2014 49¢ Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
In 1939, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward created a children’s book as a Christmas promotion. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a hit, spinning off a song of the same name that became a holiday classic. Twenty-five years later, Rudolph’s tale was turned into a television special. It has been shown annually since 1964, making Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the longest-running Christmas television special in history.
Robert May was the ad man who wrote Rudolph’s story. The young father was given the assignment as his wife battled cancer. May consulted often with his four-year-old daughter Barbara as he composed the tale, changing the story to please her. When shown the finished story, May’s employer asked, “Can’t you come up with anything better?” But the executive agreed to publish May’s fable of an adventurous reindeer, and customers snatched up 2.4 million copies. May’s brother-in-law set the tale to music, creating the second-best selling Christmas song in history.
The narrative and song were combined to produce the television special, which was filmed using a process known as stop-motion animation. The technique seems quaint and slightly nostalgic today, which may be part of the reason Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fits the holiday season so well.
These stamps were issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the animated Christmas classic, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The art for the stamps comes from still frames from the special. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the longest-running and highest-rated Christmas special on TV.
Value: 49¢ to satisfy the first-class mail rate
Issue Date: November 6, 2014 – the 50th anniversary of the show’s premiere
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 500 million
Printed By: CCL Label Inc.
Printing Method: Photogravure in sheets of 120, with six booklet panes of 20 per sheet
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 X 10 ¾