Jack Frost (1979)

jack frost dvd 1979 rankin bass special
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Love Rankin/Bass animation

The groundhog gets on my nerves

TV Show Info

TV Show Name:  Jack Frost

Studio:  Rankin/Bass

Genre(s):  Animated/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 13, 1979

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

jack frost claymation snowman rankin bass

Jack’s cold hearted

Jack Frost longs to be human.  Falling in love with a girl named Elisa, Jack Frost convinces Father Winter to allow him to be human until spring comes.  Elisa unfortunately has caught the eye of the Cossack King Kubla Kraus.  Now, Jack and his friends Snip and Holly must battle for the love of Elisa and win it before the spring arrives…but he might have to force winter to hold on a bit longer with the help of a groundhog named Pardon-Me-Pete.

Directed by Jules Rankin and Arthur Bass, Jr., Jack Frost follows in the tradition of other Rankin-Bass holiday classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.  The special first aired on NBC on December 13, 1979 and currently runs during the holiday season on cable.  It features the voices of Buddy Hackett as Pardon-Me-Pete, Rankin/Bass regular Paul Frees as Father Winter and Kubla Kraus, and Robert Morse in the title role of Jack Frost.

jack frost invisible rankin bass

Frozen coins seems like a bad idea for a monetary base

I didn’t see Jack Frost very often.  It wasn’t in very high rotation and compared to Rudolph, Frosty, or Peanuts didn’t see very heavy rotation.  I found the story rather dull and the story’s incorporation of Groundhog’s Day seems a bit forced (it also makes this one of those “When do I watch this?” type shows).

The story is a bit strange for the generally peppy holiday specials.  For all his efforts, Jack Frost fails.  He falls in love with and attempts to woo her, but loses her in the end.  It is a bit of a downer.  I also find Pardon-Me-Pete kind of annoying and unnecessary, but the Rankin-Bass specials seem to stick to this narrator style since it has been successful in the past.

Mad Men vet Robert Morse plays the voice of Jack Frost and Buddy Hackett provides the voice of Pardon-Me-Pete.  Rankin-Bass regular Paul Frees plays the blustery Father Winter but also provides the voice of King Kubla Kraus.  Debra Clinger povides the voice of Elisa.

jack frost groundhog shadow rankin bass

The groundhog drank a bit too much today

The animation is still the best part of Jack Frost.  Rankin/Bass were just masters of the animated cartoons.  Something about their stop motion specials just brings out nostalgia for the holiday in me despite the story.  I could pop in a horrible Rankin/Bass show and enjoy it even if the plot is horrible.

Jack Frost is a so-so animated cartoon.  The character makes another appearance in Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.  Of the Rankin/Bass productions it isn’t the worst, but it definitely doesn’t stand up against most of their Christmas classics.  The show frequently airs on cable during the holiday season and is often included in animated gift sets, but don’t go out of your way to see Jack Frost…regardless if the groundhog sees its shadow.

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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