Advice for that misfit doll |

Advice for that misfit doll

Special to the Daily
Keely Brown

t’s the question that has haunted every Christmas cartoon fanatic since childhood ” why is the little red-headed doll on the Island of Misfit Toys?

I spotted this flaw immediately, at the age of four, during the very first ” yes, children, I was there ” broadcast of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” sponsored by the General Electric Company and televised on N.B.C. on Dec. 6, 1964. I remember every aspect of this broadcast I suppose because it was so highly touted for weeks beforehand, and we were, after all, a TV family.

My brother and I looked forward to this special almost as much as we looked forward to Santa’s impending visitation. It finally appeared, heralded by a flurry of G.E. commercials, all featuring the characters from the movie! Because of those commercials, television advertising had its first major influence on my imagination. Due to G.E.’s clever cross promotion, I was convinced for many years that Rudolph’s nose was powered by a G.E. light bulb ” and I bet I’m not the only kid from my generation who believed this.

Anyway, to get back to the Misfit Doll ” you thought I’d forgotten about her, didn’t you? ” her plight haunted me, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she was stuck on that island, along with the Charlie-in-the-Box and the train with square wheels on its caboose and the cowboy that rode an ostrich.

Well, the question has finally been answered by Arthur Rankin, one of the producers of “Rudolph.” After apparently fielding this question for several decades, he said that the Misfit Doll’s problems were primarily of a psychological nature, since she was abandoned by her owner.

But according to other Internet sources, the writers of “Rudolph” simply didn’t take the character much into account, and more or less forgot to give her a “misfit” problem.

Whatever the case, whether it was the writers of the show or the fictitious owner that had forgotten her, her main problem was that she no longer felt loved ” the worst thing you can possibly feel, especially at Christmastime.

If you want to make a lot of people feel loved during this holiday season, you can do it right from home ” with the help of a little imagination and a bit of talent with a crochet hook or knitting needle.

Headquartered in North Carolina but with chapters nationwide, Newborns in Need sends baby outfits and supplies to hospitals throughout the country, for distribution to parents who don’t have the income to purchase necessities for their newborn infants.

For many of us, Newborns in Need provides us with an opportunity to use our knitting or crocheting skills to create hats, booties, diaper shirts and baby afghans for needy newborns and their mothers. The need is greatest for preemies, since it’s often hard to find these tiny sizes in the stores ” and of course, expensive when you do find them.

One of the most moving aspects of this charity is that they also provide burial outfits and blankets for those preemies who don’t survive, so that their parents can have last memorial photos taken of them. It’s a heart wrenching website, and whether you sew, crochet, knit or want to contribute in some other way, a visit to will tell you just how you can help.

If you knit or crochet, you can also help provide hats and slippers for the U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s Needling U in Frisco is continually accepting donations of handmade ski caps for our troops who have to endure those cold desert nights. These hats make a nice change from the standard military issue supplies, and also remind our troops that we haven’t forgotten about them.

If you’d like to get guidelines and a list of pattern requirements and restrictions (no neon colors, etc.), you can drop by and see Kim or Gail at What’s Needling U at 279 Main St., or you call them at (970) 668-0381 and they’ll let you know what’s needed and even give you pattern instructions.

There’s also another organization, The Ship’s Project ( which is sending over handmade stocking caps as well as slippers to service personnel on shipboard. It’s worth a visit just to see the website photos of military personnel receiving these shipments and wearing their new homemade caps, and the smiles on their faces will convince you that they truly get a kick out of being remembered this way.

Another of my favorite charities is Doug Mendel’s Cambodian Relief Fund, a nonprofit which helps to equip fire stations and brings necessities to disadvantaged children in rural Cambodia. A Summit County resident for many years, Doug now lives in Moab, Utah, but still makes frequent trips down here to visit with his friends.

Over a cup of coffee in Frisco last week, Doug told me that he’s going to be returning to Cambodia this February ” and that the strongest need he has right now is for those miniature toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste, which he hands out to village children during his twice-yearly visits. If you’d like to contribute some of these for his next mission, or donate the money to help buy these as well as other supplies, you can visit his excellent website at to find out how you can help.

One of the saving graces of humankind is that the act of doing something for others can bring a salve to our troubled souls and serve as a panacea to our problems, whether they’re personal or professional, physical or psychological. While we might not be able to cure our own ills, we can at least try to help cure the ills of others.

And somehow, loving others makes you feel a little bit more loved, too. I’ll just bet that, if she’d had the opportunity to do a few random acts of kindness, the Misfit Doll would have gotten off of that island a lot faster.

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