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<The Following is Fiction>
Let’s take a quick walk down the holiday memory lane, shall we?
Rudolph the red nose reindeer,
Had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows,
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolf
Join in any reindeer games
Then one foggy Christmas eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright
Won’t you drive my sleigh tonight
Then all the reindeer loved him
And they shouted out with glee
Rudolph the red nose reindeer,
You’ll go down in history!
During this holiday season, you will almost certainly hear this treasured children’s song: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” And when you do, you may wonder why there isn’t a second verse. You might note that as it is, the singer or choir, in order to make a recording long enough to be of reasonable length, is forced to merely repeat the song twice or even three times.
So why no second verse? Certainly the story is meaty enough to carry one.
In any case, this is what I wondered, so I did a little research. And as it turns out, there is a second verse. But there is a reason it has never been recorded. Some might say a very good reason.
As is often the case with artistic types, the author of the original song (both verses,) Ronald Cornblatzen Timerananian (he usually went by R.C.) had issues. And this being the first song he wrote, it turned out to be a bit, we can only assume, autobiographical.
But you can see for yourself. Here is the second verse in its entirety.
‘It’s not enough you love me,’
Thus spake Rudolph the next year,
‘Or that you shout so gleeful,
Or that I’m an historic deer.’
‘I want revenge and justice
I want you to bend the knee
Let’s just go ask old Santa
You know he’ll agree with me’
‘I want you to curse the day,
You ever shamed my nose,
I, Rudolph, with my nose so bright,
Won’t hesitate to make your life a living heck tonight!’
Then all the reindeer learned great discomfiture,
Curse the day? Indeed they do.
To those who laugh and call names,
Let this be a troubling and scary warning for you.
As you can see, R.C. put his heart into this second verse. Perhaps to too great an extent. Astute song critics will note that the author didn’t limit the words to those in a young child’s vocabulary and that at points the meter and rhyming scheme is slightly. . . disturbed, so to speak. To his defense, the last stanza was to have a slightly different, a more minor, ominous and dissonant, melody.
But perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh in our judgment of Mr. Timerananian. While this verse is wrong-minded, it is worth noting that ‘heck’ wasn’t the first word choice in the third stanza. And that the author, in his earlier notes, showed that he was aware that “shiny nose” rhymed with “rubber hose” and yet had the subtlety to avoid using this coupling.
In any case, one might understand why publishers and vocalists hesitated to employ this verse in what they hoped was to become a cherished children’s Christmas song. I certainly would not recommend that you teach the second verse to your children, if you were thinking about it.
Hmmm. I wonder if “Frosty the Snowman” originally had a second verse.