‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’: Why Was the Original Ending Changed?

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is a classic Christmas TV special. Every year families gather to watch the tale of their favorite reindeer and other misfits. Everyone knows the show by heart, yet what may come as a surprise is there was an alternate ending. Read on to learn about the original finish and why it was changed.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' characters Rudolph, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, Snowman, and Santa.
Hermey, Rudolph, Head Elf, Yukon Cornelius, Sam the Snowman, and Santa Claus I NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ original ending didn’t include the Misfit Toys

Rudolph is a popular Christmas TV special because of its essential life lessons of being different and accepting others. After being ridiculed for his shiny red nose, Rudolph and his new friend Hermey the elf run away. Along the way, they meet Yukon Cornelius, who joins them in their journey.

The trio ends up on the island of Misfit Toys, which includes a spotted elephant, Charlie in a Box, and a bird that swims. The unwanted toys were brought to the island by King Moonracer, who hoped to find homes for them. After a talk with King Moonracer, Rudolph promises that he’ll get Santa to find homes for the toys when he returns.

As seen in the Christmas special, Santa promises Rudolph to help with the Misfit Toys. Viewers are accustomed to the ending of Santa delivering the Misfit Toys to their new homes. However, according to IMBD.com, the original ending shows Santa, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer flying off but never arriving on the island.

Children demanded the Misfit Toys be included in the ending

When the original ending of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was shown in 1964, it sparked outrage among younger viewers. Children were so upset over the Misfit Toys not being included in the finale that they wrote letters to the studio. The response was overwhelming that the producers and writers decided to switch the final scene.

The following year, children were happy with the changes to the Christmas TV special. Santa arrives at the island to pick up the Misfit Toys in the new scene. As the closing credits air, an elf gives an umbrella to each toy as they fly away to their new home.

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is still a famous Christmas special

Since its premiere in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become a must-watch special every Christmas. The show initially debuted on NBC but now has a new home with the CBS Network. For anyone who missed the original airing on CBS, they have a chance to catch a rerun.

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Freeform will be showing the classic Christmas special on Dec. 24 at 9 pm and again on Dec. 25 at 5:40 pm. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventures of Rudolph, Hermey, and the Misfit Toys.