It's hard to believe that the animated classic "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" turns 50 this week. The holiday special has released a DVD to commemorate its golden anniversary.

One foggy Christmas in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer flew straight into the hearts of millions of Americans for whom watching the original CBS special has become an indispensable part of the holiday season.

The special will air for the 50th time this Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. on CBS (locally WWMT, Channel 3).

Children of all ages can also celebrate the magic of Rudolph  with a brand-new 50th anniversary collector's edition DVD and Blu-ray.  The 50th anniversary collector's edition adds a glow to the iconic music, beloved characters and heartwarming story of Rudolph's historic Christmas Eve ride and the mystical Island of Misfit Toys.

Rudolph was produced by Rankin/Bass in a revolutionary animation style they called "Animagic."  The stylized stop-motion animation brings to life the adventure of Rudolph and his very shiny nose.  Although all of the other reindeer laugh and call him names, little do they know that Rudolph and fellow outcasts Hermey and Yukon Cornelius will soon come face to face with the Abominable Snow Monster, journey to the Island of Misfit Toys – and find their way back home just in time to help Santa save Christmas.

The 2014 celebration of the 50th anniversary of Rudolph also includes tribute promos from CBS, a national roll out of the new stage show, theme park and in-mall entertainment, a Carnegie Hall concert tribute and a social-media campaign that celebrates uniqueness in association with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center's "Shine Bright" program.

The idea that Rudolph was bullied by the other reindeer has been an Internet topic since the Internet was born. The big guy, Santa, comes off as the biggest bully of all in the story, being mean not only to Rudolph, but to the elves as well. But the ending, where Rudolph uses his supposed weakness as a strength has been held up as an example of how to overcome adversity and become a stronger person.

The show is even held in high regard in Canada, where it airs annually on the CBC, partly because Canadian voice talent was used in the production.

PRNewsFoto/DreamWorks Animation
PRNewsFoto/DreamWorks Animation

I'm such a huge fan of the program, and I've watched it so many times, I've noticed several things:

  • The voice of the "Head Elf" changes midway through the show, and then changes back at the end.
  • Sure Santa returns to the Island of Misfit Toys to pick them up and deliver them to be loved by kids, but did you notice Santa delivers the Misfit toys by throwing them out of the sled at a high altitude with only an umbrella to survive? This was done to save production money, but it appears the toys are left to fend for themselves.

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