Rudolph and his nose so bright at auction will take flight

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By ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rudolph and his still shiny nose have a new home, and it’s bound to be a lot nicer than Misfit Toy Island.

Booming reindeer and Santa Claus characters who starred in the ever-beloved Christmas stop-motion animation “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” are up for auction.

The Profiles in History auction house announced Thursday that a 6-inch tall Rudolph and an 11-inch tall Santa Claus used to host the 1964 TV special are being sold together at the auction which begins on November 13 and are expected to bring in between $ 150,000 and $ 250,000.

Collector Peter Lutrario of Staten Island, New York, thought these might be the only items he would ever sell, but when he was recently 65 he thought about leaving something to his children and grandchildren.

“I always said I would die with the dolls,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m just putting family first.”

The figures were made by Japanese puppet maker Ichiro Komuro and used for filming the show at Tadaito Mochinaga’s MOM Productions in Tokyo.

They are made of wood, thread, fabric and leather. Rudolph’s nose, after minimal maintenance over the years, still lights up. Realistic Santa Claus beard bristles are made of yak hair.

Lutrario, who bought them about 15 years ago after seeing them rated on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow”, says that even after more than five decades, you can manipulate them like the original hosts did.

“They’re still malleable,” he said, “and it’s very detailed. Not only can you move your arms, legs, head, you can move your fingers, thumbs.

The show, produced by the company that would become Rankin / Bass Animated Entertainment, first aired on December 6, 1964 on NBC in the United States. He’s been a TV staple ever since with his story, based on the 1939 song, of a year when Christmas was almost canceled, the misfit reindeer who saved him, an elf dreaming of becoming a dentist and an island full. of shipwrecked toys.

The figurines would travel to the New York offices of Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. Rankin then gave them to his secretary, who gave them to his nephew, who owned them until Lutrario bought them in 2005.

The numbers, among several used to make the special, are the first encountered by auctioneers at Profiles in History, which specializes in selling rare and coveted Hollywood memorabilia.

The company said in a statement that “the rarity of these puppets cannot be overstated.”

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