Saturday, December 8, 2007

Frosty the Snowman and Frosty's Winter Wonderland

Frosty The Snowman (1969)

JA Morris says:

'Frosty The Snowman'(1969) was an annual tv event when I was a kid. Maybe it wasn't as good as 'Rudolph' or 'Charlie Brown', but it was fun, with memorable characters, quotable lines, etc.
I hadn't seen it in a few years, so I thought it was a good time to revist 'Frosty'.

Quick summary for those unfamiliar:
Magician Professor Hinkle throws out his useless magic hat. School children find the hat and place it on top of a snowman, who comes to life. He quickly befriends the children(especially a girl named Karen), who christen him "Frosty" and leads them through town in an informal parade. Prof. Hinkle suddenly wants his hat back and pursues Frosty. Warm weather threatens Frosty's existance, so he & Karen flee to the North Pole, followed by Hinkle.
Like most Rankin-Bass specials, the villain is redeemed at the end, and Frosty finds a home in the North Pole.
First off, Jackie Vernon nails the voice of Frosty. He's got the perfect combination of comedy & sentiment that the role demands. Jimmy Durante is great as the narrator and also delivers a great rendition of the title song. June Foray creates a believable (not precocious) little girl in Karen, and Paul Frees is a great Santa Claus.

The story is a pretty good extension of the title song, not the best story ever but still entertaining in its 39th Christmas.

JA Morris's rating:

‘Frosty The Snowman’


Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976)

JA Morris says:

'Frosty' was popular enough to merit a sequel in 1976 called 'Frosty's Winter Wonderland'.

As the song says, Frosty would "be back again someday". And so he returns and once again the children love him and his wintry antics (I should mention none of the children, including Karen, from the first special appear in the sequel; I guess they’ve already grown up). This time, the villain is Jack Frost, who grows jealous of Frosty’s popularity and plots to steal the magic hat.

Frosty has another problem: loneliness. When the children go home at sundown, he’s left by himself. The children decide Frosty needs a wife, so they build a snowwoman. She comes to life when Frosty places a bouquet of “frost flowers” in her hand. They decide to marry, but Jack Frost shows up at the wedding. As this special isn't as well known as its predecessor, I won't spoil the ending, other than to say, it ends happily.

Jackie Vernon reprises his role as Frosty here and is just as good, Shelly Winters is very sweet as the voice of Crystal. Durante must have either been sick or unavailable, so Andy Griffith takes over as narrator. Griffith is fine, but I’ve always thought his cartoon caricature is a little, well, wrong.

‘Winter Wonderland’ is not as good as ‘Frosty’, but is certainly a worthy sequel. Sadly, is somewhat overlooked today. This special has been relegated to cable, replaced by ‘Frosty Returns’ as the “official” sequel shown on CBS every Christmas as a companion to ‘Frosty The Snowman.'

JA Morris's rating:

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