Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer story has been popular since it came out in 1939, but most of us know it from the 1964 stop animation film. It originally aired on NBC but since 1972 has been a CBS holiday tradition. It was filmed in 1963 at MOM Productions in Tokyo using their patented process called "Animagic".
According to a press release I just received (see it here) the puppets were housed at the Rankin/Bass Productions offices until the early 1970s when Producer Arthur Rankin, Jr. gifted the puppets to his secretary, who eventually passed them to her nephew. That nephew sold the puppets to a collector in 2005. Now that collector is putting them all up for auction as a set.
The auction is scheduled for November 13th in LA and the puppets are expected to go for around $200,000. For some reason that seems a bit low to me. Not that I can buy them but they're such a part of American history!
Japanese master puppet maker Ichiro Komuro, crafted the puppets of wood, wire, cloth, leather and yak hair and stand about 11 inches tall.
If anyone would like to buy me an early Christmas present...