“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the shy little buck who emerges as a hero after being humiliated by his friends because of his shiny beak, encounters many adventures in the wild North before he reaches his night of glory in the NBC special color-cast of the classic Christmas story tomorrow from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on Channel 40.
Burl Ives is the off-camera voice of Sam the Snowman. in the fully animated color-filmed musical program presented as a holiday feature of the Fantasy Hour. Several new Christmas songs, especially written for the color-cast by Johnny Marks, will be introduced on the show. His perennial “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” will be the theme.
The new Rudolph story
As Ives narrates the TV adaptation, Rudolph is the butt of his fellow reindeer in Christmasville because of his shiny red nose. In desperation, he runs away with another outcast, Hermey the Elf, who would rather be a dentist than a toy-maker, and the pair of misfits brave the Arctic wilderness.
They are chased by the Abominable Snow Monster, and then meet prospector Yukon Cornelius, who takes them aboard his dog sled. When the monster gets too close, they all board an ice-floe and find refuge on the Island of Lost Toys. There they find a kingdom of living playthings that would fulfill every wish of every lonesome child.
The trio returns to Christmasville to tell Santa Claus of their discovery, and learn that Rudolph’s family was captured by the Abominable in their search for him. The shiny-beaked buck tracks them to the monster’s forbidding cave and, with his friends’ help, effects their rescue.
Then a great blizzard strikes and threatens to cancel Christmas until Santa asks, “Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight.” The little reindeer proudly takes his place to lead the sleigh team through the storm and above the clouds on Christmas Eve.
Animagic stop-motion by Rankin/Bass and songs from Johnny Marks
Since 1949, Marks’ original “Rudolph” tune has sold 40,000,000 recordings in the US, and more than 30,000,000 around the world.
He later wrote several other yuletide hit tunes, which reached the multi-million sales mark. They include “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “The Night Before Christmas Song.”
The songs of the show’s score are: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the seven new selections — “Jingle Jingle Jingle,” “We’re a Couple of Misfits,” “There’s Always Tomorrow,” “We Are Santa’s Elves,” “Silver and Gold,” “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”
In the background score are Marks’ previous songs — “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “The Night Before Christmas Song,” “When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter” and “A Merry Merry Christmas.” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was adapted for TV by Romeo Mueller.
The story of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on NBC-TV will be enacted by puppets “brought alive” in the special “Animagic” (dimensional animation) technique created by its producers, Arthur Rankin, Jr., and Jules Bass of Videocraft International. Larry Roemer directed the program, for which Maury Laws did the orchestration.