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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer airs tonight on 10News WTSP

The special airs Monday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.
Credit: AP Images

This year marks 55 years since the original broadcast of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer recounts the tale of a shy reindeer whose Christmas spirit is dampened because his shiny nose has made him the laughing stock of all of Christmasville.

The special airs Monday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. on 10TV. It will re-air on Saturday, December 14 at 8 p.m.

10 things to know about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A couple of years before the big show – The reindeer Rudolph was actually created for Montgomery Ward's department store by employee Robert May in 1939 as part of an advertising campaign.

What's so funny about the way I talk? – The voice behind Rudolph is Canadian Voice Actress Billie Mae Richards who passed away in 2010. She also voiced Tenderheart Bear in the first two Care Bears movies. Richards and Paul Soles (who voiced Hermey) lived in the same Ontario retirement community.

Someday, I'd like to be a dentist – According to brother Ken Muller, Romeo Muller actually intended the elf to be named "Herbie", after a childhood friend. Rudolph's sweetheart was named "Clarice" in honor of the bride-to-be of another close friend.

If I live to be 100 – The face of Sam the Snowman was intentionally designed to resemble singer-actor Burl Ives, who provided the voice for the character.

Peppermint, what I've been searching for all my life – When Yukon Cornelius throws his pick axe into the ground and takes it out and licks it, he's checking neither for gold nor silver. The original concept for the special stated that Yukon was in fact searching for the elusive peppermint mine, which he found eventually. This scene was inserted into recent DVD and blu ray releases.

Maybe misfits have a place too – The original version of the TV special showed Rudolph, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius visit the Island of Misfit Toys and promise help - but they never returned. After children complained, a new scene was created in which Santa and Rudolph now land on the Island to pick up the toys.

A toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child – Why is Dolly for Sue, who is apparently a perfectly ordinary doll, living on the Island of Misfit Toys? This gripping debate raged on for decades, until official word from Rankin-Bass recently decided the issue: Dolly for Sue is a "misfit" because she has psychological problems - she feels unloved.

The world almost missed Christmas – Although the animations were filmed in Japan, the entire soundtrack for Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) was recorded in a studio near Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario; most of the singing and speaking cast were Canadian.

Didn't I ever tell you about Bumbles? – When the film was first released, in 1964, the technology of using an articulated metal armature inside the figures was considered so amazing that TV Guide devoted four pages to the story. They failed to mention that the "new" technology had been pioneered 31 years before, most prominently inside the gorilla King Kong (1933).

Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight? –Original puppets of Santa and young Rudolph from the 1964 production went on tour in November 2007. When purchased by their new owner, both of them were in poor condition--Santa had mold under his beard and half of his mustache was gone, while Rudolph's nose was gone. The owner took them to stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties International, who restored them "as a labor of love" for expenses only-$4000.

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