Screen used “Rudolph” and “Santa” stop motion puppets from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Currency:USD Category:Memorabilia Start Price:150,000.00 USD Estimated At:150,000.00 - 250,000.00 USD
Screen used “Rudolph” and “Santa” stop motion puppets from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
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Screen used "Rudolph" and "Santa" stop motion puppets from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Rankin/Bass, 1964) Beautifully crafted by Japanese puppet maker Ichiro Komuro, the puppets are crafted of wood, wire, cloth, leather and yak hair. Santa stands 11 inches tall and Rudolph stands 6 inches. The 1964 television special was filmed in stop motion "Animagic" at Tadahito Mochinaga's MOM Productions in Tokyo, Japan. Following the production, these puppets were sent from Japan to New York, eventually landing (via NBC studios), to the offices of Rankin/Bass Productions, founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass, which produced Rudolph and other animated seasonal television specials including Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. The puppets remained with the production company until the early 1970s when, upon moving their offices, Arthur Rankin, Jr. gifted the puppets to his secretary, Barbara Adams, who, in turn passed them along to her nephew. The puppets remained with the nephew until he sold them to a collector in 2005. In 2006, both puppets underwent light professional restoration. Rudolph's nose bulb and some electrical wiring were replaced, and his fur was cleaned. For Santa, the white fur ball on the end of his hat and the yak hair on one side of his moustache were replaced, and he was cleaned. The puppets are accompanied by a custom, North Pole-themed display base with ice-capped mountains, Christmas trees and presents.

The Rudolph character first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert Lewis May and published by department store Montgomery Ward. The Rudolph story was later adapted in numerous forms, including a 1948 theatrical cartoon short, and a year later, May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, wrote the eponymous song famously recorded by Gene Autry that hit No. 1 in the charts the week of Christmas 1949, selling 2.5 million copies the first year and eventually reaching an astounding 25 million copies (it remained the second best-selling record of all time until the 1980s). Without question, the best-known version of all Rudolph adaptations is the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Rankin/Bass Christmas television special. Producers Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass did not have a copy of the original book and used only the Johnny Marks song as source material, so they hired screenwriter Romeo Muller who crafted an original story around the central narrative of the song, one that differed from the book. This re-telling chronicles Rudolph's social rejection among his peers and his decision to run away from home, joining an outcast elf, Hermey, who rejected toy-making in favor of pursuing his interest in becoming a dentist, and a boisterous gold prospector Yukon Cornelius. Additional original characters include Clarice, Rudolph's love interest, the terrifying (for young children) Abominable Snow Monster, and Sam, the living, singing snowman who served as narrator (voiced by Burl Ives). The show has aired annually during the holidays and is hailed as a classic. The characters have reached iconic status permeating pop culture in the 50+ years since its original airing.

Exceedingly rare, these primary character puppets are the only examples from this multi-generational holiday classic film we have ever encountered, and they remain as icons in stop motion animation as well as American pop culture. Their significance in the history of popular culture cannot be overstated. $150,000 - $250,000