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The Woman Who Voiced Rudolph

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2022 3:01 am

The Woman Who Voiced Rudolph

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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December 6, 2022 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Billie Mae Richards is a Canadian actress best known for voicing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the 1964 stop-motion television classic. The special first aired on December 6, 1964, on NBC. Here’s Billie Mae to share her story.

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There's magic when we eat together. your podcast. Billy Mae Richards is a Canadian actress best known for voicing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The special first aired on December 6, 1964 on NBC. Here's Billy Mae to share her story. I go back almost 75 years now. I've been in every kind of show business. I'm quite proud of the work in the in the Navy show as part of the war effort in World War II. We went all across Canada and back and then overseas and we did a command performance for the king and queen and went into Paris and we played for the American troops in Paris and then Brussels and Amsterdam and into Germany. So after World War II, that is, you know, long ago, I took my credits from the Navy and I joined Lorne Green's Academy of Radio Arts and he of course is a very famous Canadian and he did Bonanza. That was a great series and so I joined the Academy of Radio Arts because I had already done stage work and I was a musician and an actor and everything but I didn't know the technique for actually for radio and drama so that's why I went there and out of that I graduated and everybody that heard me gave me a part of the child so that's where I my first big show was a big drama and on the state series and in Canada so that it just went from there.

So I spent 25 years in the CBC doing school broadcasts and then when the cartooning came our way then it was just sort of a natural progression to go into voice work because you're not you know I'm not a I'm not a television actor and certainly not now. Hey Clarice, hey after practice would you would you... Rudolph you get back here it's your turn you know. Gee I gotta go back would you wanna go with me? Uh-huh Rudolph I think you're cute. I'm cute! I'm cute!

Magnificent! I'm cute! I'm cute! She said I'm cute! I just want you to know that I'm still cute. Well I see Hermy once in a while and I always wanted to be like Hermy I wanted to be independent he wanted to be a dentist so we were misfits together. Hey what do you say we both be independent together huh? You wouldn't mind my red nose? Not if you don't mind me being a dentist. It's a deal! Well that was fun you know so the whole show was fun to do and it was all Canadian all the voices are Canadian except for Burl Ives they all say I thought it was an American show no you know while it was partly Bernard Cowan he was directing it along with Jules Bass and they came up to Toronto because we we have all the voices from radio because our radio never died you know uh it's uh it kept on with the because of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation you know we'd all been still working in uh in radio so we had the voices for radio because the puppets are actually three-dimensional and they have to be filmed you know one little teeny movement at a time with the 3D puppets you might say but they're not puppets they're they move each little teeny little bit as they move through the snow for instance the snowman goes through the snow and he's he's the snow is pushed in front of him it's a it's a unique process that Rankin and Bass first developed and they went on to do other ones of course the shows I did were all aimed for children because that's all I ever did were were uh voice voices so like Care Bears and things like that you know I don't tell anybody either because it spoils the illusion especially for children I hate to say it you know especially now oh I have children grandchildren and great grandchildren they think it's wonderful they when they were little they went to school and told their teacher that their their mother was Rudolph and the teacher looked at them and said oh yes dear of course so we get on with the work now you know yeah but I sometimes I I go to schools and it's very good to teach kids how important it is to learn to read not only for pleasure but there actually is a side of that that can be a profession so it's it's a it's a boost for children and in the reading and that's when your character voices you know fine then you can say by the way we thought it'd go one year maybe two at the most and that was it but that's you know that's fine look what's happened to it you realize it would it had become a classic you know sort of like um you know Wizard of Oz you know that that type of uh show that has a it has a moral to it and uh you know everything works out in the end and so I mean there you go that what more can you ask you know it all worked out in the end it revived Rudolph from being just the song and a little Christmas book and made it into something that could be watched every Christmas it became a Christmas classic because uh you know my grandchildren even now are you know they're almost beyond it but they still watch because they say oh but it's so cute yeah Rudolph is also of course uh I'm Rudolph in Rudolph shiny new year and uh the one that's Christmas in July with um with um Frosty the snowman so whatever there's a Rudolph that's my voice Rudolph with your nose so bright won't you guide my sleigh tonight it will be an honor sir and it was wonderful to see it all put together with the actual figures because we didn't really know what they were going to look like so it was a really fun thing and uh I'm very proud that it's been on this long there are not too many people that can say that so it's really great but I I enjoy the work that I do and I'm quite happy and that's good enough for me and a terrific job on the production editing and storytelling by our own Greg Hengler the story of the woman who voiced Rudolph here on Our American Stories here at Our American Stories we bring you inspiring stories of history, sports, business, faith, and love stories from a great and beautiful country that need to be told but we can't do it without you our stories are free to listen to but they're not free to make if you love our stories in America like we do please go to our American and click the donate button give a little give a lot help us keep the great American stories coming that's our American imagine air travel that's simple hassle-free and fast that's Surf Air save hours on every 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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 04:25:24 / 2022-12-06 04:29:44 / 4

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