Long before social media and the behomoth that is Amazon, Montgomery Ward and Sears (one extinct, the other on life support) shipped out these massive paper catalogs. Selling everything from kitchen ware to clothing to toys, this was how we got excited about buying stuff not available at the local store (now also almost extinct).
Rudolph was created in the fog of the Chicago lakeshore by a hired copywriter, Robert L. May for a coloring book. Later expanded into comic books, the storyline is roughly similar to the modern day interpretation.
May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks adapted into a song form in 1949, and Gene Autrey recorded the country version for the ‘49 Christmas season. It was a hit and stood on the charts into well into the 1980’s.
In 1964, using the only the song lyrics, Rankin and Bass adapted it for the stop motion TV show, with Burl Ives both narrating the show and singing the songs. It’s not often you get a snowman playing the banjo.
Initially turned down by Bing Crosby, it’s now a standard cover by Bing, Dean and many, many others.
|Harry Connick, Jr.
|The Ray Conniff Singers
|Gene Autry with The Pinafores