According to Gene Autry’s official biographer, Holly George-Warren – in the book Public Cowboy # 1: The Life and Times of the Gene Autry – the country singer wasn’t too keen on recording the song at first, but songwriter Johnny Marks – who also wrote the original Rudolph the red nosed reindeer story in 1939 – convinced Autry’s music director Carl Cotner to convince him. Cotner’s widow Juanita recalled the situation, saying that Marks Marks told Cotner he “would give you a share of the action if you did.” Cotner replied, “Well, I don’t want that. ”
Juanita joked that “it wasn’t a good deal [decision], but it was Carl. “Finally,” Carl had said to Gene, “I think this is a good song for you,” and Carl made the arrangement. While developing the material for the session, Gene said, “How about that song you’re so crazy about? They threw it on the rack and did it in one take … [Later] an advertising man said it was Ina who convinced Gene. ”
Notably, Marks has always credited Autry for giving the song the life it has taken, according to a letter he sent in 1961. “What I sent you in 1949 were dots of ink on a track. of paper. You had to translate that into a sound, lyrical and musically, that people would love, ”Marks told Autry. “How many great songs have been lost due to poor performance?” A lot of people have said, “Anyone could have done a hit with Rudolph. My response has always been, “We will never know.” I only know that Gene Autry did it, and that everyone else followed. “”
In 1964 the story took on new life, when Rankin / Bass Productions (formerly Videocraft International, Ltd.) created the classic stop-motion animation Rudolph the red nosed reindeer special, which featured Burl Ives as the narrator, voicing the character of Sam the Snowman. Ives also sang the tune for the special. To date, the Rudolph the red nosed reindeer special remains to be a traditional holiday favorite for many.