Lost Media Archive

Original Rankin Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Credits (1964)

Black and white version of the original credits sequence.

Debuting on NBC on December 6, 1964, is the classic Christmas special Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, created by Rankin-Bass. There are actually two credits sequences to this special. The first one is the one that first aired with the special. Basically, it just shows an elf displaying presents with the credits and then dropping them from the sleigh. However, the second credits sequence has an interesting story.

Originally, King Moonracer asked Rudolph to hold a promise where he would have Santa come to the Island of Misfit Toys, and pick them up in his sleigh, giving them to the children of the world. However, fans of the special protested at the first credits sequence, and the ending entirely, because Rudolph and Santa weren't seen fulfilling the promise.

Rankin-Bass responded by making an entirely new sequence for the 1965 airing where they drop off the toys to the children of the world, discarding the original sequence entirely. This second sequence has been shown on all airings and home media releases ever since. The black-and-white version of the original ending was eventually uploaded to YouTube, and the original color version was found in 2018 on a 16mm reel of film and was planned to be included in a Rankin Bass documentary which was cancelled due to lack of funding and permission from the current owners of the Rudolph special.