolph would fetch at auction?
posted by craniac at 10:11 PM on December 8, 2006

I love this post.
posted by nonmerci at 11:00 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by matty at 11:03 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

It could be worse. All the models from the older "Wallace & Gromit" movies were carefully stored in a warehouse. Unfortunately, it burned down last year and they were all destroyed.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:58 PM on December 8, 2006

I'm mildly curious about the upcoming live action version of Rankin/Bass' "Year Without a Santa Claus," if only to see what they do with the classic Heat Miser and Snow Miser songs.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:14 AM on December 9, 2006

You know, call me a scrooge or a grinch, but I think Rudolph is a terrible story. All of these other reindeer dislike Rudolph until he seems to have some sort of gift that they can take advantage of.

How terrible and sad is that?

But, anyway ;-)
posted by mgorsuch at 5:18 AM on December 9, 2006

mgorsuch, I also though the Rudolph tale had an undercurrent of 'conform! conform!' What kind of games do Reindeer play, anyway?

and what about the humble bumble snowman? my clear favorite character from all of them.
posted by Busithoth at 5:35 AM on December 9, 2006

The real story of the puppets sounds like a fairy tale itself. Maybe someone will do an animated documentary.
posted by stbalbach at 5:48 AM on December 9, 2006

I'm quite sure this post did not require seven paragraphs. Please do not do that again.
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on December 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

If this doesn't win the Best Post competition, then I'm putting coal in Matt's & Jess's stockings. Forever.
posted by briank at 6:00 AM on December 9, 2006

Liberation in the workshop:
We ain't Santa's elves,
Go and fuck yourselves.
Hey, big mouth,
We're heading south,
Cause we ain't Santa's elves.
(What to sing when it gets stuck in your head.)
posted by pracowity at 6:02 AM on December 9, 2006

I saw the guy with the puppets on Antiques Roadshow!
posted by butternut at 6:03 AM on December 9, 2006

OK, confession time: I've never successfully read my way through the Lord of the Rings books. Read The Hobbit? Sure. But to this day I still come to a screeching halt at Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring.

Nope. Sorry. Not putting up with this guy.

That being said, I loved the whole story and the reason I loved it before Peter Jackson was the Rankin/Bass animated hobbit movies.

Also, we watched The Last Unicorn in when I was in the fifth grade. After we watched it my teacher gave the whole class a writing assignment to tell the story of what really happened to all the unicorns.

After playing D&D for two years at that point, I wrote a story about how they were all captured by ogres and turned into mince meat pies. It earned me a D+ and a "concerned" meeting with the teacher and my parents.

I blame Gary Gygax.
posted by Cyrano at 6:09 AM on December 9, 2006

I find it sad that so many of the puppets were lost.

Having said that, every year my wife makes me watch the movies. Every year I ask her why the female reindeer don't have antlers like they are supposed to. Every year she tells me to shut up and just watch the damn movie. It's a Christmas tradition!
posted by caution live frogs at 6:14 AM on December 9, 2006


Forget that. A post of this quality requires Matt to have Shigeru Miyamoto and Steve Jobs show up at filmgeek's place for dinner.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:30 AM on December 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

We demand to know the location of Heat Miser!
posted by squirrel at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2006

"I'm Mister Green Christmas
I'm Mister Sun
I'm Mister Heat Blister
I'm Mister Hundred and One
They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!"
posted by matty at 7:55 AM on December 9, 2006

It makes me terribly sad to think that somewhere the SnowMiser may have melted in someone's attic. I've always loved him. The HeatMiser scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.
posted by bayliss at 8:20 AM on December 9, 2006

Rankin and Bass Rudolph is my favorite holiday special bar none. It's a quirky story with and the animation suits it perfectly. I bought a collection of small plush characters, and they are my favorite part of holiday decorating (Herbie is my favorite).

Does anyone know why the doll was a misfit toy?
posted by kimdog at 8:34 AM on December 9, 2006

This is weird, the part about them being "lost."

I specifically remember taking the NBC (New York) studio tour in the late 60's (maybe early 70's), and seeing them is a display case. I remember some elves and the "Abominable," for sure...

I've seen it every year since 1964. It's a family ritual to watch and mock it.

Here's my take on it a couple of years back in my comic strip.
posted by jpburns at 8:34 AM on December 9, 2006

Does anyone know why the doll was a misfit toy?

The island is for toys who are unwanted or unloved, not necessarily defective. For some reason, the doll was discarded. Maybe her owner didn't like the color of her hair or her dress or simply outgrew her.

I like to think the writers left her a blank slate on which to project our own insecurities.
posted by jrossi4r at 9:01 AM on December 9, 2006

in the island of misfit toys is a parable about homosexuality and our society's intolerance of it, and the main character is a gay elf, although this is represented in the film as him wanting to be a "dentist." if you are as juvenile as myself and watch the movie with this in mind, it's pretty hilarious. in all fairness, though, some of my best friends are dentists.
posted by snofoam at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2006

Hey, we just watched this last night. My 13-month old was fascinated, but he likes Muppets, so I think anything puppety works for him.

Santa was SUCH an asshole, though. That always confused me as a child--he actually tells Rudolph's dad he should be ashamed of himself for siring Rudolph. For having defective mutant-reindeer sperm? Talk about blaming the victim! Maybe Santa took govt. money to store nuclear waste at the Pole, and that's why Rudolph happened.

The whole thing is such a relentless propaganda piece for Christmas(tm), and yet so very, very odd.
posted by emjaybee at 9:10 AM on December 9, 2006

I thought the doll was discarded because it couldn't say "Mama", or something to the effect.

Anyway, in the vein of the notorious Oswald in a Jam photo (mentioned in MeFi thread #30609), behold: The War on Christmas is Over.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:23 AM on December 9, 2006

One story about why most of these puppets were lost is that they had been sprayed with a non-glare solvent before being put in front of the cameras. At the time of that writing, Donner had survived, and was occasionally displayed.

Had no idea two of the most important had been found! Great post!

(Still, my favorite was Santa Claus is Comin' to Town with Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney.)
posted by evilcolonel at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2006

Oh, my wife loves Rankin/Bass and their X-Mas specials in particular. Last year she "eeeked!" at the top of her lungs when she saw the Original Christmas Classics DVD set at Costco. Naturally, we had to buy it. Now that I have a daughter, I weep for the future. We're Jewish, even!

I'll lay off the italics next time
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2006

Strangely, I'm also one of the chosen tribe Joseph. And I had to make sure my niece and nephew are familiar with this.
posted by filmgeek at 6:23 PM on December 9, 2006

Does anyone know why the doll was a misfit toy?

Yes. She said "Daddy"( of DaDa) instead of "Mama". Also, the "Charlie" in the box as opposed to "Jack"; a train with square wheels; and a parrot that swam like a fish.
posted by annieb at 2:31 PM on December 10, 2006

sorry, "or DaDa" not of.
posted by annieb at 2:31 PM on December 10, 2006

Ah... that makes sense, because at the end she ends up in the arms of a little boy! Thanks!
posted by kimdog at 8:30 PM on December 10, 2006

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