Here's An Explanation To That Weird Ax-Licking Scene In 'Rudolph'

The version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" you've been watching on TV is actually wrong.
"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

If you grew up watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV, you've actually seen an incorrect version of the movie. Given the changing needs of commercials, networks -- most recently CBS -- have shown the movie without all of its scenes, leading to a few confusing moments -- particularly the mysterious moment Yukon Cornelius licks his pickax.

"CBS and various powers that be do not care," television historian Rick Goldschmidt, who has become an expert on the production company behind "Rudolph, " Rankin/Bass, told The Huffington Post, adding, "'Rudolph' has been treated shabbily."

In an article for TVparty, Goldschmidt wrote that he considers a moment called "The Peppermint Mine Scene" to be "the most significant deleted scene." It comes right after Rudolph guides Santa through the air to the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph's parents, Donner and Mrs. Donner, Rudolph's girlfriend, Clarice, and Cornelius are featured, while Donner says, "That's my buck!" finally confirming Rudolph's dad is no longer ashamed, as Goldschmidt points out.

But more illuminating is that the scene finally gives an answer as to why Cornelius kept licking his pickax throughout the special. In this deleted scene, Cornelius throws his ax in the air, lets it strike the ground and then, after licking it as he has been wont to do, declares, "Peppermint! What I've been searching for all my life! I've struck it rich. I've got me a peppermint mine ... Wahoooo!"

Yukon Cornelius didn't have a bizarre talent of recognizing the taste of gold or silver, he was licking his ax to see if it tasted like peppermint.

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"The 'Peppermint Mine Scene' has not been on TV since 1964," Goldschmidt explained, while also saying, "The special as it airs on CBS is not right." However, the peppermint deleted scene is on DVD and Blu-ray."

Goldschmidt, who has written a definitive book on the making of "Rudolph," is frustrated that CBS doesn't put this scene, along with others, back into the broadcast. Talking about the current iteration of the TV broadcast, Goldschmidt said it's "like a grade school kid edited it," while additionally finding frustration in how the movie has been time-compressed and the sound quality warbles on multiple songs.

In 1998, Goldschmidt teamed up with Arthur Rankin Jr. -- the original producer -- and found additional lost footage, which the two copyrighted. According to Goldschmidt, he notified Dreamworks -- the current holder of the movie's distribution rights -- of this new material, but hasn't had any luck with convincing them to do a full restoration. "'Rudolph' is as iconic as 'The Wizard of Oz,' yet it gets treated very poorly," he claimed.

If you want to learn more about how "Rudolph" came together, check out Goldschmidt's book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic, or consider donating to the Indiegogo for his potential upcoming documentary on the legendary producers.
For the meantime, you can still watch "Rudolph," on CBS, even if it is a bit mangled.
"Bottom line, the special hasn't been treated properly and not sure why that is or who to blame," lamented Goldschmidt.

Watch the deleted scene below:

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