Rudolph And The Rankin-Bass Holiday Empire: Facts And Trivia

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Rudolph and Hermey, the dentist. Source: (IndieWire)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and other Rankin/Bass TV specials, including Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and The Year Without A Santa Claus, are holiday shows that have become must-watch traditions within our own lifetimes. Rudolph, dramatizing the song by Johnny Marks, first aired in 1964, introducing children not only to Rudolph and Santa but Hermey the Elf (who wanted to be a dentist), Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster.

Rankin/Bass Productions began as Videocraft in 1955, when Arthur Rankin, who had been an art director at ABC teamed up with Jules Bass and began making commercials. On September 14, 1960, they began making cartoons and changed their name to Rankin/Bass Productions. One of their first "Animagic" productions was The New Adventures of Pinocchio. All told, they created 18 different Christmas specials of varying length between 1964 and 1985, although they did create more than just Christmas specials.