YUKON CORNELIUS… PICKAXE LICKER!
Yukon Cornelius (voiced by Larry D. Mann) – a prospector who leads audience to believe that he’s searching for either gold or silver, but is actually seeking peppermint as revealed at the end of the original version of the special. His greedy behavior inspires the song “Silver And Gold”, sung by Ives and previously well-known in its own right.
Yukon is a blustery but benign character and ends up helping not only Rudolph and Hermey, but an abominable snowman, or “bumble” as well. Yukon Cornelius can be seen throughout the special tossing his pick ax into the air and tasting the end that contacts the snow or ice.
The removal of the scene near the end of the special (for subsequent telecasts) in which Yukon Cornelius discovers a “peppermint mine” by that method near Santa’s workshop left audiences assuming that he was attempting to find either silver or gold by taste alone. The scene was returned to the film in 1998 as well.