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'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' airs tonight on 10 Tampa Bay

The most famous reindeer of all is back to lead Santa's sleigh tonight on CBS.

TAMPA, Fla. — The most famous reindeer of all returns Monday on 10 Tampa Bay for the 57th year.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" recounts the story of a young reindeer with a bright, shiny red nose, mocked by the other reindeer. However, his nose proves to be useful to Santa on Christmas Eve.

The movie first aired in 1964, filmed using stop-motion. It was narrated by Burl Ives, also known as Sam the Snowman. The TV special was made after the 1949 song by the same name became a holiday staple.

The special airs at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, on CBS. It will air again at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Credit: The Associated Press

5 facts about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

  • The early days: Rudolph was originally created by Robert May as a coloring book for the department store, Montgomery Ward, in 1939. Books were handed out to children visiting Santa Claus. In the first year of publication, Montgomery Ward gave out 2.4 million copies of the famous reindeer. 
  • Used to laugh and call him names: There were other names considered before settling on Rudolph. Rollo was an option but deemed too carefree for a sad reindeer. Reginald, maybe? That was also crossed off the list because it sounded too British. 
  • Rudolph the Bright-Eyed Reindeer: Instead of the glowing red nose, May considered other oddities to guide Santa's sleigh, like large eyes that served as headlights. May eventually decided a nose would be mocked more than huge eyes. 
  • Lost and found: Shortly after production, the Santa and Rudolph puppets disappeared. However, in 2006 they reappeared on Antiques Roadshow. A woman who had worked for the creators of the movie had stored them in her attic for decades. They were so old that Rudolph had lost his red nose and Santa had no eyebrows. They have since been restored and are on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts. 
  • Christmas Animagic: Using stop-motion for an entire movie can be extremely difficult. It takes 24 frames to shoot one second of video. It took about 18 months for the team in Japan to shoot half an hour of the movie.