Thursday, December 06, 2007

THE RANKIN/BASS Weekend is almost here!

Snow is falling tonight in the Chicagoland area and it may this weekend as well! It's beginning to look alot like Christmas! Come out to BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC in Schaumburg, IL at Noon on Saturday and 11am on Sunday and say hello to the original RANKIN/BASS Animagic figures of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and SANTA CLAUS! You may even get to say hello to a live HERMEY THE ELF! Then come out to BROOKFIELD ZOO in Brookfield, IL to hang out with SANTA & RUDOLPH there at 5pm both SATURDAY and SUNDAY! We will have lots of RANKIN/BASS merchandise courtesy of including some EXCLUSIVES. There are some other SPECIAL things planned BUT you will have to come to the events to find out about those! Kevin and I talked to NPR Radio today about the re-stored ANIMAGIC figures! I may bring some original ANIMAGIC figures, from my collection, to these events too.

BOOK SUPPLY running low!

Just realized that our book supply on THE MAKING OF THE RANKIN/BASS HOLIDAY CLASSIC: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER HC book is running low and may not go to a 2nd printing. With the book signing events this weekend and the large amount of on-line orders we have been getting, this may be the last Holiday season that it is available. Order your copy soon!

Here is another ANIMAGIC figure that survived the years....

FATHER TIME (voiced by Red Skelton) from RUDOLPH'S SHINY NEW YEAR (which IS on THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS Deluxe Edition DVD!). He is in the collection of David Scheve Notice he is missing his right eyebrow.

The guys who made this all possible.....


Wednesday, December 05, 2007


This is the article with all the right info for this weekend's appearances.,CST-FTR-rudolph04.article
'Something tells me it's all happening at the zoo. I do believe it. I do believe it's true' PAUL SIMON

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One of CNN's most popular stories of the Day!

More Press....

There is actually an AP VIDEO with this article! I think it has Kevin and I in Ohio talking about the ANIMAGIC figures!
Click on the small pic of RUDOLPH's head to the right of the article! The picture to the left is from the Panel discussion we did Don Hilliard. It was very well recieved and a full room! The screening of the NEW RANKIN/BASS Documentary was a hit too!

I may be doing the Morning show in Chicago on NBC in the next few days!

I have the RARE RUDOLPH cd up on EBAY under seller ANIMAGIC1!
Getting reports from many fans that CBS hacked up the classic special more than they even have in the past! Appears they just do not care. They could air a GREAT RANKIN/BASS Documentary with all the players BUT have shown no interest :(

RADIO SHOW tomorrow AM 8:15am!

I am going to need some BUMBLE Hot Chocolate with the weather we have coming into Chicago right now....2-5 inches of snow. I will be on a radio show tomorrow am in the QUAD CITIES KUUL 101.3 FM at 8:15am Central time with the KUUL GUYS! You can check it out online too at They are a CLEAR CHANNEL station out of Davenport, Iowa!

Tuesday December 4th, 2007

Nice color mention in the CHICAGO SUN TIMES this am! It lists the ZOO time as 6pm, which appears to be correct. They are located at First Ave. & 31st street. The Schaumburg BORDERS is also listed for Noon both days and they are located at 1540 E. Golf Rd..

Annual RUDOLPH TV on-line book signing!

All books bought from today will be signed (and I will draw the character of your choice...include your choice with your payment). It has become a tradition to do an on-line signing when RUDOLPH makes it's annual appearance on CBS TV. This is the 43rd airing tonight! I may even include a few surprises in your package with each book order!
Photographs by Josh Goldschmidt

We were on ABC NEWS in Chicago...
The AP story is also on CNBC, BUSINESS WEEK, MSNBC, etc.

Music on Sunday!

For SUNDAY's Appearance at the Schaumburg, IL BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC, we will start a little early with THE STARVING ARTISTS at 11am! We will do a LIVE performance to support my CD RICK GOLDSCHMIDT SINGS, due to the fact that we missed our show last week with the bad weather.


December 8th and 9th we will have the original RANKIN/BASS Animagic figures at BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC in Schaumburg, IL at Noon for a two hour book signing and screening! Then we will move on to BROOKFIELD ZOO in Brookfield, IL at 5pm both days! The events there will include plenty of merchandise and prizes from and I will talk and screen some RARE RANKIN/BASS and do another book signing! If you live or are traveling to the Illinois area this will not want to miss this! The Schaumburg BORDERS is very close to O'HARE AIRPORT and BROOKFIELD ZOO is only about 30 minutes South of there. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER airs on CBS tonight! Check your local listings! Just got in more DVDs of the Un-cut 1964 Broadcast with commercials!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Trivia about TV's 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
The Associated Press
Published: December 3, 2007

Things you may not have known about the Rankin/Bass TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," which first aired in 1964:
_"Rudolph" was worked on simultaneously in New York, Japan, Britain and Canada. The concept for the show was developed in New York, the animation was done in Japan, the music was recorded in England and the voice actors were in Canada.
_Rudolph's voice was provided by a woman, Billie Mae Richards.
_Each Rankin/Bass "animagic" figure cost $5,000 to make in 1964. The production took 18 months to complete.
_The song "We're a Couple of Misfits" was replaced by "Fame and Fortune" when the special reaired in 1965. An executive with original sponsor General Electric Co. made the decision, though his reasons have never been clear. The change remained in place until 1998, when "Misfits" was put back in.

_Many fans ask, "What makes the girl doll that cries on the Island of Misfit Toys a misfit?" Nothing in the script by Romeo Muller gives any indication, but co-producer Arthur Rankin Jr. recently offered this explanation: "She was cast off by her mistress and clinically depressed, and they didn't have Prozac back then."
_The 1964 edition of the special did not show Santa going back to the Island of Misfit toys to pick up the toys. Viewers wanted to see that and wrote letters, according to Rankin's producing partner Jules Bass, so the ending we see now with the toys being dropped off Santa's sleigh with little umbrellas was animated and added in 1965.
_Johnny Marks, who wrote the original song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," was Arthur Rankin Jr.'s neighbor in New York.
Source: Rick Goldschmidt, author of "The Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic: 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.'"

Photograph by Josh Goldschmidt (Columbus, OH)


Restored 'Rudolph' Figures Make Rounds
By DOUG WHITEMAN Associated Press Writer © 2007 The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — They look terrific for a duo whose holiday act debuted 43 years ago.
Though one still carries around a spare tire of belly fat, it doesn't seem to have aged him, and the other is still a bright, shining guy despite some rough times.
Rediscovered and restored puppets of Santa Claus and Rudolph that were animated for TV's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are making holiday appearances, delighting fans of the special that has been a perennial favorite since its first airing in 1964. CBS plans to show it again Tuesday.
In the animated feature, inspired by the Johnny Marks song, Rudolph is laughed at and excluded from reindeer games over his glowing red nose. He finds acceptance at the Island of Misfit Toys before reuniting with Santa one foggy Christmas Eve.
"It's like meeting a celebrity, like meeting Clint Eastwood, or ('Batman' stars) Adam West and Burt Ward. These are icons," said Rick Goldschmidt, historian of the Rankin/Bass animation studio, who accompanied the 8-inch-high red-suited Santa and 4-inch-high yearling Rudolph with antler nubs to a comic book convention over Thanksgiving weekend.
Two years ago, the figures were acquired by current owner Kevin Kriess. Santa's face was stained, there was mold under his beard and half his mustache was gone. Rudolph was missing the red light bulb from his nose, said Kriess, a longtime fan of the special whose Harmony, Pa.-based business sells action figures and other collectibles based on movies and TV shows.
Kriess, 44, said he bought his two treasures from a person whose family had received them years ago from a relative who worked for Rankin/Bass. For many years, the delicate wood, wire and fabric puppets had been treated casually: first as toys and later as holiday decorations.
"They had Rudolph in a candy dish with candy all around him, just on a coffee table, and people would just reach in around Rudolph's body and pull out a candy cane or something," Kriess said. In the family's holiday photos, you could spot Santa slumped under a tree in a corner, he said.
Arthur Rankin Jr., who with producing partner Jules Bass created the "Rudolph" special for original sponsor General Electric, said the figures were just going to be thrown out, so his secretary took them home and gave them to family. No effort was made to preserve them, because no one imagined the show would become a hallowed classic.
"You make a film and you don't know whether it's going to work or not, whether it will have an audience," said Rankin, 83, reached by phone in Bermuda, where he is now retired. "In the case of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' it went beyond any expectations."
The firm in Japan that animated the figures likely had a half-dozen replicas of each figure, Rankin said. But he believes any other red-suit Santas and yearling Rudolphs were probably discarded, because the puppets tended to get worn out by the animators.
The firm used the "stop-motion" method _ starting and stopping a camera while arms and other parts are moved in tiny increments that appear as fluid movement in the final film.
Kriess bought his pair after he shared photos of them and what he knew about their history with Rankin, who confirmed they had been used in the filming. The sale contract requires that the purchase price and the seller's identity not be revealed, Kriess said.
He took the figures to Los Angeles stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties International, which restored them. Animal hair was found to match the surviving half of Santa's mustache, and Rudolph's red nose was rewired and now lights again. Kriess said the company did the work mostly as a labor of love and charged only $4,000 for expenses.
A few puppets of other characters are still in the possession of people who worked on the film, said historian Goldschmidt, whose books include "The Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Kriess has scheduled more pre-Christmas appearances: in the Chicago area at the Brookfield Zoo and a Borders book store Dec. 8-9, and at Kriess' new brick-and-mortar store at the Monroeville Mall near Pittsburgh the following weekend.
He hopes to make a holiday tradition out of an annual tour, though he acknowledges receiving sometimes-tempting offers for his puppets ranging up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Even if he ever sold them, Kriess said, he would require the buyer to allow him to continue exhibiting the puppets occasionally.


Doug Whiteman tells us that his RUDOLPH article has now hit the AP WIRE. BIG RANKIN/BASS weekend coming up if you live in the Chicago area...more details to follow!

Original RANKIN/BASS art for the Holidays!

Buy some original RANKIN/BASS art from Patrick Owsley! He did the DVD cover for JACK FROST (seen here) and covers for other RANKIN/BASS Holiday Classics. E-mail him at or click the link on the right to his blog! Enchanting stuff!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

RANKIN/BASS Collection Photo series #1

Per my friend Patrick Owsley's suggestion. I will post some photos of my RANKIN/BASS collection periodically. These are two RARE dolls from the RANKIN/BASS series TALES OF THE WIZARD OF OZ (1961). The charm bracelet around the Scarecrow's neck was issued as a tie in product if you bought a GENERAL ELECTRIC Iron from RETURN TO OZ (1964).


Often forgot about, this RANKIN/BASS classic remained on the CBS Network for years! It is now available on the FROSTY'S WINTER WONDERLAND DVD and I offer the soundtrack in STEREO. George Gobel and Joel Grey lent their voice to this Cel animated classic. I especially like the Paul Coker, Jr. design to the Santa Claus at the end of the special.

The MISER BROTHERS still has these EXCLUSIVE ornaments available! They have other HEAT & SNOW MISER items as well. They will also be with me at all of our appearances this weekend with lots of RANKIN/BASS Product!

Paul Coker, Jr.'s original cover art

Paul originally did the cover art for my first book with a Yellow background with swirls of colored pencil all around. We later changed it to Blue with snowflakes and added in the ANIMAGIC heads of RUDOLPH & FROSTY near the Banner.


Busy RANKIN/BASS Week coming up!

This is going to be a pretty busy and BIG RANKIN/BASS week! We just got another HUGE book order from AMAZON! RUDOLPH airs Tuesday night on CBS and Billy at tells me my RUDOLPH articles there are getting many hits. I just received more of the 1964 un-cut General Electric Fantasy Hour RUDOLPH DVDs with THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY un-cut w/ commercials and bumpers. Things are definitely hopping here!

The Laws Family

MAURY LAWS & family! Maury was a HUGE part in the longevity of the RANKIN/BASS Christmas classics! Read more about him at You will hear his Orchestrations for the 43rd Annual performance of the RANKIN/BASS TV Musical Spectacular RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER this Tuesday Night on CBS! Check your local listings.