Seemingly a tale of McCarthy-ite conformity gone mad - but is it? This putative message is undercut in many ways:
Sinisterly, the snowman, a smug, prosperous looking gentleman in a bowler hat, is given this Capitalist ditty to sing:
Silver and Gold
Silver and Gold
Everyone wishes for silver and gold
how do you measure its worth?
Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth...
Rudolph’s red nose = communism. The threat is clearly that your children are in danger of its malign influence. The parents try, feebly, to cover it up. Significantly, it is this red nose which leads Rudolph and the others to flee into the territory of the Abominable Snowman who represents the working masses (much like Frankenstein) - big, ungainly, unintelligent, untamed and threatening.
They are led, ultimately, in the realm of the Lion King - a deceptively avuncular fellow but one who is also an unapologetic remnant of the banished aristocracy. The toys represent the victims of industrialization and the King is claiming to aid in their liberation whereas it is clear he is intent on delivering them into bondage (later, Santa, the other autocratic ruler in this social system, will carry out his task.) Why not stay on the island and form their own worker’s economy - free of owning and being owned - everyone equal? But the toys have been so indoctrinated that their imaginations have been atrophied: ownership, they believe, and nothing else, will complete them.
Herbie is the key to all of this - he is quite clearly a Lenin-esque figure if ever there was one in a Christmas special. He appears at first to be a non-conformist; he is intent on starting a revolution - but like Lenin, he is a member of the bourgeoisie and the liberation will, again, be subverted for his own ends and megalomaniac desire for power. Do not forget that it is Herbie who is the means by which the working masses are ultimately de-fanged.
The heartbreaking end to all of this promise of a revolution and political overthrow and a new world is that the line of autocracy remains unbroken. Communism (Rudolph’s nose) is press ganged into serving Santa. Herbie (Lenin) has sold out the working masses and the poor, benighted Abominable Snowman is forced to put the now inert Star (of Communism) atop the tree so that the economic serfs (the elfs) may dance about and celebrate their own emasculation and disenfranchisement!
Herr Bass and Herr Rankin must have thought they were being very clever, indeed...