Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Reactionary World

Rankin Bass's curiously cruel yet relentlessly classic take on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Rankin/Bass studios created a curiously materialistic, yet relentlessly classic take on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

In the 1960s, the television established itself in American homes. As a result, the annual Christmas special became a seasonal staple of manufactured yule-tide cheer. Faced with the prospect of spending unwanted time with unwanted relatives, Americans found that they could bear the unbearable December reunions by gathering around the glowing cube of faux-escapism.

Thus, they and enduring the company of kith and kin while drowning in the cheerful seasonal bliss embodied in what we now consider cherished holiday TV classics. Classics such as the beloved stop-motion chestnut, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.¬†Produced by Rankin/Bass productions, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first aired on December 6, 1964, and in the 51 years since this original airing, it’s become a well-established part of many viewers’ Christmas traditions.

The special eventually became a cultural icon, but there’s equal parts darkness and light in this seemingly charming holiday tale.

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