Do you know the real story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Answer:  c; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer frist appeared in 1939 when department store, Montgomery Ward, decided to write and print their own coloring book to give away to shoppers as a promotional gimmick.

Every year department store chain, Montgomery Ward, handed out free Christmas coloring books to shoppers. In 1939, the department store decided to make their own coloring book to distribute. Montgomery Ward gave the task of creating the coloring book to their employee, Robert May. His only instructions were to make it about an animal.

Earlier that year, May’s wife had developed cancer and passed away. May was left alone to raise their daughter, Barbara. Montgomery Ward was willing to accept any work that May had completed and release him, to allow him to care for his young daughter. However, May was determined to move forward with the project.

May remembered how Barbara loved the deer when visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo. The deer became the focus of his coloring book. May added a shiny nose to represent happier times were ahead for him and Barbara.

And he was right! The coloring book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a hit! More than 2.4 million copies were distributed. However, wartime paper restrictions prevented printing of the coloring book until 1946 when it became even more popular.

This is not the end of the story. Songwriter, Johnny Marks married May’s sister, Margaret. He knew of the coloring book back in 1939 and had been jotting notes down over the years. When Marks finished the song, he asked Gene Autry to sing it. Although, Autry didn’t care for it, he recorded it on the “B” side of a record. That “B” side record became the second biggest selling Christmas song of all time.

In 1964, the popular song was the inspiration for the motion picture produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer continues to be a holiday favorite!

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