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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) – DVD Review

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Written by: Robert May & Romeo Muller
Directed by: Kizo Nagashima & Larry Roemer
Starring: the voices of Burl Ives, Larry D. Mann, Billie Mae Richards, Paul Soles, Janet Orenstein


  • Interactive Trivia Game
  • “Fame and Fortune” song
  • Original TV Promo
  • ReadSpeak Action Captions

Released by:
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Own it

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose and, if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer…oh hell, you know the story. But this DVD tells you the untold story of Rudolph; how he and his friends, Yukon Cornelius (Mann) and Hermey the elf (Soles), conquered and tamed the dreaded Abominable Snowman, how he and his friends saved the toys on the Island of Misfit toys, and how he won the heart of Clarice the Regular-nosed Reindeer (Orenstein). That’s right, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer: Wild Beast Tamer, Philanthropist, Lover.

[ad#longpost]This television show is one of the more well-known of the Rankin/Bass collaborations. Watching it really brings a couple of things to light: first of all, how writing for television has changed over the years. There were several moments where I was thinking “Damn, I can’t believe they used to get away with saying that.” And if you recall, this show was a pioneer of stop-motion animation.

This DVD has some really interesting features on it. The trivia game presented on this disc poses some questions that actually make you stop and think for a second. The production company was smart in making this feature fun not only for the little kiddies, but also for their parents. One feature that I found somewhat annoying, but saw some potential benefit from, is the ReadSpeak Action Captions. This feature shows the written words actually coming out of the mouths of the characters as they speak them. It’s kind of difficult to explain, so I hope the picture shown here will give you some clue as to what this looks like. Anyway, if you have a child that is learning to read, this might actually help them in some way.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Menu

Even though I’m usually not impressed by production companies including their original promos for the show you just watched, this one proves to be a little piece of television history. Watching it really shows how far promos have come over the years and it’s worth looking at for perspective. However, what could have been a wonderful opportunity for some great insight into the creation of this series is dwindled away by having Arthur Rankin tell the story of Rudolph in a really bland way while trying to give some sort of bizarre analysis of the characters in the story. It’s really disappointing.

Readspeak Example from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Still, there’s no reason to wait for this to get shown during the holiday season (unlike It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Story, which start somewhere every hour on the hour). It’s worth having for nostalgia if nothing else, but for those with kids it’s even more of a need-to-have.

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