Keith’s Holiday Korner | Rudolph Triumphs over the Bigots and Bullies of Christmas Town
The Two Gay Geeks and our Staff have one last movie from the Christmas Closet. Some of our selections are classics, and others are off-beat and (very) loosely associated with the holidays. We hope you enjoy our offerings and that your holiday season is safe, sane, and satisfying.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments section below. As always, we welcome your feedback and input on all of our published content. Thanks for stopping by.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
I remember seeing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the first time it aired in 1964. I remember feeling like Rudolph because I was in a cast from the waist down and told my parents to tell Santa Claus to take all my presents back because, apparently, I wasn’t going to make it. The thinking of a child…
Anyway, on with the story of Rudolph, the story opens with Sam the snowman, voiced by Burl Ives, telling of the great Christmas snowstorm that was so bad nobody could get around, not even Santa. He then slips in the birth of Rudolph, who has a bright red nose that lights up and makes noise. Donner, Rudolph’s Dad, doesn’t want Santa, who is a bit of a bigot (at least in this film), to see the red blinker of a nose. Santa says some nasty things about Rudolph and leaves. No wonder Rudolph has a complex, he needed therapy after his first interaction with Santa.
Rudolph grows up, and it is time for the reindeer games, so Donner being a good dad, covers up Rudolph’s nose, which makes him sound stuffed up. Rudolph is hangin’ out with the other young reindeer and gets all excited when a young female comes up, and he says, “Hello Clarice”… errr wrong film. Uh, where was I, oh right, Clarice is the young female reindeer that has told Rudolph he is cude, his way of saying cute with his covered nose and takes off flying. When he lands, his nose covering comes off, and there he is in all his glory, nose shining, and all of the other reindeer are googly-eyed. Coach Chuck tells Rudolph he can’t join in the reindeer games, and Donner takes Rudolph home in shame. Rudolph sneaks out and runs away.
In another part of the North Pole at Santa’s workshop is an elf, Hermy, that doesn’t want to make toys, he wants to be a Dentist. Huh? He isn’t good at toy-making and is always missing elf practice, where Santa derides the elves. As I said, Santa is not very nice in this film. Hermy sneaks out and runs away.
Rudolph and Hermy cross paths and decide to be misfits together. As they are wandering aimlessly through the wilds of the North Pole, they come across Yukon Cornelius (one of my favorite characters), who is a prospector and a larger-than-life character with a Brian Blessed-esque voice (An interesting bit of trivia from IMDb, Yukon Cornelius is supposed to be looking for the great lost peppermint mine. That is why he licks his pick every time he throws it into the ground.). He warns Hermy and Rudolph about the Bumble (Abominable Snowman), and wouldn’t you know it, here comes the Bumble. They escape and wind up on the island of misfit toys where King Moonracer (who just happens to be voiced by the same person as Santa Claus) begrudgingly grants them only one night on the island because they are not toys (sounds like more bigotry here…). Rudolph thinks it is all his fault, so he climbs out the window in a blinding snowstorm, how nobody else wakes up is a mystery.
Rudolph, Hermy, Yukon Cornelius, Clarice, and Mrs. Donner all magically find each other after a toothless encounter with the Bumble, and they, Bumble included, head back to the North Pole and Santa’s Castle. The storm is worse than ever. Santa is contemplating canceling Christmas when in comes Rudolph with his nose so bright, and Santa asks him to lead his sleigh. They take off and visit the island of misfit toys, and all are packed up and carried away to new homes.
The story is a little corny, but it has to fit the song that already existed. The stop-motion filming was great for its time, with a few goofs here and there. It clocks in at 52 minutes on the restored version of the DVD, but I swear, as a kid watching it every year, it was four hours long. It does have a happy ending, and we always watch it because it takes us back to the magic of being a kid again. A little holiday fluff never hurt anyone except for, maybe, the Bumble.