Olive, the Other Reindeer

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Olive, the other Reindeer
Olive the Other Reindeer.jpg
DVD cover
Written bySteve Young
J. Otto Seibold
Vivian Walsh
Directed byOscar Moore
StarringDrew Barrymore
Edward Asner
Dan Castellaneta
Joe Pantoliano
Peter MacNicol
Michael Stipe
Composer(s)Christopher Tyng
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Keith Alcorn
Matt Groening
Drew Barrymore
Cladia De La Roca
Alex Johns
Nancy Juvonen
Michael Stipe
Editor(s)Paul D. Calder
Running time45 minutes
Production company(s)DNA Productions
Flower Films
The Curiosity Company
Fox Television Studios
20th Century Fox Animation
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFox
Original releaseDecember 17, 1999

Olive, the Other Reindeer is a 1999 American computer-animated Christmas television special written by Steve Young, based on the children's book by Vivian Walsh, and directed by Oscar Moore. The feature was produced by Matt Groening's The Curiosity Company and animated by DNA Productions. It first aired on December 17, 1999 on Fox, produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Flower Films. The special combines paperlike character art in 3-D environments. Sometimes, traditional animation is used. The special made its cable TV premiere on Nickelodeon in 2001.[1] The special premiered on Cartoon Network on December 11, 2002[2] and aired during the holiday season until it was last seen in 2014.

The story was based on the 1997 children's book by Vivian Walsh and illustrated by J. Otto Seibold. In the song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the lyric "All of the other reindeer" can be misheard in dialects with the cot–caught merger as the mondegreen "Olive, the other reindeer".

Drew Barrymore voices the title character.[3]

The special was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.[4]


The story follows an anthropomorphic Jack Russell Terrier named Olive, who does not act like a dog. While in town, she meets Martini, a con artist penguin, from whom she buys a "Rolexxx". When she returns home from some errands, she finds her owner, Tim, putting away Christmas decorations and announcing morosely that there "won't be any Christmas".

Olive eventually finds out that this is because Blitzen, one of Santa's reindeer, was injured earlier during a practice flight and cannot fly. Santa hopes he can make the Christmas run with "all of the other reindeer". Mishearing this on the radio as "Olive the other reindeer", Olive becomes convinced that it is she Santa is referring to, prompting her to travel to the North Pole to fill in on the sleigh team. On the way to the bus station, Olive runs into a grouchy Postman who is fed up with the stress of having to deliver the heavy loads of mail during the Christmas rush and tells her that "By next year, people will have forgotten about Christmas." He learns Olive is trying to help save Santa's flight. He is vengeful towards Santa for being repeatedly put on his Naughty list and is determined to stop Olive from saving Christmas.

Olive goes to the "Mauvehound" bus station to buy a ticket to Arctic Junction. Martini shows up and Olive buys him a bus ticket out of pity. Before they can leave the station, Olive is captured by the evil Postman, who tells people that Olive is wanted on several counts of mail fraud, such as "licking self-adhesive stamps and not mailing early for the holidays". After pleading to Martini to help her, Martini rolls several pens along the ground, tripping up the Postman. Martini and Olive then catch the bus right before it leaves, with the Postman watching them drive away.

On the bus, Olive and Martini talk to an Inuit couple and driver Richard Stans. They all believe Olive misheard Santa, but wish her luck anyway. The Postman pulls up next to the bus in his mail truck, but Martini fashions a paper airplane out of stationery and throws it at the Postman's ear, knocking him off the road. When they arrive at Arctic Junction, there is a one-hour wait for the next bus, so they go inside the restaurant for some food. The radio then says that Santa is scheduling a press conference. The group does not know that their waitress is really the Postman in disguise. He lures Olive outside, saying that Santa is going to give her a flying test, and throws her in his truck. While he is driving away, Olive finds a package addressed to her from "Deus Ex Machina". The package is a metal file Olive uses to escape. Olive then hears and sees a bus coming and tries to stop it, but fails. Olive then walks sadly to the Junction.

Back at the Junction, Martini then sees Olive and tells her that they found the waitress' clothes and asks how Olive got away. Olive then asks Martini if he has heard of Deus Ex Machina. Then she tells Martini that she missed the bus and she should have gone without him. Richard calls the postal service to complain about the Postman, but gets their voicemail. Richard says he is unable to continue taking Olive and Martini any further, because he is needed at the depot and does not want to lose his job, but still offers his support for Olive anyway before leaving. The two go inside the Top of the World Bar and are initially harassed by the bar's patrons, including bar owner Round John Virgin and Schnitzel, Blitzen's flightless cousin, but Olive stands up to them before giving a heartfelt speech about the meaning of Christmas and how devoted she is to her cause. The patrons apologize for their behavior and Round John Virgin offers Martini and Olive a ride to the North Pole in his vehicle, named The Polar Express. At the North Pole, Olive is denied entry to see Santa, but Martini gives the guard a watch as if it was a gift from Santa. When the guard asks Martini to fix it, he says he needs to kill the alarm because the electromagnetic waves will interfere with the signal from a satellite. Olive digs under the fence and proceeds to find Santa. Besides Blitzen's injury, Santa is not sure he wants to go out on Christmas Eve, after he reveals he has received mean-spirited letters from some children. Olive arrives and convinces him that the mean letters are really from the Postman, since they have no postmark. After introducing herself and persuading Santa not to give up on his mission, Santa thanks her for coming and Olive is put with the other reindeer to fly the sleigh.

Before they leave, the Postman switches the toy bag with his own bag of junk mail and kidnaps Martini. After the sleigh lands at the first house and Olive realizes what has happened, Olive uses the Postman's scent to track him and scares the Postman out of his wits as he sees Olive in the side window. After a struggle with the Postman, Olive gets pushed out, but Martini uses a jack-in-the-box to scare the Postman, who hits the window and is knocked unconscious. They retrieve the presents, rescue Martini and then deliver the presents to the world. Lost in a fog, Olive guides them back to the North Pole by smelling the gingerbread cookies that Mrs. Claus baked. As a present, Olive is given a pair of antlers on a headband to wear. Comet gives her a ride home and Olive makes amends with Tim, who is glad that he does not care if she is different from other dogs.

Meanwhile, bound with packing tape and cardboard wings, the Postman is put in the penguin exhibit in the zoo in place of Martini and Martini is put in charge of the mail, while everyone enjoys Christmas Day.



Music by Christopher Tyng, lyrics by Steve Young

  • "The Days Still Remaining 'Til Christmas" performed by Drew Barrymore
  • "Christmas (Bah, Bug and Hum!)" performed by Dan Castellaneta
  • "We're Not So Bad" performed by Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
  • "Merry Christmas After All" performed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with Drew Barrymore
  • "The Days Still Remaining 'Til Christmas (reprise)" performed by Drew Barrymore

Cut scenes[edit]

Originally seen on FOX, some scenes in the special were shortened for time when it was released on DVD and was aired on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Said missing scenes can be found on the VHS prints. More information can be found on the Lost Media page[5] and the scenes can be viewed on YouTube.[6]

  • While Olive is going through different channels on her radio, there is a brief mention of political issues with President Robert Gates.
  • During the scene where Olive discusses about how reindeer might be able to fly, the syndicated version cuts to Martini claiming that it is years of practice (plus jet-packs). The VHS version includes the Inuit couple behind Olive and Martini giving out their theories about how reindeer can fly. The scene also includes the husband giving Olive backup options to help Santa in case she is not able to help out with pulling the sleigh.
  • While the DVD version crossfades to the following scene after Fido wonders how Olive is doing on her journey to the North Pole, the VHS version continues the scene with Fido deciding to turn the radio on to hear updates from the North Pole; it abruptly goes to a message about "Grandma's Old Fashioned Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil" as Fido sighs wearily.
  • While Fido flips through news channels on TV where Martini gives answers about Olive assisting Santa with his flight, he says that Olive is "...our last, best hope".


  1. ^ Cute 90's Girl, Olive, the Other Reindeer Promo (2001), retrieved December 26, 2018
  2. ^ "Cartoon Network Celebrates Christmas in Style [Archive] - Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums". Sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "Olive, the Other Reindeer - TV Special - Cast & Credits - Listings - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  4. ^ "Olive, The Other Reindeer | Television Academy". Emmys.com. June 30, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "Olive The Other Reindeer (Extended Scenes) | Lost Media Archive | FANDOM powered by Wikia". Lostmediaarchive.wikia.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "Olive The Other Reindeer - Extended Scene (VHS; 1999)". YouTube. December 9, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2019.

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