Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

rudolph the red nosed reindeerRudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas is never complete these days without the singing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. However, many don’t realize that this song began its life as a mere poem written in 1939 by Robert May who was worked for the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward department store as a copywriter. It had been a custom of this department store to give away coloring books they purchases to children at Christmastime.

They wanted to save money but still give something to the kids who came to sit on Santa Claus’s lap at the store. They decided that writing their own story would do the trick. By the end of 1946, they had given more than 6 million copies of this story even though it was during a time of war and printing was restricted due to it being wartime.

Reflecting on his own childhood, May wrote from his experiences in the past. He had been the smallest boy in the class and was therefore taunted because he was scrawny and frail and didn’t fit in with the other kid’s idea of normal.

In 1949, Johnny Marks, a songwriter and May’s brother-in-law, set it to music and the first musical version was recorded by Gene Autry. This song sold 2 million copies the first year.

Autry was not particularly interested in having recording this kid’s song, but his wife talked him into it. He must have been happy when it became the second best-selling Christmas song of all time, only lagging behind White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby by a little.

Over the years, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has been the subject of numerous books and shown up as special stories on television and movie screens during the holiday season. It was even the basis for a children’s classic television special that was filmed during 1964 and narrated by Burl Ives. Even the Chipmunks got into the act by making their own hit movie in the 1960.

Here is the poem for you to read, or you can sing along with the words.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
You would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
You’ll go down in history!

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