For most of us, watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas tradition. We’ve been watching it so long that the puppets almost seem like they’re real somehow. But, of course, the puppets are real and were made in multiples for the filming of this stop-motion animation classic. The puppets made it on to the Antiques Roadshow way back in 2006. The figures were brought in by a relative of a Bass/ Rankin employee and they are mesmerizing to see! Of course, they were never intended to stand the test of time and so do show many signs of their age.
Hundreds of puppets were made for the special which was filmed in Japan, but only a few remain. We can hope that perhaps more will surface. Since the figures were handed out to staff members after the filming was over, many of them have now been lost to time. Since the original airing of this segment, the Santa and Rudolph puppets have been sold twice and fully restored. Watch below as these rare treasures are appraised and their story is explained below.