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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Robert May

"Everything connected with Rudolph has a touch of miracle about it, a kindly star."

American Writer
1905 - 1976

Fame and fortune are strange bedfellows.  Most artists and writers desire to make a living from their creative output.  Few do.  Robert May created the character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as part of a promotional story he wrote as a copywriter for Montgomery Ward in 1939.  Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million copies that year.  Since May worked for Montgomery Ward, the company owned the copyright and May received no royalties.  He persuaded  the president of Montgomery Ward to give him the copyright in 1947 and this one creation gave him fame and fortune.

As writers and artists, we never know which story or painting is going to be remembered throughout history.  Many writers produced hundreds of poems or stories, but only are remembered for one or two.  Many painters spend a lifetime painting, but only a few of their works are well known to the general public.  We have no way of knowing which work of art is going to catch the imagination of the general public.  Think of the Charles Dickens story of The Christmas Carol, one of the most retold stories of our time.  

Enjoy your celebration of the holidays and I hope that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer paid you a visit.