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Library of Congress Unveils ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Restoration

Directed by Max Fleischer and produced by the Detroit-based Jam Handy Company, 1948 animated cartoon was originally intended as a promotional piece for Montgomery Ward department stores. 

Here’s a holiday treat: the Animation Scoop blog reports that earlier this week the Library of Congress released online a restoration of the 1948 animated cartoon, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Directed by Max Fleischer and produced by the Detroit-based Jam Handy Company, the film was originally intended as a promotional piece for Montgomery Ward department stores. It was based on a Christmas giveaway created by Robert L. May, who used Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of “The Ugly Duckling” as his inspiration for the story. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer quickly became a holiday favorite and was kept in theatrical release for years afterward.

The only complete version of the original 1948 release, the Library of Congress restoration does not include the popular song most of us know so well. That song was written by May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks in 1949, and only made it onto the 1951 re-release, which is widely available on the Web.

Watch the full, restored 1948 version of the film in the player below:

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.

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