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Review: Frosty the Snowman – The Rankin / Bass Production

The Two Gay Geeks and our Staff are taking a much needed break from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. But, we still wanted to have content for you to read during that time. As such we got busy and watched all of our favorite holiday videos. Some are classics and others are off-beat and loosely associated with the holidays. We hope you enjoy our offerings and that you holiday season is safe, sane, and satisfying.

What’s the Holiday Season without a healthy dose of some old Rankin / Bass Productions?

At the tail end of the 1960s Arthur Rankin, Jules Bass, and their international teams that did the real work released the animated special of Frosty the Snowman. This drawn animated piece is a Christmas classic mostly because it’s based on the fun song of the same name and the wonderful design work that went into it. The characters were designed by acclaimed MAD Magazine contributor Paul Coker. His cartooning has great appeal that delights audiences even to this day. Also, I suspect that he hand lettered many of the credits with his unique graphic style and energetic line work. The colorists that worked on this piece did right by Coker’s designs making every moment on the screen look like a delightful work of art.

The voice acting is pretty great as well. Jimmy Durante was an inspired choice for the narrator, he had the sound of a warmhearted grandpa which is perfect for a special like this. And, you could never lose when June Foray was in your voice actor cast either. Some of the comic timing was very on point, especially the routine with the traffic cop.

All of that aside, I had a hard time watching this one again. The late writer/ actor Romeo Muller had one simple, tiny song to flesh out into a half hour TV special. That’s a tall order, an order that he filled masterfully on Rudolf, but not so much for Frosty. Muller felt the need to add a villain, that really didn’t need to be a villain. Some plot points could have been cut out, however I do understand that they had a half hour to cover. That said, I live in Phoenix. In my mind, the temperature alone could have been the villain. It was a side villain, but I’m saying that heat was the only necessary villain. Mr. Muller, did give the piece some fun moments, but simpler would have been better. The ágios ex machina of Santa Claus at the end gave us a surprisingly deep scientific/ philosophic speech about Christmas snow.

All in all, I recommend viewing Frosty the Snowman at least once during this season to take in the designs, the voice acting, and the music. I give it four out of five cannonballs.

PS- Yes, I am geek enough to analyze the line work in the credits of an animated special to determine whether or not it came from a MAD Magazine artist.


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