Yukon Cornelius, the prospector in the animated classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was an homage to Pope Cornelius II (1603-14). The pope, who came from a small village in the Italian Alps, famously called himself “a prospector for men’s souls.” Yukon Cornelius’s ice axe represents the pope’s crucifix, which is why he licks (kisses) it symbolically after each use.

Early drafts of the Rudolph script had the prospector shouting “The power of Kris [Kringle] compels you!” at the Abominable Snowman before both tumbled over the edge into the abyss. That line was cut in the last draft, but the show’s screenwriter, William Peter Blatty, later recycled it in slightly altered form in his novel The Exorcist.

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