What to Watch Monday: Season’s first ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ airing tonight
For many of us, the Christmas season officially begins the first time we see “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on TV. The 1964 stop-motion classic is the longest-running holiday special in television history — and without a doubt, one of the most popular. If you somehow possibly don’t know the plot, it tells the story of a young reindeer born with a very shiny nose, who is ostracized and bullied by his peers (and honestly, even by Santa and his own father) because he’s different. But he becomes a hero when his shiny nose is needed to guide Santa’s sleigh through a bad storm on Christmas Eve. This Rankin & Bass production is narrated by Burl Ives, who takes the form of a vested and bespectacled snowman.
Rudolph’s story was actually first animated in 1948, in an 8-minute theatrical short directed by Max Fleischer and narrated by Paul Wing. It was based on a poem by Robert L. May, which was published by Montgomery Ward in 1939. (Note: That 1948 short will likely air on the Freeform cable channel at least a couple of times this season.) The following year, the hit song, written by Johnny Marks and sung by Gene Autry. Became a No. 1 hit on the U.S. charts. When to watch: “Rudolph” will air on television a few times over the season. But tonight’s airing is at 8 p.m. on CBS. To follow other airings and all the good holiday programming. Through the end of the year, check out our 2023 Holiday TV Guide at nando.com/WarmTV.