This year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Hard to believe – that it’s that old and that it’s still airing!
I grew up watching Rudolph. It was a family event that signaled the coming of both my birthday and Christmas. My sisters and I would imitate the staccato dance moves of the elves, recite the lines along with the characters and ooh in awe when Bumble put the star on the Christmas tree near the end.
Rudolph was such a happy memory, I now own a collection of plush toys and plastic figures including one Bumble who sits on my bookshelf all year long.
Since I am such a fan, I was excited to get the chance to review the new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray. It’s so crisp and clean, you can see the texture in Sam the Snowman’s vest and the hairs on every inch of the Bumble. It sure beats the grainy, cut-up version I’ve been watching over the past 20 years.
But as lovely as the picture quality is, I was a little disappointed by the special features. Being the 50th anniversary, I was hoping for a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making the of special but the closest we get is a set of 50 little known facts about the show. Some are interesting (the letter writing campaign that changed the show!) but some were a stretch – like the number of times Rudolph’s name is mentioned in the special.
I did enjoy the How to Draw Rudolph, Hermey and Bumble featurette. The animated pop-up book might be fun for young viewers but didn’t do much for me.
Even though the special features didn’t fulfill my wishes, I’m excited to have this clean, bright and un-cut version of the special on Blu-ray to kick off the holiday season.
Look, I believe that Rudolph is a highly underrated special. People think it’s all silliness and musical fun, but there are some deep lessons to be learned here. Lessons that could help us all become better people.
For example; Rudolph teaches us that we all have a purpose in life. Rudolph’s nose saves Christmas. Hermey’s dentistry saves lives and even the misunderstood Bumble can put a star on a tree without using a ladder. Even the misfit toys, find homes in the end.
[Tweet “Rudolph teaches us that we all have a purpose in life.”]
Rudolph also teaches us that we can’t hide from our problems. When he’s mercilessly bullied and mocked, Rudolph runs away but he’s constantly badgered by the Bumble who is clearly a metaphor for Rudolph’s troubling relationship with his father. Eventually, he has to face his fears both the large, furry kind and the scarier daddy kind.
But the most important lesson we can all learn from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is that women are always right and if men would just listen to us, there wouldn’t be any more problems in this world. Mrs. Claus, Clarice and Rudolph’s mom all take the high road offering unconditional love even when the men are being. . . well, let’s just call it like it is. They’re being jerks. Santa is brusque with the elf choir. Clarice’s dad thinks his daughter is too good to have a red-nosed reindeer as a boyfriend. Rudolph’s dad, Donner is as brutal as any parent can be when dealing with a child who is different. And seriously, Santa! What were you thinking, blaming the parents for Rudolph’s “non-conformity!”
The men stomp their feet and express their displeasure driving both Rudolph and Hermey right into the arms of danger. Then Rudolph comes home only to find that his mom and Clarice have gone off to look for him. Oh yeah, Donner went, too but you know he only did it because he felt guilty letting the women go alone. They all almost end up as Bumble snacks and it’s only the quick thinking of Yukon and Hermey that save them all. So much for the useless misfit!
If you take nothing else away from this glorious holiday special, come away with the understanding that women always know what’s best.
Oh, there is one other important thing we learn from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We learn that Bumbles bounce. A fact you want to keep in mind in case you ever have to push one off a cliff.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray is available now on Amazon or head over to Target where you can also find a selection of Rudolph books, gifts and toys.
What’s your favorite line or scene from this classic holiday special? Let me know in the comments below.