Frosty the Snowman, Lookback/Review
Is there one among us who has not seen Frosty the Snowman? Whose heart doesn't clench up in our chests at the image of Frosty as nothing but a puddle on the floor of that greenhouse?
I don’t know what is wrong with my kids. They are so not into the classic Christmas cartoons, it kind of worries me. How can anyone not like Peanuts? Or all the stop-motion films? Or Frosty the Snowman??I grew up watching this show every single year for as long as I can remember. It’s a magical adventure based on the original song, but adding in an evil magician (Professor Hinkle, voiced by Billy DeWolfe), his rabbit assistant Hocus Pocus and a precocious little girl who follows Frosty on his journey to the North Pole.The show is narrated and the songs sung, by Jimmy Durante (shown in fine animated caricature form). He comes upon a schoolhouse full of kids waiting to get out for Christmas and the first snow of the year is falling. It makes sad people happy, happy people happier, cats and dogs living together…you get the idea.Professor Hinkle is brought in to entertain the kids, but he is “the worst magician ever” and proves it by spilling all of his magical implements and failing to make three eggs disappear from his hat. Hinkle throws the hat at the trash bi, and out pops Hocus Pocus, but the bell rings and all the kids go running outside to build a snowman. It starts out as just one small head-sized ball on top of the body, but almost instantly, it’s standing up on legs. One little girl, Karen, gives him the name Frosty and when Hocus Pocus bounces the hat outside, Karen is the one to put it on Frosty’s head, bringing him to life. Frosty (voiced by Jackie Vernon) is alive long enough to shout, “Happy Birthday!” and then the wind blows the hat off again, snatched up by Hinkle, who pooh-poohs the kids saying Frosty was alive, even though he saw it for himself.The hat is quickly returned by Hocus and Frosty is alive again, enjoying his time as a semi-human until he starts to get hot. Strangely, the temperature is climbing, but none of the snow on the ground or houses seems to be melting. He and the kids parade through town on the way to the train station, hoping to catch a ride to the North Pole. On the way, they get stopped by a police officer, who asks Frosty if he saw the traffic light up on the lamppost. Frosty claims he doesn’t know what these things are, even though he already knew what a thermometer was…hmm. The clerk at the train station says it’ll cost three thousand dollars for the ticket. That sounds about right, even by today’s standards, but can you take a train all the way to the North Pole? Anyway, Karen tells him that they don’t have any money, so no ticket.Karen hops into a refrigerated box car with Frosty and Hocus, Hinkle stowing away underneath, but Karen is freezing, so they get off in the middle of nowhere…where it’s still cold. They find some animals to help build a fire, Frosty staying faaaaaar away. Hinkle shows up, not freezing at all in his magician’s attire and blows the fire out in one breath. Frosty and Karen slide down to a greenhouse full of poinsettias to escape and go inside to warm Karen up. Hinkle catches up to them and slams the door shut…it doesn’t have a lock on it, but Frosty is “trapped” inside.Santa arrives to find Frosty melted away, but assures Karen that because Frosty was made from Christmas snow, he is still alive. They open the door, wind rushes in, Frosty is re-created without a scratch and the hat brings him back to life. Hinkle gets sent off to write, one zillion times, “I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty,” so that he might get some gifts on Christmas day. They could probably use that for the beginning of a Simpsons episode…Final review: I’ve always loved this cartoon, although I find myself questioning certain things now that I watch it as an adult. Why does Santa only have four reindeer?Why do they drop Karen off on the roof? How can a child matter-of-factly say, before hopping a train to the North Pole, “I’m sure my mother won’t mind, as long as I’m home in time for supper?” This is truly a show about a more innocent time. Makes you want to believe in magic all over again.Best line: Jimmy Durante explaining, as Hocus communicates with Santa, that Santa “speaks a fluent rabbit.”Best of the rest: Frosty and the kids creating all kinds of mayhem as they parade through town, which includes making the cop swallow his whistle.