We had to tap wikipedia.org for much of this information
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as “Santa’s 9th Reindeer” and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team’s path through inclement winter weather.
Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward.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 a feature film. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P. Although the story and song are not public domain, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore.Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. May considered naming the reindeer “Rollo” and “Reginald” before deciding upon using the name “Rudolph”. In its first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph’s story were distributed by Montgomery Ward. The story is written as a poem in the meter of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is loved by millions and still selling copies. Publication and reprint rights for the book “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” are controlled by Pearson Plc.
The song was first sung commercially by crooner Harry Brannon on New York city radio in the latter part of 1948, before Gene Autry recorded it formally in 1949, and has since filtered into the popular consciousness.
The lyric “All of the other reindeer” can be misheard in dialects with the cot-caught merger as the mondegreen “Olive, the other reindeer”, and has given rise to another character featured in her own Christmas television special, Olive, the Other Reindeer. (Coincidentally, she mentions Rudolph by name to one of the reindeer, and the reindeer tells her Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer doesn’t exist; it’s all an urban legend.)
The song in its Finnish translation, Petteri Punakuono, has led to Rudolph’s general acceptance in the mythology as the lead reindeer of Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa. However, in Finland, Santa’s reindeer do not fly.
Autry’s version of the song also holds the distinction of being the only number one hit to fall completely off the chart after hitting #1 the week of Christmas, 1949. The official date of its #1 status was for the week ending January 7, 1950 making it the first #1 song of the 1950’s. Nonetheless, it sold 2.5 million copies the first year, eventually selling a total of 25 million, and it remained the second best-selling record of all time until the 1980s.
Think you know all the words to Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.,
But do you recall?
The most famous reindeer of all?
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!