|The Tampa Film Review for December by Nolan Canova
"Yes Man" by Mike Smith
Christmas Matinees -– Forgotten Holiday Turkeys! by ED Tucker
R.I.P. Bettie "Queen of Curves" Page, 1923-2008 by Lisa Ciurro
Whatever Happened To Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? by Paul Guzzo
|GROWING UP FANBOY
March of the Wooden Soldiers by Chris Woods
Last Week .... So What He Really Wants To Do Is Direct? .... Movie Notes .... Music Notes .... Passing On .... The Year That Was: Part One .... .... .... And The Oscar Should Have Gone To... by Mike Smith
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All views in this article are solely the views of the subject of the article – Rudolph – and not those of Crazedfanboy.com or the writer of this column, Paul Guzzo. IT’S A FAKE COLUMN, PEOPLE! A JOKE! Enjoy...
You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?
Of course you know the most famous reindeer of all! Who doesn’t? Since the 1939 release of Robert L. May’s story about how Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer saved Christmas one foggy Christmas Eve, Rudolph has been as household a name as Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Hulk Hogan. You’d be hard pressed to find a single person who hasn’t heard the famous song, seen the television movie or read one of the numerous books based on his life that followed the release of Rudolph’s biography in 1939. Yes, Rudolph’s story is known worldwide, BUT, the story you all know covers only a small portion of Rudolph’s life.
Rudolph is no longer the young and energetic reindeer you see in the television movie every year. He is older, wiser and more mature. He has two college degrees and a new career. No, he doesn’t deliver toys anymore. He has a new calling in life – activism.
“I just want to do my part to make life easier for the reindeer,” said Rudolph as he sipped his café con leche at King Corona in Ybor City. “Life was hard on us in the early years. We had no insurance, no benefits, no overtime and we performed backbreaking labor. It was tough. I hope I can do my part to help the new generation of reindeer get ready to take over for my generation – Dasher and the rest – who are now all ready to retire.”
Over the past year, he has done wonders for the reindeer. He unionized them, and soon after the insurance, benefits and overtime pay were quickly provided to them by Santa. He even convinced Santa to provide the reindeer with hazard pay.
“When they deliver those toys, they have to worry about airplanes and traveling through no-fly zones, plus they have to inhale all that pollution,” said Rudolph. “And don’t even get me started on how dangerous it is to deliver toys to Alaska, especially to Governor Palin’s house. Wow. Luckily, we wear bulletproof vests now.”
He also convinced Santa to release the reindeer from their exclusivity contracts and instead hire them as independent contractors, which allows the reindeer to earn money outside of the North Pole.
“As more and more airlines go bankrupt, as we search for alternative fuel sources, and as the world becomes more and more green, it just makes sense for people to begin traveling via reindeer,” said Rudolph. “Every country in the world will soon be traveling via reindeer, except the U.S., though. I think I need to hire a lobbyist to convince the U.S.”
And Rudolph’s activism goes beyond reindeer. He travels the world to educate people on the effects of Global Warming.
“Unfortunately, not all the melted ice and snow has a magic hat like Frosty that will turn it back to ice or snow,” he said. “This is a project that is dear to my heart. Though I do wish Al Gore would leave me alone. Who would ever have thought that a former vice president could look crazier than a talking reindeer? But hey, at least he finally shaved his beard.”
Rudolph also donates all proceeds he makes off his likeness in movies, songs and books to charity.
“My favorite new charity is Help Republicans Cope,” said Rudolph. “They want to build a center for Republicans from the United States who are having a hard time accepting that Barack Obama won the presidency. I’ve never seen such a problem in all my years. We need to study this phenomenon and learn why they can’t seem to accept that the United States wants a Democrat for president, and we need to find a cure! At first I thought they couldn’t accept it because of greed and stupidity, but it’s impossible for anyone to be that greedy and stupid, right?”
If there are two things Rudolph seems to know a lot about, it’s greed and stupidity. Rudolph has not always been the civic-minded reindeer he is today. What most people don’t know is what happened to Rudolph after he saved Christmas, what happened to him after fame and fortune came his way.
“My life took a definite turn for the worse,” said Rudolph, still ashamed all these years later of how he acted as a young reindeer. “I was just a kid when my story became world news. I was the most famous reindeer in the world and I was way too young to deal with everything that came with this fame and fortune.”
Suddenly, the most popular toy Santa Claus was delivering every Christmas was a Rudolph doll. Rudolph also had his own comic book and the song seemingly played 24/7. He was attending Hollywood parties, throwing out the first pitch at Major League ballparks throughout the United States, enjoying the company of the most beautiful reindeer groupies, and had a posse of elves that at times seemed to outnumber Santa’s.
Soon, Rudolph’s fame was becoming a distraction for all the citizens of the North Pole. Fans and paparazzi flocked to the North Pole and waited outside Rudolph’s house all night long for a glimpse of him when he walked outside to collect the morning newspaper.
To make matters worse, Rudolph believed his press and thought he was better than the other reindeer. He would disrespect them by calling them names, such as “Dumb Donner,” “Always Blitzed Blitzen,” and “Pixie Prancer,” and would host giant parties at his house, never inviting his coworkers, telling them they “simply weren’t cool enough to come.”
“Deep down inside, I was still resentful of the other reindeer who used to call me names and never let me play in any reindeer games,” explained Rudolph. “I always thought they robbed me of my childhood.”
In fact, just months after he saved Christmas, the rift between Rudolph and his coworkers became so wide that the other reindeer threatened to quit if Santa Claus allowed Rudolph to lead the sled another year. Santa knew the public wanted to see a Rudolph-led sled, though, so appeased the egos of his other reindeer by giving them a raise. But this was only the first of many problems.
Rudolph’s all-nighters were catching up to him physically, as he became red-eyed, bloated and paunchy. To compound the issue, he often overslept the reindeers’ mandatory daily workout sessions. When Rudolph showed up for Christmas Eve duties in 1941, just two years after May’s story on him was released, he was completely out of shape, and on multiple occasions that night the sleigh had to pull over so he could catch his wind. During one delivery, he even threw up on a roof. His fellow reindeer thought he was throwing up from exhaustian and Rudolph went along with that story, but the truth was that the constant partying had done more than destroy his cardiovascular agility. Rudolph was an addict.
He said he was drinking throughout the day. He was hiding bottles of Jack and Jim in snow drifts throughout the North Pole, allowing him to sneak a drink wherever he was. He was also addicted to pain pills of all kinds, and they were easily accessible to a reindeer of his stature.
“My friend Hermey provided me with them,” said Rudolph. “Hermey is the elf who helped me save Christmas. After that, he fulfilled his lifelong dream and became a dentist, the most successful dentist in the North Pole. Thanks to the fame the movie brought him, he was able to open a chain of dental offices.
“And rather than be happy for him, I used him. I would call him and remind him how he owed all his success to me, so he owed it to me to give me pills. He always obliged, and I could see it eating him up inside. But I didn’t care. I was a monster.”
Cocaine was next on Rudolph’s list, and thanks to his red nose and the fact that snow was everywhere, it was easy to hide his addiction and the drugs.
Rudolph finally hit rock bottom in the 1960s at a charity event for orphans featuring himself and Frosty the Snowman. The plan was for Rudolph to fly onto the stage and begin singing. Halfway through the song he was supposed to place Frosty’s magical hat on his melted body on stage. It would have been a moment to remember for the orphans, seeing Frosty pop to life before their very eyes. Instead, it was a nightmare. Rudolph showed up drunk and halfway through the song, threw up in the hat.
“I did remember to put it on Frosty’s melted body, though,” said Rudolph. “It was a mess. Not a good sight.”
On the way home that night, a still-tipsy Rudolph was pulled over by the North Pole’s Reindeer Police Force. Rudolph thought his fame and fortune would get him off the hook. Fortunately, it didn’t.
“I was beligerant,” he remembered. “I thought I was untouchable, so I cursed at the reindeer cop. He arrested me and gave me an FWI. The judge was so tired of my antics that he set bail at $1 million.”
The next day, Santa visited Rudolph in jail and told him that he’d convinced the judge to release Rudolph and drop all charges if he went to rehab. At first Rudolph refused to enter, but Santa finally convinced him.
“He told me he loved me and that it was killing him to see me killing myself,” remembered Rudolph. “So I did it for him. And he told me when I was released that I could have my old job back.”
But when Rudolph completed his rehabilitation program, he was too embarrassed to return to the North Pole. He moved to Wisconsin in the United States, grew a beard, dyed his nose black, and took a job as an accountant, never telling anyone his true identity. And so he lived for over three decades, until last Christmas.
By 2007, he’d earned degrees in both Business and Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin. While in college, he began subscribing to La Gaceta Newspaper, the nation’s only tri-lingual paper.
“It allowed me to practice three languages every week,” he explained.
In November 2007, in the English section’s famous “As We Heard It” column, he read the following news:
“We hear Christmas may be canceled this year. Due to the increasing population and the growing size and weight of gifts, Santa is not sure his reindeer can pull the sled this year.”
Rudolph was devastated. No Christmas? Something had to be done. Suddenly, his business education kicked in and he came up with the answer. He shaved his beard, cleaned off his nose and rushed off to the North Pole.
When he landed outside Santa’s house, he was mobbed with friends, family and fans who thought he had been dead. He had no time for explanations, though. He pushed his way through the crowd into Santa’s house.
“Before Santa could say a word, I looked at him and exclaimed, ‘Christmas will go on!’” said Rudolph.
His plan was to begin delivering the toys two weeks early, not to the children, though, but rather to pickup points throughout the world. Each nation would have its own pickup point with every toy to be delivered in that country on Christmas Eve. The pickup points would be manned by elves. Santa and the reindeer would then fly back to the pickup points, have the elves load the toys on Christmas Eve, and then Santa and the reindeer would deliver each load to the children in that country. This way, the reindeer didn’t have to try and carry every toy in one load.
Once again, Rudolph saved Christmas. But, this time, he wouldn’t let it go to his head.
Afterward, Santa and the reindeer asked Rudolph to lead the sled, and he declined.
“I realized I had a new calling in life,” said Rudolph. “Reindeer activism. Rather than live in the spotlight, I think I now prefer to sit in the background and find ways to make the lives of my fellow reindeer a little easier. I don’t think I’m ready to handle the spotlight again. I’m still in recovery. But by being an activist, I can stay involved.”
Yes, Rudolph is now doing more than saving Christmas. Now, he is saving the world.
Only this time, he promises not to let success go to his head.
"Filmlook" is ©2008 by Paul Guzzo. All graphics unless otherwise noted are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.