(USA Today) - Sure, you know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen, Comet, and Cupid, and Donder and Blitzen. But what about Rudolph?
The December issue of Smithsonian Magazine looks at the origins and transformation of one of the holiday season's favorite characters. Here are some facts from the museum:
Name: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Unique characteristic: Shiny red nose
Birthplace: Montgomery Ward Department Store in Chicago
Humble beginnings: Star of coloring book, written by Robert May, who almost named him "Reginald."
Family ties: Rudolph once had a son named Robbie, a brother named Rusty. Later he got a different sibling named Ralph.
Famous song recording:
The country star Gene Autry's holiday classic in 1949 sold 2 million copies its first Christmas. Bing Crosby turned "Rudolph" down. To date, 150 million copies have been sold.
TV history: The "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" television special aired 50 years ago on NBC Dec. 6, 1964.
This year, the nation's longest-running Christmas television special received the stamp of approval from U.S. Postal Service, now featuring a set of four limited-edition Forever stamps.
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