Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Fun: How well do you know the most famous reindeer of all? Which came first...song or story?



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer actually began as a story in 1939 at a Chicago-based retail store, Montgomery Ward. It wasn't until a decade later that it became a song.


The department store wanted to do a giveaway for Christmas--as was their tradition--but they needed something less expensive to distribute then the coloring books from years past.

So they went to their marketing department and asked them to create a Christmas story from the ground up. The task fell on copywriter, Robert L. May, a family man with a young daughter. The story that Robert wrote was given away to over 2.4 million Montgomery Ward customers. 


 

 Robert convinced Johnny Marks, his brother-in-law and songwriter, to turn Rudolph into a song and the red-nosed legend spread. But in 1949, the "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry, officially recorded the song. Autry's version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sold 2 million copies in its first year and became the second-most successful Christmas record in history (after White Christmas).


For more about the history of Rudolph and how Robert was able to get the rights to his own story, check out Altogether Christmas.
 

Happy Holidays from Definition House!

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