12 December 2009

Rejected Reindeer

So I recently did a post about the Rejected Dwarf names, and today heard that good old Rudolph song on the radio, and got to wondering where these names came from?
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. And we all recall the most famous reindeer of all: Rudolph
Are there any rejected reindeer names?!? YES!

Most sources will tell you that the original eight reindeer names came from the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem written in 1893 by Clement Clarke Moore. However, sources now seem to think Henry Livingston Jr. in 1808.* Either way, whoever wrote it just made up the original eight reindeer names!

  • The name Dasher means to be quick or a name of speed.
  • Dancer and Prancer describe names that are graceful and elegant. Vixen is a female fox, which also symbolizes speed or swiftness.
  • Comet is a large ball of fire that travels through space at a very high speed.
  • Cupid also has to do with flying since he has wings.
  • Thelast two reindeer names are Donner and Blitzen. Dunder and Blixem were the original names, which mean Thunder and Lightning in Dutch. Of course, thunder and lightning means power and force.


But then in 1939, Robert May was working for Montgomery Ward Department Stores and he wrote a promotional holiday pamphlet that was given to 2 million customers. He penned a story of an underdog reindeer, taunted for a his abnormal nose, which glows bright red. Original name ideas, Rollo and Reginald, were rejected for being too cheerful and too British, respectively. (I hate British reindeer, too. I mean WHAT)

And so, Rudolph was born.

He didn't really become popular, though, until in 1949, Robert's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks wrote the song, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, " based on Robert's book. In 1948, on New York radio, Harry Brannon was the first person to sing this song. This was the year before Gene Autry recorded it in 1949. By 1950 it was the most popular Christmas song on the radio.

In the song, the phrase "All of the other reindeer" has been misinterpreted as "Olive the other
reindeer.” Olive is another fictional character that was created afterward. He's the most popular other reindeer, but for more, see this list.

*To see this poem in German, click here.

No comments: