Since May was teased as a child for his small size, he wanted to create an underdog who would succeed in the end. And Rudolph (who was almost named Rollo or Reginald!) was born.
Little known fact: Montgomery Ward executives were worried that Rudolph's red nose, which was then a symbol of drunkenness, wasn't appropriate for a children's tale. Luckily it was approved anyway!
Here's the Rudolph fame timeline:
1939 Coloring Book
1944 Cartoon Short
1950 Comic Book
1958 Golden Book
1964 Stop-Action Movie
1998 Feature-Length Movie
And now we can't picture Christmas without him. Can you imagine just coming up with a Christmas staple right off the top of your head? Way to go, May!
With pop-up action pictures!
(I could feel Charlie Brown's frustration at me as I wrote this. Yes, Chuck, it all does go back to the commercialism of Christmas!)