Ash has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves analyzing fiction and obsessing over books, film, and television.
1969's Frosty the Snowman is a very short little film that has aired on CBS every Christmas for about fifty years now. When I was a child, I sat on my couch every Christmas to watch faithfully. It has always been one of my favorite Christmas movies, and perhaps it always will be.
Rankin/Bass Christmas films always have a narrator, and Jimmy Durante was the narrator for "Frosty." Always brings a smile to my face to hear his voice, especially when he sings the "Frosty" song.
The film starts out with Professor Hinkle (Billy De Wolfe) trying to perform a series of magic tricks at a grade school. He makes a complete fool of himself and gets so frustrated that he throws away his top hat.
This leads to some children at the local school finding the hat and putting it on the snowman they built together. The snowman briefly comes to life and the kids are pretty ecstatic.
I don't know about you, but if a snowman came to life after I built it, there's no way I'd been happy about it. I'd probably scream, maybe crap my pants, maybe go flying to the closest safe building. Most people are not this naive and gleefully accepting of juju. Not even kids.
Unfortunately for the kids, however, Professor Hinkle sees his hat is magic and steals it back. The kids point out that he threw it away, but he kindly lets them know he doesn't give a shit before sauntering off with the hat anyway.
Hinkle's rabbit, Hocus Pocus, is fully aware that his owner is a prick. So he steals the top hat and gives it back to Karen (Suzanne Davidson) and her friends (Greg Thomas).
The kids put the hat on Frosty (Jackie Vernon) again and he comes to life, shouting out "Happy birthday!" He then goes on to humorously babble for a few minutes, then immediately starts playing with the children, leading them on a merry caper through the streets. Cue the song!
Frosty the Snowman
knew the sun was hot that day,
so he said, "Let's run
and we'll have fun
now before I melt away!"
So down to the village
with a broomstick in his hand
running here and there all around the square
Saying "Catch me if you can!"
He led them down the streets of town
right to the traffic cop
and he only paused a moment when
he heard him holler "Stop!"
The kids eventually realize that Frosty is going to melt if he sticks around, so they put him on a train to the North Pole, a place where he'll never melt.
Karen decides she wants to go with Frosty, despite the fact that she's not wearing pants. (Where the **** are her parents?)
Since they are in a refrigerated boxcar, it immediately becomes apparent that Karen should have kept her butt at home. She's wearing no pants while sitting on ice cream, in the the middle of the winter, in a cold and drafty boxcar, and Frosty can't keep her warm with his body because he's literally made of snow.
Meanwhile, Professor Hinkle eventually catches up to them, hellbent on getting his hat back.
Frosty makes a break for it and carries Karen to safety.
Down in the woods, he talks some forest animals into building a fire for Karen, and the kid manages to get warm -- but only for about six seconds because Professor Hinkle appears again, and -- as if he wasn't already enough of a jerk -- he blows out Karen's fire!
Unfortunately, Frosty and Karen decide that it would be great if Frosty hid in a greenhouse and -- shockingly -- Frosty melts.
All joking aside, this point of the film shows what a selfless person Frosty has become. At first, he isn't willing to risk his life to protect his friend, even though Karen nearly died trying to protect him. Instead, he begs the forest animals to build a fire for Karen after carrying her through the snow for hours. She could have died because he decided to keep walking aimlessly instead of stopping to build a fire for her!
Now, after coming to love and care for Karen, Frosty is willing to die for his greatest, truest friend. He takes her into the greenhouse, trying to protect her from the obviously insane and obsessed mustache-twirly villain who means her harm (blowing out that fire, Hinkle? Seriously?). As a result, he dies.
When I was a child, I always, always cried at this scene. I'm not sure why. I knew Frosty would come back. I've always been an avid reader and pretty familiar with how stories typically go. But still . . . something about Frosty making that sacrifice was just so beautiful to my six-year-old self that I would cry. Then I would cry every year after.
We should all love someone that greatly.
Thanks to Hocus Pocus, Santa (Paul Frees) arrives in time to bring Frosty back to life using magical Christmas snow. He then admonishes Hinkle and I swear -- that jolly old man looked one step from pimp slapping somebody!
Hinkle doesn't deserve another Christmas ever, if you ask me.
With the villain sufficiently shamed and Frosty back in one piece, our favorite snowman hops in Santa's sleigh and is carried away to the North Pole, where he'll be safe from evil magicians and grumpy traffic cops.
© 2018 Ash