I was watching the 1964 Rankin/Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer special with my nephew the other night. It has been years since I’ve seen it, and I had not only largely forgotten the plot but also confused it with Rudolph’s Shiny New Year as well. So I was very surprised when Rudolph and party were attacked by the Abominable Snowman, or, in Yukon Corneliese, the Bumble. Not only was I surprised to see the Bumble in the show, but I was also surprised by how much he still scares me to this day. No kidding. That is one freaky thing to put into a kid’s show, much less a Christmas special.
I was even more surprised, though, to realize that the Bumble bears a striking resemblance to another large primate: King Kong. Don’t believe me? Compare this footage:
Now a lot of the resemblance between Kong and the Bumble is due to the similar stop-motion techniques used to animate them both. But that’s not all of it. They both also have a toothy, slack-jaw grin, wild, roving eyes, and generally stupid yet menacing expressions. These resemblances can perhaps be better seen in a few stills.
So was Rankin/Bass riffing on Kong here? Do they look similar because they’re both large primates? Am I just seeing things? It’s hard to tell. But I think there is at least some similarity between the two. And if you don’t agree with me on that, you can at least agree that Yukon Cornelius is one of the most annoying characters in Christmas special history.