Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass are the producers of all those holiday specials featuring puppets such as Rudolph The Red- Nosed Reindeer, which airs on CBS tonight (Nov. 30), and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, which airs on ABC on Friday (Dec. 2).
TV historian Rick Goldschmidt says Rankin and Bass made 33 specials between 1964, when Rudolph debuted, and 1985 before they decided they had covered every possible holiday.
Rudolph ranks as one of the most popular TV specials ever but Goldschmidt says its always a mystery what scenes will air each year. Some years, the musical numbers have been edited out, and a scene where prospector Yukon Cornelius finds a peppermint mine has been missing since 1964.
Goldschmidt figures the specials will air forever and says Rudolph narrator Burl Ives told him he was amazed that stewardesses were more likely to recognize him as Sam the Snowman than any of his real-life roles.
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