The original Rankin/Bass Ani-Magic Puppets of Rudolph and Santa from the 1964 TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer have finished their restoration process. The puppets spent the early half of this year residing among other modern day stop-motion puppets in one of Hollywood's leading animation studios where experts in puppet construction and preservation have been meticulously working to restore them to their original specifications. This includes detailed cleaning, careful repair of broken parts and reconstruction of a few minor missing costume pieces. Now finished the puppets arel be back in working condition, able to stand and pose as they were originally designed. For the first time in 40 years, Rudolph's nose can once again light the night with his famous red glow.
The restoration was performed by Screen Novelties (www.screen-novelties.com). Screen Novelities are famous for modern day stop-motion shows, such as Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken. The restoration experts have performed a scientific analysis of the materials used on every piece of the puppets to be sure to recreate any missing parts with an exact match. For example, only ½ of Santa's original mustache has survived. The hairs of his beard and mustache has been studied to create a perfect match to build a replacement mustache half. Careful research and consultation with the original Rankin/Bass puppets builders have been used to reconnect loose parts in just the same manner as they were originally designed. For example Rudolph's nose chamber has been rewired through the original channel to connect a working light as his nose. Every attempt has been made to keep as many original parts intact so as to keep the puppets pure and true to their original design.
The final stage in each rebuilding step was to clean and treat the components to prevent future deterioration. A very special type of cleanser (one used to clean antique priceless paintings and works of art in museums) has been used to clean the puppets. The internal metal wire (lead and copper) have oxidized and corroded over the years. These metals have been cleaned and treated with a coating that will prevent any future corrosion to keep these guys in perfect condition for all future generations to admire.
Click on each entry below for photos and captions from the restoration process.