SAN FRANCISCO, CA
But do you recall . . .
Some eighty years ago, Robert L. May a copywriter from at Montgomery Wards in Chicago, had lunch with his boss Richard Byrne, an advertising executive with the company. The conversation was mostly business but then turned to Robert talking about his wife having cancer and how miserable Christmas was going to be for him and his three little girls. The only thing the family had to look forward to was sitting bedside with their mother and making up a story about a reindeer with a clubfoot who was going to help Santa guide his sleigh.
After hearing about the death of Robert’s wife a couple days before Christmas, Richard with the help of his art department helped create an illustrated book of the story for Robert and his family. Soon after the Montgomery Wards printed up a small paper version for Santa to hand out to children at their department store at Christmas time.
In 2001 Erik Bauersfeld interviewed Richard Byrne about the real story of how Rudolph came to be, long before the song, the movie and even the red nose.