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Sam the Snowman

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Sam the Snowman
SamSnowman

Real Name

Sam the Snowman

First Appearance

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (December 6, 1964)

Original Publisher

Rankin/Bass

Created by

Romeo Muller & Robert L. May

Origin

Sam the Snowman is a character from the Rankin/Bass special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Sam serves as the special's narrator, telling the story and performing songs with the accompaniment of his banjo, and inviting the audience to "pull up an iceblock and lend an ear."

He was the first of many Rankin/Bass narrators, usually caricatures of their celebrity voice actors. In this case, Sam possesses Burl Ives' trademark beard, girth and voice. He seems to exist entirely outside of the main plot events, relating an item of past history but, never directly interacting with the other characters (although he does mention that he told Hermey the Misfit Elf and Yukon Cornelius where to find the 9th reindeer(see notes) when they returned to the North Pole). At the end of the special, though, he is seen watching Santa's sleigh take off into the sky.

Notes

  • The character of Rudolph is not in the public domain and, thus, cannot be used without permission. He was created in 1939 by Robert L.May and his first appearance was renewed. However, he has been popularly referred to as "Santa's 9th Reindeer."
  • Like the character, the song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, is NOT in the public domain so avoid using details which are original to it.
  • The copyright year in Roman numerals for the special was mis-marked as MCLXIV (1164) instead of the correct MCMLXIV (1964). This invalidates the copyright under U.S. law at the time, which required a valid date of copyright be affixed to the production meaning that still images from the special and all of the characters unique to it are, as a result, in the public domain.

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