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The Origin of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Montgomery Ward
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
How many of you use reindeer ornaments in your Christmas decorating scheme as I do? How many of you hear that famous song of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer being sung or played during the holiday season each year?
Reindeer pulling Santa Claus through the sky on his whirlwind trip to deliver toys to good girls and good boys with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in the lead seems to be interwoven into the fabric of Christmas stories. These stories have been passed down through generations of people.
Do you know the origin of this cute story? Personally I never gave it much thought until I decided to write this post. I'll be happy to share some background information with you so that you can casually mention it at your next get together with family or friends. They will be impressed at your seemingly endless knowledge. (Smile)
- The story of Montgomery Ward which was the number one mail order business in 1872 was started by visionary Aaron Montgomery Ward. He began the business with a small amount of money and a couple of partners. The partners eventually left Ward as the sole owner.
- Mr. Montgomery's idea was to have goods delivered to people living in small towns all across America where they did not perhaps have competitive pricing for similar things in their locales.
- He provided a catalog out of which they could select their purchases. Most of the items would have been shipped by train back in the early days. Those catalogs eventually became large "wish books" from which people could see fashions and dream of items that they might like to own someday.
- The first retail store was opened in 1926 in Indiana. It eventually expanded to become a department store chain in many towns and cities all across the United States of America. From one store and in only two years time Montgomery Ward stores numbered 244. They kept growing exponentially after that. Their main competitor was the Sears Roebuck and Company.
What does all this have to do with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (story read from a book)
Robert L. May
- For many years Montgomery Ward gave away coloring books and decided that it might be less expensive to create one of their own.
- An employee by the name of Robert L. May created the character of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for one of those coloring books in the year 1939.
- In the first year almost two and a half million copies of those coloring books were dispensed making Rudolph well known among children and their families.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Song
- The song of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written by American songwriter Johnny Marks.
- Mr. Marks wrote many Christmas songs. This one of Rudolph was patterned after a poem written by his brother-in-law, Robert L. May, the creator of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
- Gene Autry recorded it in 1949 making it famous at that time. It has since been sung by many solo as well as group vocalists.
Cartoons, Golden Books and More
- The first ever cartoon short featuring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was in 1948.
- Golden Books later produced their Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer versions.
- The first feature film by the same name was produced in 1998.
- Comic books, toys, ornaments and more will keep Rudolph alive and well probably long into the future.
Decorations including deer statues, sculptures, lawn ornaments and deer collectibles is a popular theme and not just for Christmas and the holidays. Often an outdoor statue of a deer is intermixed with shrubbery and or flowers embellishing a person's garden on a year round basis. We have some deer sculptures in our subdivision located at our clubhouse that are displayed on a year round basis. During the Christmas season they sport big red bows.
Inside a person's home one might find beautifully crafted collectible deer sculptures made out of different mediums. We used to have a pewter deer sculpture that adorned our house until I gave it away. Deer subject matter can also be found in pictures or paintings adorning one's walls.
Of course during the holiday season reindeer ornaments as well as illuminated reindeer for the exterior of homes and businesses seem to proliferate. Many of the homes in subdivisions all across the land have such Christmas décor and it adds an attractive element as well as sparkle to one's landscape. We used to have a lighted one that bobbed his head up and down as if he was munching the grass that we put out during the Christmas season.
Are you now humming the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as I am? (Smile)
Do you like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?
© 2010 Peggy Woods