By David Whitsell
It’s that time of the year, and among many of the good things that come with the Christmas season is that gem of the small screen: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Inside that glistening gem shines a bright light in our dark and ignorant world: Yukon Cornelius.
Yukon is a prospector who meets Rudolpg and his elf friend Hermey about midway through the story. What makes him pertinent to our conversation is his ownership of tools–even (or especially) weapons. Yukon has a revolver on his waist in every scene he’s in. He is also seen with a hammer, a knife, and a pickaxe. The pickaxe he uses on multiple occasions; once he even uses it to help himself and his comrades escape from The Abominable Snowman Of The North.
This might not seem like a lot, but in today’s politically correct world kids often do not see programming where good (and at least somewhat realistic) men rightly keep and use weapons. Yukon can do this because he is not a product of our times, but of a more enlightened era in America–1964. That is the year Rudolph made his debut on American TV screens. It was a different country and a different world then; a time when a prospector could be depicted using weapons and tools and no one would bat an eyelash.
Not only does Yukon bear a sidearm, but guns are found elsewhere in the story. The cowboy who rides an ostrich has a revolver. The toy soldiers have rifles complete with bayonets. There is even a character/toy who is a weapon. A water pistol that shoots jelly may be a misfit, but he is a gun. In fact, the Island Of Misfit Toys appears to be bristling with weapons…and for good reason. Little kids (at least boys) actually played with toy blades and toy guns back in the 1960s.
Yukon is an old-school, take-charge kind of a guy. The first scene he’s in shows him whipping his sled dogs. In order to top that feat of political incorrectness, he’d have to smoke. (And it would have to be tobacco; smoking hippie lettuce wouldn’t offend anybody these days.) Yukon uses his wits, brawn, and bravery to save Rudolph and his family. He uses focused violence to a good end, by pushing Abominable off a cliff. He befriends the “Bumble” and even helps him get a job at the North Pole. I would say “Get this guy a CCW permit!” but he is more of an open-carry kind of guy.
The stories we tell ourselves, especially our children, are both indicators and indoctrinators. As cheesy as some of these stories are, they do shape hearts and minds. Rudolph saved Christmas, but only after the tool-using man of action Yukon Cornelius saved the day.