For more than 50 years, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, Channel 12, CBS) has delivered a Holly, Jolly Christmas to millions of viewers, making plenty of silver and gold for CBS since its premiere in 1964.
I'll overlook the fact that "Rudolph," the longest-running annual holiday TV special, is about discrimination and intolerance of those who are different -- and not just a young buck with a beacon beak who wasn't allowed to play any reindeer games, as the famous Johnny Marks song goes.
On the TV special, there's also Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist, and all the different children's gifts banished to the Island of Misfit Toys: a lion with wings, a spotted elephant; a caboose with square wheels; a cowboy who rides an ostrich; and a water pistol which shoots jelly.
To me, what makes "Rudolph" a Christmas classic are the eight other songs also written by Marks in the one-hour special: "Silver and Gold," "Jingle Jingle Jingle," "We Are Santa's Elves," "We're A Couple of Misfits," "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year," "There's Always Tomorrow," "Fame and Fortune" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas."
"Silver and Gold" was a hit for folk singer Burl Ives, who narrates the story as the Snowman. "Rudolph" was a hit in 1949 for country singer Gene Autry.
Marks, who died in 1985 at age 75, also wrote "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" for Brenda Lee and "Run Rudolph Run" recorded by Chuck Berry.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, CBS repeats "Rudolph" at 8 p.m., followed by "Frosty the Snow Man." The repeats are not in my huge 20-page 2017 Holiday Program Guide, but all your other favorites are listed there.
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas! It's the best time of the year.