We’ve all heard the story and all sung the song,
but who really knows where Rudolph came from?
Some would say ‘North Pole’, and others ‘who knows?’
But let me tell you about the deer with the famous, red nose.
Our story begins with Robert L. May,
who took a job in a store on very low pay.
Despite the low income, a job he adored,
as a writer for Chicago’s Montgomery Ward.
Rudolph, you see, was a marketing idea.
A campaign just for children to spread Christmas cheer.
One day, Robert’s boss came to see him and say
“we need something for Christmas, to give away.”
“A story” he said “for kids to enjoy.”
“A colouring book. A marketing ploy”
“Can you write it for us?” his manager asked,
and Robert L May accepted the task.
T’was a dark foggy day when the idea had struck,
Robert L. May began his great tale ’bout a buck.
He wrote of a misfit, who lived at the Pole,
a story he felt, deep down in his soul.
For May was an outcast, a small one at that
As a child he was picked on, for being just that.
So he wrote his own story with a wonderful end,
And created the legend of Rudolph and friends.
Montgomery Ward thought his story was fine,
and gave it away in nineteen thirty-nine.
The book was so popular, they needed some more,
but there was no paper because of the war.
So, after the War, in nineteen forty-six,
the reindeer was reissued and everyone fixed.
The song came much later, by a couple of years
and that brought to fame our Red Nosed Reindeer.
So ‘Where did Rudolph come from?’ I hear you say,
he was the idea of a writer named Robert L. May.
We’ve only been able to give you a taster here, so please follow the links for more of the fascinating story of Robert L. May, the copyright, and how Rudolph went from colouring book to the most famous reindeer in the world. It’s an intriguing tale of how a marketing campaign became part of popular culture.