Right wingers are calling this year's airing of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," the longest-running holiday special, a disgrace to the principals of democracy. It is thought that the Christmas special, which has been featured on network television for 42 years, promotes communism and is part of a left-wing conspiracy to undermine this countries values.
Analysts were not sure if it was the show's featuring capitalist prospector, Yukon Cornelius helping out the radiant reindeer and his dentist-want-a-be friend Hermey the Elf in their time of need, or if it was the close relationship of folk singer Burl Ives to Woody Guthrie and their association with the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) in the 1930's that right wing fanatics were so inflamed about.
The Communist Party of the United States of America for the first half of the 20th century played a defining role in the US Labor movement, organized and led most industrial unions and defended the rights of African-Americans until that role was taken over by the New Left and The American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's.
In "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," Ives does the voice over for the part of Sam the Snowman and sings the hit song of the same title. Many songs about America's workers and Americans having the right to absolute freedoms were popularized by both folk singers including "This Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land," "Blue Collar Tail Fly," "The Devil and The Protestant Farmer," "Wayfaring Communist Stranger," and "Do-Re-Mi" in which Guthrie admonishes his audience not to move to California unless they have money.
"Something that many people don't realize," says film critic Bob Haskins, "is that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was also one of the original clay nation pieces."
Clay nation has been popularized today by features such as Pushkin and Stalin Hobbs, Gorbechev and Grummet and Vlatimir and the Giant Potato. However rudimentary, The Mr. Bill Show was also a clay nation feature and represented more of a deconstructionist's view.
Critics say that right wingers are reading too much into the script. How do we know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer wasn't really a marketing gimmick created by some ad-man working for Sears trying give away free coloring books to the children of the parents who come in to shop during the Christmas season? What could be more American than this?
Rudolph has charmed audiences the world over and has been translated into 27 languages. It will air on CBS again next Friday, December 8th after the new Christmas special, "King of the Hill Meets Gorbechev The Red-Nosed Russian."
Check your local listings for times.