How The Original Puppets From ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Ended Up On ‘Antiques Roadshow’


The Christmas holidays have always been my favorite time of year, dating all the way back to childhood. Nothing brings about a bigger wave of nostalgia for me than decorating the tree, stringing up Christmas lights, holiday baking, and the holiday specials that play on TV. If you were born between the mid-’60s and ’90s, you’ve likely watched Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer a time or two. And though there are many Rudolph adaptations, I’m specifically talking about the 1964 claymation special.

source: Movies Anywhere

As you may remember, a series of puppets are used to play the characters in Rudolph. There’s of course Rudolph himself, along with Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Misfit Elf, Santa, Sam the Snowman, and others. Well, many years later, the original puppets used to create the Christmas special popped up in a somewhat unlikely place.

source: NBC26 via Classic Media

Featured on Antiques Roadshow in 2005, a man approached the antiques appraiser with a Tupperware container. Inside the container were the original Rudolph and Santa puppets from the 1964 special. As it turns out, the man’s aunt had worked in television production back in the ’70s, and had been allowed to take the puppets. Check out the video below to watch this magical moment unfold:

Though the other puppets had been damaged and lost over time, miraculously, Rudolph and Santa survived. Though they were not in the best shape, they were repaired and restored. In November 2020, Rudolph and Santa were listed at auction and sold for an astonishing $368,000. The buyer, an anonymous bidder, donated the puppets to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta so that the general public can view and enjoy them as well. How absolutely wonderful!