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Rudolph - Uncut and Uncensored

December 23rd, 2007 (12:05 pm)

current mood: busy
current music: Rudolph music!

I recently saw the old Rankin-Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer on DVD and was surprised to learn that the original Rudolph, as aired way back in, I think, 1964, has never been shown in its entirety since then. The very next year, the song "We're A Couple Of Misfits" was mostly replaced by a new song, "Fame and Fortune." Ever since then, it's been shown that way. In addition, various cuts have been made over the years to accomodate an ever-increasing number of commercials. Fortunately, my DVD shows the original Rudolph in its entirety, and a bonus feature includes the "Fame and Fortune" song that replaced the long version of "Misfits," so viewers can watch both ways and compare. I was surprised at the differences.

The original "We're a Couple of Misfits" is more subversive than its replacement. As you'll recall, Rudolph has just met up with Hermey (the dentist elf). They sing this song, all about how neither fits in with his peer group. But the original visuals are what surprised me. Hermie builds a snowman shaped like the Head Elf, the toymaker boss who fired him, and punches it in the face so it caves in. All this is replaced with just a few lines of that song, leading into the new and rousingly optimistic "Fame and Fortune," in which Rudolph and Hermey unrealistically anticipate the glories they assume lie ahead for them. Some of the original footage is retained, but it is spliced together with new clips, not quite as well filmed, that replace the bashing-his-boss footage with new footage in which Hermey sees a Head Elf snowman already built by some other elf, and walks up and over it without damaging his tyrannical boss's snowy face.

I wonder what kind of discussions led to those changes. Was Hermey considered a bad role model for kids, because he was shown sticking it to an authority figure? Did the network honchos or the advertisers think it was bad form for Rudolph and Hermie to run away because they felt persecuted, but OK for them to run away because they aspired to bigger and better things? Hmmmm.....

Get the DVD and watch both versions. Then tell me what you think.


Posted by: Allison Stein (astein142)
Posted at: December 24th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)

Odd. The "Misfit" song sticks in my head, but not the "Fame and Fortune" one. I guess I haven't seen it in a while.

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