By Brad Edwards

OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — A holiday tradition that has spanned the test of time marked a milestone Tuesday night as the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special celebrated its 50th anniversary.

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards talked to the Oak Lawn man who wrote the book on the special.

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Rick Goldschmidt, official historian and biographer for Rankin Bass Productions, has a lot of stuff, especially on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, who was first a poem in 1939 but came alive with the special.

Goldschmidt says it still resonates today because of, “A lot of heart and warmth that you don’t see in a lot of entertainment.”

“When everything comes together in one perfect package, like it’s so right … the creators need to get credit for that.”

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His books on said topic do that. He’d be-friend Arthur Rankin, the main mind behind it, write about the animagic to make it, frame-by-frame stop animation mastered in Japan, but none of that explains 50 years.

His friend, Arthur Rankin, died in January, but not his story of misfits: the elf that wants to be dentist, and Ruldoph. He had a funny nose … and no love until Rudolph with that nose so bright, went to guide the sleigh that night. Then, it’s history replayed every year.

Goldschmidt says he thinks it will still be on television in another 50 years.

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The special was initially expected to last two years. It was created to sell General Electric appliances.

Brad Edwards