skip to Main Content

50 Fun Facts about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

  • While there are many reindeer in the North Pole, there is only 1 red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph
  • Sam the Snowman’s pocket watch never changes time throughout the show. It always reads 2 o’clock.
  • Yukon Cornelius discovers the peppermint mine on his third prospecting attempt.
  • All of the human characters in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer have 4 fingers. It seems 4 was the magic number.
  • Yukon Cornelius’s sled is pulled by a Poodle, a Cocker Spaniel, a Saint Bernard, a Dachshund and a Collie.
  • In 2008, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was restored for Blu-ray. Enhancements were made to both the audio and picture, including the removal of scratches and artifacting.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer features 7 original songs that were written for the special.
  • The Santa puppet stood 8 inches tall.
  • Santa’s sleigh is pulled by 7 reindeer at the end of the special. According to the song, there are usually 9 reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph.
  • In 2006, the original Rudolph and Santa figures were featured in an episode of Antiques Roadshow. Pre-renovation, they were valued at $8,000-$10,000.
  • There are 11 voice actors credited for all the voices in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Rudolph’s red nose was originally created using a 12v light bulb painted red.
  • In 1998, a deleted scene was uncovered featuring an instrumental break in “We Are Santa’s Elves.” It has been included in the special ever since.
  • Though he appears quite large on screen, the Bumble figure stood 14 inches tall.
  • Janis Orenstein was only 15 years old when she recorded the voice of Clarice.
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has been recorded by Bing Crosby, The Jackson 5, The Wiggles, The California Raisins, Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Simpsons, to name a few.
  • In the 1965 broadcast, the song “We’re a Couple of Misfits” was replaced with a new song, “Fame and Fortune.”
  • Production for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer took place in The United States, Canada and Japan.
  • Rudolph did not revisit The Island of Misfit Toys in the original broadcast. The scene was added a year later after a letter writing campaign.
  • There are 20 bells that make up Donner’s jingle bells.
  • Hermey is the only elf without pointed ears.
  • 22 sets were built for the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Sam the Snowman was voiced by the legendary Burl Ives. By 1964, Burl had 23 film and television credits to his name.
  • It takes 24 frames to create one second of filmed animation.
  • All of the characters in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer were built with joints so that any part of their body could be moved, including their eyes, mouth and ears.
  • The song “Silver and Gold” was originally intended to be sung by Yukon Cornelius (Larry D. Mann) before Burl Ives was brought on board to play Sam the Snowman.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was recorded in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Japanese.
  • The first draft of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer screenplay was finalized on October 28, 1963.
  • The same actor provided the voices for both Donner and Coach Comet.
  • There are 30 teeth in the Abominable Snow Monster’s mouth.
  • In one of the original drafts of the story, a stork delivered Rudolph to his parents.
  • Screenwriter Romeo Muller also penned scripts for many other Rankin/Bass holiday classics including: The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969) and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970).
  • Rudolph’s signature nose glows in 33 shots in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was originally shown as a part of the General Electric Fantasy Hour. At that time, Rudolph characters were also featured in GE commercials.
  • Producers Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass worked together for 35 years and were responsible for many hit specials including: Mad Monster Party (1967), The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969) and The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974).
  • An instrumental version of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” can be heard during the Reindeer Games scene.
  • The opening sequence features newspaper headlines from: New York Herald Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Mail, Daily News and San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The voice for Boss Elf changes dramatically in the Elf Practice scene. It is believed that a line was added late in production and voiced by a different actor.
  • Jon Favreau, the director of the 2003 film Elf, took different inspirations from Rudolph, most notably, with Buddy the Elf’s costume design.
  • Originally, Sam the Snowman was envisioned as a roly-poly Nicely Nicely Johnson-type character. Sam became a more “folksy” narrator when Burl Ives came on board.
  • Gene Autry was 41 years old when his single for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” first hit the charts.
  • There are 42 creatures featured in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 1 Abominable Snow Monster, 1 fish, 2 rabbits, 2 raccoons, 2 owls, 2 squirrels, 3 birds, 3 polar bears, 3 seals, 5 dogs and 18 reindeer.
  • Rudolph is actually voiced by a woman, Billie Mae Richards, who was 43 years old when she helped bring young Rudolph to life. Her name is misspelled as “Billy” in the end credits.
  • The yearly broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer runs 44 minutes long.
  • During the end credits, the Misfit Train is dropped out of Santa’s sleigh without his signature “caboose with square wheels.”
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer holds the record as the longest-running Christmas television special.
  • The “Misfit Bird Who Doesn’t Fly” actually learns to fly during the end credits. He can be seen flying out of Santa’s sleigh without an umbrella parachute.
  • Rudolph’s name is mentioned 48 times in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Inspiration for the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special came from the story by Robert L. May and the song by Johnny Marks.
  • As of 2014, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been broadcast on television for 50 years! The original airing occurred on December 6, 1964 at 5:30pm.
Back To Top

There are reasons 17,000 families have signed up for the RFM eNews

Exclusive Contest Alerts | New Issue Reminders | Discount Codes and Savings