This Day in Pop Culture for January 7
1950: ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Hit…Twice
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started as a giveaway storybook written in 1939 for Montgomery Ward department stores. Robert L. May from the company’s marketing department came up with the story. More than two million copies of the book went out to customers, but most of the world was still unaware of this reindeer until ten years later when May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, put the story to music. Harry Brannon was the first to sing the song, but it was Gene Autry’s version that is the most famous. At first Autry rejected the song, but his wife talked him into recording it. It sold more than two million copies in its first year and became the first #1 song on the U.S. pop charts this week in 1950. It is also known as the only chart-topping song to fall completely off the charts after making the #1 spot. Ironically, the same original song landed on the Billboard Hot 100 list landing in the #27 spot on December 22, 2018!
- 1912: Charles Addams (cartoonist)
- 1948: Kenny Loggins (singer)
- 1956: David Caruso (actor)
- 1957: Katie Couric (TV journalist)
- 1964: Nicolas Cage (actor)
- 1970: Doug E. Doug (actor)
- 1971: Jeremy Renner (actor)
- 1894: William Kennedy Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.
- 1927: The first transatlantic telephone serve was established from New York City to London.
- 1955: Marian Anderson became the first person of color to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.
- 1999: The Senate trial in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton began.