Last night, we brought out one of our family favorites and watched Rudolph the Red- Nosed Reindeer during dinner. This Rankin and Bass claymation classic premiered on television 49 years ago (yes, folks, gear up – the 50th anniversary of Rudolph draweth nigh) which means it’s been on the planet longer than I have. It still holds up as a delicious bunch of corny, sentimental fun, even when you’ve seen it over and over as every one of us (even our 11 year old) has.
I don’t know what was in our tacos, but all three of us were in a silly, snarky mood as we watched. The end result was that we found ourselves pondering some of these age-old questions. Here they are, in no particular order.
1) How did they make Rudolph’s nose glow the way they did?
2) What’s wrong with the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys?
3) Does Rudolph actually know what a dentist is?
4) Why does Hermy the elf have hair when all the rest of the boy elves don’t?
5) Did they pattern the tall elf with glasses after Richard Deacon (on the Dick Van Dyke show)?
6) How did Rudolph know Santa’s name before they’d been formally introduced? Is this an instinctual thing, something that flying reindeer are just born knowing?
7) Does it occur to NO ONE that Rudolph’s nose might come in handy someday?
8) When Santa says “too bad, he had a nice take-off too” – does he truly believe that a glowing nose will adversely affect Rudolph’s flying ability?
9) Is there anyone who doesn’t laugh when Burl Ives quotes Donner as saying “No, this is man’s work!”?
10) How did a poodle get the job of pulling Yukon Cornelius’ sleigh?
11) Does Yukon really think he can taste silver and gold? Does he not worry that he will cut his tongue every time he licks his pick-ax?
12) When Yukon and the Bumble go over the cliff, why can’t Rudolph and his friends see him when they look over? They act like they’ve completely disappeared. If the Bumble bounces, wouldn’t they hit and just bounce back up? (Unless it’s a really, really high drop.)
13) What is IN the all-purple food that Mrs. Claus feeds Santa, enabling him to gain about a hundred pounds in just a few minutes?
14) How does Rudolph suddenly learn how to magically control his nose (at the end, when he pulls Santa’s sleigh) when before it seemed to turn on and off without him being able to control it?
15) Why does Rudolph leave the door open when he sneaks out of the house late at night to go off on his own? Wouldn’t Yukon and Hermy have frozen in that weather?
16) If King Moonracer flies all over the place looking for toys to bring to his island, why can’t he just zoom over to Christmas Town and ask Santa to help them himself?
17) Did they create Clarice’s tears out of glue?
18) And last but not least, at the end when they throw the misfit toys out of Santa’s sleigh, how did the poor bird learn to fly? He was a misfit because he could only swim, not fly. But they don’t give him an umbrella, and one can only imagine the poor creature plummeting to his death.