Frosty the Snowman (1969)

frosty the snowman 1969 poster animated special
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Holiday classic

Not as good as other holiday specials

TV Show Info

TV Show Name: Frosty the Snowman

Studio: Rankin/Bass

Genre(s): Cartoon/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 7, 1969

MPAA Rating: Not Rate

frosty the snowman kids build frosty

Let’s knock him over!

Christmas snow is magic snow and when children build a snowman from it, the snowman comes alive with the hat of a charlatan magician named Professor Hinkle.  When Hinkle sees his magic is real, it becomes a race against time for Karen to get Frosty to the North Pole where he can live without fear of melting…unfortunately, Hinkle is hot on Frosty and Karen’s trail.

Frosty the Snowman was directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass.  Unlike other Rankin/Bass productions of the time, Frosty the Snowman was animated with traditional animation with designs by Mad Magazine artist Paul Coker, Jr.  The Christmas special premiered on December 7, 1969 on CBS.

frosty the snowman ice car train karen

Frosty, you’re an insensitive bastard…

Despite being a holiday tradition, Frosty the Snowman has never been my favorite entry in the Christmas special hierarchy.  Rudolph shows great design and tells a good (but weird) story.  A Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic that awakens childhood memories.  Frosty reminds me of good times, but I always found the character kind of irritating (along with the song).

The story for Frosty is part of the problem.  The characters are more annoying than endearing (especially Frosty’s “Happy Birthday!” proclamation all the time).  Despite having good cast including Jimmy Durante’s singing of the classic song (and narration), the special doesn’t hook me like the other specials.

frosty the snowman greenhouse melts karen

Frosty is dead…and I have killed him

Frosty the Snowman also suffers being a product of the time.  Unlike some of the other Christmas specials, Frosty seems very dated in its animation.  The character designs look a lot like they came from 1969.  I remember this as a kid and thinking the outfits were goofy (but now they’re probably back in style).

I won’t say that Frosty is all bad.  It is a part of childhood.  Like other Christmas specials, Frosty meant the holiday was rapidly approaching.  Scanning the TV Guide and seeing Frosty was always exciting along with catching a commercial promoting it (generally in a double feature with another Christmas special).  I can remember sitting by the tree watching Frosty the Snowman and the joy of the holidays…and something that reminds you of that can’t be a bad thing.

Related Links:

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976)

Frosty Returns (1992)

Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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