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Rudolph the RedľNosed Reindeer is a long-running Christmas television special produced in stop motion animation by Rankin/Bass. It first aired December 6, 1964, on the NBC television network in the USA, and was sponsored by General Electric under the umbrella title of The General Electric Fantasy Hour. The copyright year in Roman numerals was mismarked as MCLXIV instead of MCMLXIV. The special is based on the song by Johnny Marks, which was in turn taken from the 1939 poem of the same title written by Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May. Since 1972, the special has aired over CBS, which unveiled a high-definition, digitally remastered version in 2005. As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph no longer airs just once annually, but several times during the Christmas and holiday season. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest running Christmas TV special, and one of only four 1960s Christmas specials still being telecast (the others being A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman). Sam the Snowman tells the story of Rudolph, a reindeer who is born with a glowing red nose. His father, Santa's lead reindeer Donner, feels ashamed and uses a special cover to hide Rudolph's nose so Donner and his wife can send Rudolph to take-off practice a year later without Rudolph being taunted by the other yearlings. Meanwhile, an elf (with ears similar to a human's) named Hermey is undergoing problems like Rudolph's. He does not want to make toys like the other elves, but instead wants to become a dentist. The lead elf scolds him and tries to get Hermey to obey, but the young elf refuses to change his interests. In 2006, puppets of Rudolph and Santa used in the filming of this famous television special were appraised on PBS Television's Antiques Roadshow. The puppets had been damaged through years of rough handling by children and storage in an attic. In 2007, both the Rudolph and Santa puppets were restored to original condition by Screen Novelties, a Los Angeles based collective of film directors specializing in stop motion animation. Puppet fabricator Robin Walsh led the project. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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