Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Frostys than you can shake a stick at

Just when I was ready to get the girls into bed last night, one of my houseguests made the classic mistake of switching TV channels and lingering for a millisecond or so on a children's Christmas special. The girls' finely honed spidey senses picked up the flash of colour and merry music that scream 'cartoon', and it was all over. They were watching. Now I don't have cable or satellite -- we get CBC and CTV clearly, and Global and some channel out of Hamilton all snowy, so my kids have learned to get the cartoons when and where they can; and at this time of year I find I can't begrudge them the annual CBC cavalcade of Christmas specials.

The one that they started watching was a Frosty cartoon. But it wasn't *the* Frosty cartoon, you know, the one with Karen and the bunny in the hat and Frosty going to the North Pole by freight car -- it looked fainly Peanuts-like and I was unfamiliar with the plot. So I checked out Wikipedia and found that there were several Frosty cartoons (well, who knew?):

* Frosty's Winter Wonderland - In this 1976 sequel by Rankin-Bass, also written by Romeo Muller, narration is provided by Andy Griffith. Jackie Vernon reprised his role as the voice of Frosty.

* Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July - This 1979 Rankin-Bass sequel was filmed in stop-motion animation in the style of their classic 1964 Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Where Rudolph was 60 minutes, and all of the other Frosty specials were just 30 minutes, this ambitious special was feature length, at 97 minutes long.

* Frosty Returns - This 1992 half-hour special is not truly a sequel to the 1969 classic, as it was produced not by Rankin-Bass but by CBS. The characters, setting, and voices are different and the animation (by veteran Peanuts director Bill Melendez) is vastly different. Despite this, it is shown with the original special every year on CBS and was even included as a bonus on its DVD release.

* The Legend of Frosty the Snowman (2005) - Frosty returned again in 2005 with a made-for-video animated film produced by Classic Media (the current rights holder for the original Rankin/Bass special and the remainder of their pre-1974 library). This movie has also been bundled with the original 1969 Rankin/Bass special and the CBS sequel.

I'm just waiting for the next one -- Frosty Balboa.


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  2. I remember a Rudolph (I think?) show from when I was a kid that I haven't seen since. It was the one where there's a heat monster and an abominable snowman creature and they were battling or something. There were a lot of songs in it--but I don't remember much else. Do you know anything about this show?

  3. Susan, maybe you're thinking of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". It was stop-animation Christmas special and there was an Abominable Snowman (aka the Bumble) who battled with Yukon Cornelius and they fell off a cliff, but I don't remember any heat monster.