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With: Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon, Paul Frees, June Foray (voices)
Written by: Romeo Muller
Directed by: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 25
Date: 12/07/1969

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Snow Days

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rankin & Bass's Frosty the Snowman (1969) was one of their most beloved Christmas specials, or at least it was when I was a kid. It's notable for its use of hand-drawn animation rather than stop-motion, and the wonderful narration of Jimmy Durante. It always breaks my heart when Frosty enters the greenhouse to keep his little friend warm. Jackie Vernon is the voice of Frosty and the great June Foray is the little girl Karen, who becomes Frosty's friend; of course, there's a bad guy who technically owns the magic hat that brought Frosty to life (he receives a stern talking-to by Santa).

In 2015, I received a most spectacular two-disc Blu-ray collection, released by Classic Media, entitled "The Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector's Edition." It includes Frosty and six other Christmas shows: Rankin & Bass's masterpiece, and the one that started it all, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964); Cricket on the Hearth (1968), based on Dickens; The Little Drummer Boy (1968), narrated by Greer Garson (another one that affected me quite deeply as a kid); and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970), Santa's origin story, and another favorite. Then there are two not produced by Rankin & Bass, Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), which I remember watching one holiday while lying on the couch with an ear infection (and which does not hold up very well), and finally, the unfortunate Frosty Returns (1992). The set includes lots of kid-friendly bonuses.

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