Title: Frosty the Snowman
Starring: Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon, Paul Frees, June Foray
*Warning, this review may contain spoilers.
50 years later and Frosty is still skiing television airwaves, filling your ears with music, but also filling your heart with nostalgic memories. Released in December of 1969, this 25 minute TV special is often regarded as one of the front-runners for classic Christmas TV-viewing tradition. Frosty the Snowman’s legacy lives on thanks in no small part to the massive success of the song for which the TV special is named. In 1950, Gene Autry released the ever-popular radio hit of the same name, which you will likely hear at some point this holiday season. Despite having deep connections to many-a-childhood, is Frosty at risk of being forgotten in favor of newer classic characters? Let’s read on.
Yesterday and Today
Last Christmas, my loving mother-in-law, AKA Nana, got a couple Christmas Blu-rays for our kids and our household. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. First off, can I say how friggin’ awesome of her to not get us DVDs? I’m far too much of a videophile and audiophile to continue purchasing low-fi anything. But I digress. We did watch Frosty the Snowman last Christmas, but a full year later and it’s a totally different experience. I believe my 4-year old daughter has finally reached the age of being able to sit through an entire movie. If she’s interested, she watches intently, listening, gathering, admiring. Granted, this is just 25 minutes, but she was captivated for its entirety.
That enchantment and bewilderment in her eyes took me back to my childhood. It reminded me of the days when I would snuggle on the couch while my parents frantically ran around preparing a big family dinner. We never had cable or satellite, but the classics were sometimes available on public channels, generally as a weekend afternoon/evening special. Frosty the Snowman was never my deepest love as Home Alone held that honor for possibly my entire childhood. That doesn’t mean one can’t supplement their Christmas cinema, amiright?
What the Future Holds for Frosty
It’s no surprise that newer generations of parents are less interested in the archaic remnants of the generations before them. Look at mid-century antiques (or older), for example, as their values have plummeted over the last 20 years. ’80s and ’90s nostalgia is hotter than ever, so it only makes sense to consider that one day, movies like Frosty the Snowman may go by the wayside. As viewership falls, so will this classic movie, eventually fading into the category of “outdated” and “old.” For the sake of Frosty the Snowman continuing to live on as requisite holiday tradition, I must write about it. It is our responsibility to keep putting the magic hat on Frosty’s head, and we do that by exposing our kids to his loving charm year after year.
Frosty the Classic Snowman
Frosty the Snowman is an absolute classic masterpiece, despite its obvious budget-animation. Seeing as this TV special was made for TV, it is no surprise they had to work with a tight budget. If what I read is correct, much of the character animation was created by a Mad Magazine artist and produced by a Tokyo-based animation studio in conjunction with a Hanna-Barbera staffer. I guess I can see all of that.
But that’s not to say I would call their animation “shoddy” or “lazy.” Frosty the Snowman looks dated, in fact it almost looks as if it could be from the 1950s! A Charlie Brown Christmas was released 4 years prior yet has slightly better animation. As an adult watching Frosty the Snowman in 2019, it’s impossible to not notice these things. But watching it with my 4 year old kid brings the magic back to life, almost as if someone put a magic Blu-ray disc on my head.
It’s impossible to eschew the notion that one day Frosty may turn into Frosty the Forgotten Snowman. Perhaps it is time for a reboot with a modern story and new-age computer animation? A good director can find a way to bring Frosty up to today’s modern world while paying homage to the classic and original magical Snowman (sorry Olaf).
Overall, Frosty the Snowman is a deserved Christmas classic. While it may not hold the same luster for adults that it does for children, watching it as a family is important. In fact, I believe it is my parental duty to keep these classic Christmas movies ALIVE, and that only happens by enjoying them with my family. Create the memories together instead of using them as digital babysitters. It never hurts to go re-live your own childhood memories either. Memories of sitting on the floor in front of the woodcased floor TV with the berber-carpet-looking speaker covers and UHF/VHF dials. Memories of the magic hat bringing the snowman to life. And memories of Santa Claus teaching us about the magic of “Christmas snow.” While Frosty the Snowman may one day lose its place in the echelons of Christmas greats, that day is not today. We love you Frosty!
Thanks for reaching the end of the article! This piece is apart of our Modern Neon Christmas Bonanza, where we are looking at 25 of our favorite or well-known Christmas movies. So click through to see the previous and next movie, or go back to the home page to find your favorite movie!
David “Nerdberry” is the proud founder and owner of Nerdbacon.com, a video game reviews and news website. Nerdberry owns a local pressure washing business in North Carolina, has a family, and a little house. With a college background in film and a personal love for dissecting movies, he feels aptly suited for Modern-Neon. The jury is still out on whether or not Modern-Neon wants him. We’ll see. But he is excited to be part of the team here in an effort to help it grow!