“’Cause I’m your tall cool one and I’m built to please.”-Robert Plant
I am more of a beach bum and desert rat than I am an Arctic adventurer. The achy bones, runny nose, threats of impending snowstorms, and fear that I will break my neck on black ice, hinder me from embracing this part of the season. It is safe to say, I am not a winter person. Weird as it may be, I really dig snowmen. The mere image of a yard adorned with a snow figure, saves my soul from seasonal depression as it warms my heart while the rest of me freezes.
What is it about a snowman that brings a smile to my face? Maybe, it’s the joy I see on the faces of kids and adults alike when they are constructing such a festive lawn ornament. The magic that comes “alive” when you add some coal, carrots, a hat and a scarf to a mound of snow. And the corn cob pipe, one mustn’t forget the corn cob pipe.
The kindling of imagination begins to smoke, igniting sparks of all the possibilities of what could be with the mere chance that the snowman could come to life. Well wonder no more, today’s feature answers just that question. Get some cocoa, cozy up to the fire to warm those bones with the classic Christmas cartoon, Frosty the Snowman (1969).
Jimmy Durante of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), welcomes us to today’s tale as it’s Christmas Eve, and a schoolteacher, June Foray of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959), treats her pupils to Christmas party entertainment provided by middle-of-the-road magician, Professor Hinkle, Billy De Wolf of Good Morning, World (1967), and rabbit sidekick, Hocus Pocus. What school has class on Christmas Eve in the Western World? Anyway, Hinkle embarrasses himself in front of his audience as he fails to pull off any tricks. Hinkle, ticked that he lacks the chutzpah of David Copperfield, hastily throws away his top hat out of anger over the shortcomings within his performance.
Class lets out, and the children rush into the afternoon to frolic in the white powder and build a snowman. During the construction of the snowman, Karen, also voiced by Foray, and more outspoken of the children, decides that the snowman’s name shall be Frosty, voiced by Jackie Vernon of Microwave Massacre (1983). Hinkle and his hare are departing the school grounds when a gust of wind blows his abandoned hat towards Karen, where she places it on top of Frosty’s head. Well there must have been some magic in Slash’s old hat they found, for when they placed it on Frosty’s head he came to belting out, “Happy Birthday!”
Hinkle, jealous and miserable, steals back his magic hat from the kids and Frosty. Frosty, now topless, returns to a lifeless mound of snow. The hat is indeed magic! Hocus Pocus (not to be confused with the 70s classic rock yodeling hit from Focus) does the old switcheroo on Hinkle and returns the magic hat back to the children so Frosty can reanimate back to being a jolly, happy soul.
Before you know it, Frosty is marching & singing through town with the kids with a broomstick in his hand, being chased by Hinkle for the return of his hat, and dealing with a rare spike of warm temperatures on this fine winter day. Before Al Gore enlightened the world with the nonstop Global Warming scare, snowmen simply just melt if it was a little warm outside. End of story.
Will Frosty melt? Will the mad magician get his hat back? Is Hinkle Einhorn, Einhorn is Hinkle? Tune into this classic Christmas cartoon to find out.
Frosty the Snowman was directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin of Mad Monster Party (1967) with a screenplay by Romeo Muller of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970). Frosty is based on the popular holiday tune of the same title by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. Rankin/Bass does a great job of conceptualizing a fun tale incorporating the essence and lyrics of the song to the 25 minute short cartoon. Frosty has been a Christmas TV programming staple since its debut on CBS with other classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). Frosty also spawned Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976), Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979), Frosty Returns (1992), and The Legend of Frosty the Snowman (2005). I prefer the original, but the other titles are worth a view if you are snowed in and have an afternoon to kill getting lost in an audio/visual winter wonderland.
Frosty really is a cute little cartoon, but parents be forewarned, there is some sadness in some scenes. Nothing traumatic like frostbite or impalement by icicle, but it may cause some ice cubes to spill out of your eyes and question mortality. On a lighter note, you get to hear and enjoy the incredible, underrated talents of Paul Frees, the Ghost Host of Disneyland/Disney World’s Haunted Mansion attractions, as he voices Santa, the traffic cop, and ticket taker on the train.
Frosty should be shared by parents with their children to relive some nostalgia of their youth. Though they might not say it, but sharing 30 minutes with the kiddies sharing Frosty, will mean much more to them, today and in the future, than anything you can buy or put under the Christmas tree. That gift of sharing, is guaranteed to warm all frozen bones or cold hearts this holiday season.
Check out the Frosty the Snowman Trailer
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- Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker, film/music historian, and can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rick.baldwin.568
- Twitter Rick Baldwin @RickBaldwin79 and firstname.lastname@example.org