Some movies from your childhood when visited as an adult hold up (Winnie the Pooh for example) and others not so much. I hate to say it but I think Rankin/Bass Frosty the Snowman is the latter. It’s another one of the specials that as an adult feels strange and is really designed for very small children- and even for them there might be stuff that is upsetting for them. Don’t hate me but I didn’t really like it…
Frosty the Snowman was made in 1969 for CBS and it was the first time Rankin/Bass did a traditional cel animation. To the team’s credit the animation looks fine. It’s bright and colorful and doesn’t look terribly dated. It kind of reminds you of something you’d see on a Saturday morning television in the 80s.
But anyway the story is about a group of kids that find the discarded hat of a magician named Professor Hinkle. They decide to build a snowman and little Karen decides to call it Frosty. Professor Hinkle has a rabbit named Hocus Pocus who tries to get the hat but it is placed on the snowman and the magic makes Frosty alive.
I didn’t really like Professor Hinkle or Hocus Pocus. It was strange the way they kept bothering these little kids and it just wasn’t funny and was a little mean to me. Like little Karen is freezing and a fire is lit and he blows it out for no real reason. Frosty has the hat not Karen and Frosty obviously isn’t by the fire.
And then it gets really weird with the temperature suddenly warming up and so Frosty decides to take a refrigeration unit on a train to the North Pole, which is evidently far away because it costs $3000 to go there. The strange part is Karen goes with them as kind of a lark, which I found odd. This is evidently very far away to cost $3000, not just a day trip.
But I know I am over thinking it but Karen gets sick from the cold refrigeration car so they abandon the train and Professor Hinkle is fast on their tails. He ends up trapping Karen and Frosty in (Spoiler alert!) a greenhouse and Frosty becomes a puddle on the ground. It’s really quite a strange and upsetting story when you think of the very small children it is aimed at. Karen almost dies, Frosty is gone but at least Hinkle gives Santa the hat back after he is threatened with no more presents for the rest of his life. It’s just odd story.
The Frosty song is featured of course and a few other songs but nothing stands out too much.
Frosty the Snowman is probably a fine diversion for small kids and at 24 minutes it’s fine for watching with the fam at Christmas but over all I didn’t really care for it. It’s just so odd and I kind of wish it wasn’t so gloomy and morose in feel, but perhaps that’s just me.
What about you? Is Frosty the Snowman a special part of your holiday viewings? Do you love it? Have you seen it in a while? Let me know in the comments.