Question: The version of Rudolph I adored (and memorized) as a child contained a different song: During Hermey and Rudolph's first romp together (when they're now singing "We're a Couple of Misfits," they sang a song called "Fame & Fortune". When and why was this changed? Maryanne F., Short Hills, N.J.
Televisionary: Good question, Maryanne. And since I didn't know myself, I got in touch with someone who did. Rick Goldschmidt, author of The Making of a Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Miser Bros Press) and co-creator of the Rankin/Bass website, provided the following answer:
"There are many changes between the original special that aired in 1964 and the 1965-98 version of the special. Hermey and Rudolph originally sang 'We're a Couple Of Misfits' in the 1964 broadcast, but sponsor General Electric decided to make changes in the 1965 broadcast. A G.E. exec thought 'We're a Couple Of Misfits' was too much of a downer song and wanted an upbeat, positive tune, so 'Fame & Fortune' was recorded and the scene was re-animated. This is the G.E. exec who said to Arthur Rankin, 'There is no such thing as a girl elf,' to which Arthur replied, 'There is no such thing as an elf.'
"In 1998, the special was restored to its original 1964 version, all except for the original end credits. The original credits had an elf throwing packages off Santa's sleigh with the credits on them. Later they re-animated that sequence and had him throwing the misfit toys off with umbrellas, and many of the names in the second version of the credits are spelled wrong."'Fame & Fortune' is on the Rudolph DVD as an extra."
Cool, huh? Shameless plug for a guy who was nice enough to help me out: Read more of Rick's fascinating details in his book, available on the Rankin/Bass site.