ORLAND PARK, Ill. - It wouldn’t be the holidays without television specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
The history of this beloved classic endures in the southwest suburbs.
The holiday display at the Orland Park Public Library is a museum-quality collection of Christmas treasures. The enchanted world of Rankin Bass Productions.
Watching the most famous reindeer of all on TV is a tradition since it debuted in 1964.
Stop motion animation was a novelty, now it’s nostalgia.
“I think nostalgia right now is at an all-time high with what's going on in the world today. I find that a lot of people remember the Rankin Bass specials as part of their holidays,” said Rick Goldschmidt, Rankin Boss Productions official historian.
Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy are under the stewardship of Goldschmidt, who worked alongside Arthur Rankin for 30 years.
“I called him up, I said there should be a book and Arthur said send me two chapters. I did, he liked them and I wrote the first book,” Goldschmidt said.
He wrote six books and collected ten-times what you see in the exhibit.
Not all kids these days are familiar with Rankin Bass Productions but they know Frosty and Rudolph. However, there are two other characters that are most often mentioned.
“They don’t remember the name of the specials usually, but everyone that comes by my table at a convention points out the Heatmiser and Snowmiser,” Goldschmidt said.
Rankin Bass characters endure because of their unforgettable voices.
“Burl Ives, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Durante, the list goes on and on,” Goldschmidt said.
Fans are re-discovering simple pleasures.
“People like looking back at it because it makes them feel good. That’s the easiest way to explain it,” said Goldschmidt.
That wholesome feeling is passed to the next generation, just in time.