Friday, 16 December 2011
Popularly known as Santa's Ninth Reindeer, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was originally created in 1939 by a copy-writer named Robert L. May in a poem for his employer, retailer Montgomery Ward, as part of their Christmas promotional drive.
The poem, entitled simply Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which was written to the meter of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas' (see December 8th entry) was published in its own booklet and given away in store (up until that point the retailer bought colouring books to give away at Christmas, but decided to save money by creating their own giveaway book). For that first year of publication over 2.4 million copies of the booklet were given away to customers.
Ten years later Johnny Marks - the brother-in-law of Rudolph creator Robert L. May - adapted the poem as a hit song, which remains as popular today.