Welcome to the second installment of holiday fun and an interview with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Do You Know Rudolph Like I Know Rudolph?
In 1939, the Montgomery Ward Company asked their ad man to create a story for a Christmas promotion. The ad man, Robert L. May, wrote catalog copy for the company, but he had a way with limericks and parodies
May’s life situation depressed him. He was heavily in debt trying to pay for his dying wife’s medical care. And his failure to be the novelist he dreamed of haunted him.
But May believed in his story. He had a friend illustrate his manuscript. Together, he and his friend convinced his boss to publish the story.
1. Who is your role model?
Santa Claus. He’s always jolly and kind. Unlike certain reindeer. Not that I hold a grudge.
2. Who knows you the best?
Santa Claus. He knows when I am sleeping. And he knows when I’m awake. He knows when I am bad or good.
3. What would your friends say about you?
They used to laugh and call me names. Now they say I’ll go down in history.
4. What is the question people ask you most often?
It’s alway the same. Where did you get that nose?
5. What is the thing you’d never say to another person?
I would never ridicule a reindeer or a person for their looks.
6. What is your greatest achievement?
Saving Christmas one foggy night.
7. What is your greatest failure?
Hating my nose and not believing in myself.
8. What did you learn from your greatest failure?
That we all have a purpose in life. Sometimes it’s a big thing, but more often it’s a tiny thing to us but a huge thing for someone else. Sometimes we never know who that someone else is, and that’s okay.
9. What is the thing you are most proud of?
Helping people who look different feel better about themselves through my story.
10. What would you like to change about yourself?
Not one thing. I used to hate my red nose, but it helped Santa more than once now. I learned that sometimes our imperfections are our greatest assets.
The Rest of the Story
Read the original story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s a bit different from the versions we see today, but it remains delightful.
The Montgomery Ward Company sold more than 2 million copies of the story. But apparently the company thought of the story as nothing more than a promotion. They gave the rights back to May.
May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, was a songwriter. May talked him into writing a song about Rudolph. Harry Brannon sang the song first. Then in 1949 Gene Autry picked up the song. And it sold more than 25 million copies and the rest as they say is…history.
Do You Know Rudolph?
Learning about Rudolph and interviewing him was fun. I hope you enjoyed it, too. If you missed my interview with Frosty, please take a minute to read it.
Do You Know Rudolph? Maybe not well, but you know him as well as I do. Happy Holidays.