A Beacon of Light for Cards and Letters

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“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the nation’s longest-running and highest-rated Christmas television special “went down in history” last week when it became the subject of the latest stamp issue. The set of four Limited Edition Forever stamps depicting Rudolph, Hermey, Santa and Bumble were created from still television frames from the special which premiered 50 years ago in 1964.

Rankin/Bass produced the television special using stop-motion animation. In this type of production, moveable models are photographed against backgrounds, giving the images their distinctive look. Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamps.

The Dec. 6, 1964, premiere featured the voice of Burl Ives as Sam, a singing snowman, who narrates the tale of a misfit reindeer who finds his own special way to shine.

In addition to the Rudolph song, the special also contains five of composer Johnny Mark’s previous songs and seven new songs that include “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Silver and Gold,” “Jingle, Jingle, Jingle,” “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year, “There’s Always Tomorrow” and “We’re a Couple of Misfits.”

The name Rudolph appears on the left side of his namesake stamp in white in the same typeface used for the credits in the original special. Santa waves cheerfully from another stamp, the reins of his magical sleigh held in one hand. The name Santa is printed in the lower right corner. On a third stamp, the Abominable Snow Monster stares menacingly from behind crags of snow. Bumble, the nickname for the Snow Monster used by prospector Yukon Cornelius is printed along the right side. The final stamp shows Hermey, the misfit elf, touching Rudolph’s glowing red nose with the name Hermey printed along the bottom edge.

The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Limited Edition Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. The special stamp set is now available at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide.

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