You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?
Of course, a good case could be made for the lovable forest denizen, “Rudolph” — the red-nosed reindeer. But do you recall the “real” story of Rudolph?
It was in 1939, during the height of the Great Depression, that Chicago’s Montgomery Ward department store copywriter, Robert May, was charged with coming up with a new gift for the store’s Santa to give to the little children.
May went to work developing a Christmas storybook for children. As a child, May had always been small for his age and this had brought forth taunts and ridicule from the other children. Drawing upon his experiences of being somewhat different and an outcast, May set about creating a character with similar problems who, in the end, rises above his problems and is transformed.
Unlike the Rudolph we now know from the song and cartoon, May’s original Rudolph lived an ordinary life with his parents in the woods. He did not live at the North Pole and his parents were not part of Santa’s reindeer team.
Oh, Rudolph had to deal with the taunts of the other little reindeer who shunned him because he was different. Like May as a child, Rudolph was lonely and had few friends. But, rather than dwelling on his problems, Rudolph had a positive outlook on life and did not let his deformity hold him back.
In May’s original story, with children all over the world expecting him to visit and leave presents, Santa had a dilemma — he couldn’t see to take off in the fog, but if he did not leave immediately he would disappoint children all over the world.
At that moment Santa noticed Rudolph with his shiny red nose and asked him to lead his sleigh. Rudolph agreed and Santa was able to make his deliveries. Following Santa’s successful Christmas Eve journey with Rudolph in the lead, the story ends with Santa saying to Rudolph, “By YOU last night’s journey was actually bossed. Without you, I’m certain we’d all have been lost!” This is a little different from the song and cartoon which end with the other reindeer praising Rudolph by saying “You’ll go down in history!”
This week’s music trivia question is: Who was the first commercial artist, in 1949, to sing, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer?” Was it A) Big Crosby, B) Gene Autry, C) Spike Jones or D) Ron Gibson?
If you are caller number three this week with the correct answer, you’ll win a Christmas CD, with 20 of the top seasonal songs enjoyed by children, which includes “Frosty The Snowman,” Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and, of course, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” — a great present for your kids, your grandchildren or for anyone filled with the spirit of Christmas!
Now, let’s see how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: Which of the following is a true statement about ex-Beatle, John Lennon, who was shot to death 30 years ago, Dec. 8, 1980?
A) John’s son, Julian, by a previous marriage, scored two Top 10 hits in the mid-1980s, B) John and his son by Yoko, Sean, shared the same birthday, C) John fought a four-year deportation battle with the United States government for his criticism of the Vietnam War, until he was granted a permanent visa in 1976, D) All of the above.
The right answer was D) All of the above.
Julian, son of John and Cynthia Lennon, achieved Top 10 hits with “Valotte” (1984) and “Too Late For Goodbyes” (1985).
John and son, Sean, share the same birthday — Oct. 9.
In the early 1970s, Richard Nixon’s administration unsuccessfully attempted to deport John Lennon as an undesirable alien. Behind this attempt was the apparent fear of the Nixon administration that Lennon might be able to rally young voters to vote against the war and Nixon.
Congratulations to last week’s music trivia winner, Steve LeMonier, better know as “Chef Boyar-Pete,” who won a CD of his choice. Pete elected to choose a CD of the early music of folk-rock singer John Prine.
A little about Pete: he was born, raised and lived the first 26 years of his life in the south suburbs of Chicago. He lived in California and the Valley before moving to the Rim Country 20 years ago to accept a chef position at the Rye Bar & Grill. He is now the head chef at the Good Samaritan-Majestic Rim Retirement complex on Tyler Parkway.
In his spare time, Pete enjoys graphic arts, fishing, gardening and yard work. He likes to listen to classic rock, blues and jazz and particularly enjoys the sounds of the Rolling Stones, Santana, Jethro Tull and Genesis.
Have a holly jolly week, everyone!
Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com