The Song of Frosty the Snowman: A Christmas Legend
The Frosty the Snowman song was written by Steve "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson in 1950. Mr. Rollins is also known for writing Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Mr. Nelson is also known for his work on the TV series Webster.
Frosty the Snowman was recorded by Gene Autry, the same singer who recorded Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Later, the same song was covered by Nat King Cole, the Beach Boys, Ray Conniff, the Cocteau Twins, and a variety of other musical acts.
The lyrics to Frosty the Snowman describe how a group of young children bring their snowman to life with the help of a magical hat. The snowman and the children then go on to have a series of adventures before he is forced to say goodbye.
The Television Special
Once the Frosty song became an overnight sensation, it was only a matter of time before media executives decided Frosty needed his own television special.In 1969, the Rankin-Bass company produced a 30 minute animated television special based on the song. This program featured the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as the narrator and Jackie Vernon as Frosty himself. Writer Romeo Muller, who also worked on the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer program, was given the responsibility of adapting the song for television.
The Frosty television special was unique in that it marked the first use of traditional cell animation for the Rankin-Bass company. In addition, the company hired greeting card artist Paul Coker, Jr. to create characters that would give the program the feel of a "moving Christmas card." Mr. Coker would later go on to become famous for his work as an illustrator with MAD Magazine.
After the original Frosty television special became a Christmas classic, several sequels were produced:
- Frosty's Winter Wonderland
- Frosty and Rudolph's Christmas in July
- Frosty Returns
- The Legend of Frosty the Snowman
Today, the Frosty Christmas programs are often broadcast on several different television stations during the month of December. If you want to enjoy Frosty year round, you can also buy the Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns Christmas cartoons on DVD.
The Original Story of Frosty
The story of Frosty the Snowman as told in the song is fairly simple. Frosty was a happy snowman, with a corncob pipe, a button nose, and eyes of coal. The children who built him found an old silk hat, which had magical properties. As soon as they placed the hat on his head, Frosty came alive and began to dance.
Frosty realized that, because the sun was hot, he had a limited amount of time before he melted. He invited the children to run and play with him. The children and Frosty played chase around the town square. He leads them through the streets. They pass a policeman who yells "Stop!" Frosty however, pauses only briefly, as he knows his time is almost up. He tells the children goodbye and comforts them by saying he will return.
Frosty's Television Story
When the the story of Frosty the Snowman moved to television, it was expanded a great deal. Karen is the child that finds the magical hat, which originally belonged to a magician named Professor Hinkle. Once Hinkle discovers the magic powers of the hat, he repeatedly tries to get it back.
Frosty, Karen and the children are concerned about Frosty melting. They decide that Frosty should go to the North Pole where he can never melt. Karen and Frosty stowaway on a refrigerated train car. On the same train is Professor Hinkle who is still trying to get the hat back.
While on the train, Frosty notices how cold Karen is becoming. They jump off the train so she won't freeze, leaving Hinkle behind. Hinkle's rabbit, Hocus Pocus, suggests that Santa Claus may be able to help them. The forest animals build a fire to keep Karen warm but Hinkle arrives and extinguished the fire. As they flee Hinkle, Frosty and Karen discover a greenhouse. They go inside: Karen to get warm and Frosty to avoid Hinkle. The magician, however, locks them in the greenhouse.
At this point, Hocus Pocus arrives with Santa Claus, but it appears to be too late. Frosty has melted in the greenhouse. Santa, however, explains that Frosty is made of Christmas snow and therefore cannot melt away completely. Just then, a cold wind blows through the greenhouse and Frosty comes back to life.
Hinkle arrives again and demands his hat. Santa convinces Hinkle that he should give Frosty the hat. If he does, Santa promises a special present in his Christmas stocking. Hinkle departs to write his Christmas list.
Santa returns Karen to her home and takes Frosty to the North Pole. The show closes with a scene from the following Christmas. All the characters are parading through the town square, singing "Frosty the Snowman." Hinkle is wearing his present from Santa: a new top hat. At the conclusion, Frosty goes back to the North Pole with Santa, vowing to be back on the next Christmas Day.
Frosty Gifts and Collectibles
Since Frosty is a Christmas icon, you can purchase a number of gifts and collectibles adorned with his image. If you're looking for the perfect present for a true Christmas fan, check out the following items:
However you bring the spirit of Frosty into your holidays, you're sure to be glad to spend time with this happy snowman.