Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass are the producers of all those holiday specials featuring puppets such as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, which airs Tuesday (Dec. 5) on ABC, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, which airs December 8 on CBS.
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.
But while Rudolph ranks as one of the most popular TV specials ever Goldschmidt says its always a mystery what scenes will air each year.
Some years, the musical numbers are edited out, and a scene where prospector Yukon Cornelius finds a peppermint mine has been missing since 1964.
Goldschmidt figures all the Rankin-Bass specials will air forever and says Burl Ives told him he was amazed that stewardesses were more likely to recognize him as Sam the Snowman from Rudolph than any of his real-life roles.
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