Frosty the Snowman (1969)

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"Happy birthday!"

Frosty the Snowman is a 1969 animated Christmas television special based on the song "Frosty the Snowman". The program, which first aired on December 7, 1969 on CBS (where it continues to air annually), was produced for television by Rankin/Bass Productions and featured the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as the film's narrator (Durante's final performance in a film) and Jackie Vernon as the title character. Despite airing on television, it was the last cartoon TV produced during the Golden Age of American Animation.

TV Guide ranked the special number 4 on its 10 Best Family Holiday Specials list.


A discarded magic top hat brings to life the snowman that a group of children made, until a magician named Professor Hinkle wants it back and the temperature starts to rise. Frosty will melt or no longer be a jolly soul, if the kids cannot get him away from Hinkle and warm weather, so he hops on a train to the North Pole with young Karen.

Why It Rocks

  1. Nicely executed story.
  2. Stays true to the original song.
  3. Decent animation.
  4. Jackie Vernon was great as Frosty the Snowman.
  5. June Foray was great as Karen, and so was Suzanne Davidson, who redubbed Karen's voice roles from the 1970's and then on.
  6. Jimmy Durante was great as the narrator of the film.
  7. Plenty of funny moments.
  8. That very emotional scene where Frosty melts in the greenhouse and Karen watches him die away onscreen right in front of her.
  9. Catchy music.
  10. When Frosty comes back to life is well done.
  11. Ended the Golden Age of American Animation in a higher note, despite being a TV cartoon film.

The Only Bad Qualities

  1. Frosty constantly saying "Happy Birthday" when he comes to life (While creative idea) can get admittedly annoying at times.
  2. Although a rather minor issue, the recast for the kid characters maybe very good, it's really weird how after the special first aired on TV in 1969, the original voice auditions for the kid characters (especially Karen's voice given by June Foray) are now available in the soundtrack album of the special instead of being kept in both TV broadcasting and on home video as originally heard on TV, but with the new voice cast lines for the kids were being maintained from the 1970s and then onward for all future TV broadcasts and on home video releases when VHS tapes were growing to existence.


  • This was Jimmy Durante's final film before his retirement in 1970, and his death on January 29th, 1980, eight years later.

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