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Montgomery Ward: ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Book, 1939

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One of its’ many Christmas stories found in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is the still very popular story about a "Red-Nose Reindeer," which came to be known as Santa’s ninth reindeer especially on very foggy nights.

Montgomery Ward Department Store gave away free coloring books for Christmas every year; however, an executive at the famous retail store felt they would be able to save a lot of money if they produced their own give away items in house.

Therefore, some 74 years ago a copywriter named Robert L. May, at Montgomery Ward, agreed to write a Christmas story for the promotional. During the first year of publication, there were 2.4 Million copies of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” booklets distributed.

May’s brother in-law, was a songwriter, Johnny Marks, decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into a children’s Christmas holiday song. Gene Autry in 1949, was asked to record the Johnny Mark’s musical version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, L.P. and has been adapted in numerous forms including a popular song, a television special and sequels, and a feature film and sequel. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P. In many countries, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore, according to an article in Wikipedia.

The story narrates the experiences of Rudolph, a youthful reindeer buck (male) who possesses an unusual luminous red nose.

Teased mercilessly and excluded from any reindeer games, but Rudolph manages to prove himself one Christmas Eve after Santa Claus catches sight of Rudolph's nose and asked Rudolph to lead his sleigh that night.

Rudolph agrees, and is finally accepted by all of the reindeer for his wonderful bright red nose, which had lead the way; therefore, Christmas would not be cancelled due to the weather.

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