It's cool just seeing these images of the original Santa and Rudolph puppets from Rankin/Bass' 1964 TV perennial classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They're so iconic, so familiar, even if that Santa was a real jerk.
It's exciting to dream about owning them. I mean, you could own them, as they've been put up for sale on eBay recently. But, what's not cool or exciting is that they are listed for TEN MILLION DOLLARS.
Now before you whip out your checkbook, put down the crack pipe and take note of how small they are. Both of them fit comfortably in a briefcase:
Also keep this 2006 Antiques Roadshow story and estimate in mind:
The man who brought them in said he got them from his aunt, who worked at Rankin/Bass in the 1970s. She bought these two puppets from the company, as well as other ones from the Rudolph production, including Yukon Cornelius and Hermey, the elf who wants to grow up to be a dentist. (She also had bought the other characters, such as Sam the Snowman, played by Burl Ives, but they "got melted in our attic," the owner explained.)
Judging by what he saw of Rudolph and Santa, Lipman was convinced that these two dolls were the original production puppets, not replicas merchandised later. "You can tell by the way they were constructed," he says, noting that they were built of wood, cloth, and plastic. "These were hand-made. They weren't toys. They had mechanisms to make them move, to make them come alive almost. Read the rest
It's true! Science proves it!
And it's more than just an effect of infrared imaging. If you duck over to Joseph Stromberg's post at the Surprising Science blog, you'll see a photo of a real, live reindeer with an adorably red nose (and upper lip).
Turns out, it's the result of an evolutionary adaptation. Some (but not all) reindeer have noses full of densely packed blood vessels — a difference that makes those reindeer better at regulating their own body temperatures.
To come to the findings, the scientists examined the noses of two reindeer and five human volunteers with a hand-held video microscope that allowed them to see individual blood vessels and the flow of blood in real time. They discovered that the reindeer had a 25% higher concentration of blood vessels in their noses, on average.
They also put the reindeer on a treadmill and used infrared imaging to measure what parts of their bodies shed the most heat after exercise. The nose, along with the hind legs, reached temperatures as high as 75°F—relatively hot for a reindeer—indicating that one of the main functions of all this blood flow is to help regulate temperature, bringing large volumes of blood close to the surface when the animals are overheated, so its heat can radiate out into the air.
Also: red-nosed reindeer on treadmills, you guys. This is clearly the most adorable science of the holiday season.
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