Frosty’s Winter Wonderland appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Some aspects of the presentation looked pretty good, but a mix of flaws marred the transfer.
Some of these may’ve stemmed from the source material. For instance, colors varied in terms of accuracy. The show usually offered a vivid, lively palette, but some odd inconsistencies materialized. The program can’t keep Andy Griffith’s hair the same color from shot to shot. While his locks usually displayed the logical sandy brown tint, sometimes the hair would look green. Nonetheless, the hues were generally positive and acted as one of the transfer’s stronger aspects.
Sharpness also seemed satisfying most of the time. A little softness occasionally interfered with the presentation, but the show appeared pretty well-defined most of the time. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement wasn’t a concern. Blacks showed good darkness, and the few low-light sequences were appropriately visible.
Wonderland fell to a “C” due to its print flaws. Some parts of the show looked okay, but much of the time I noticed a mix of specks, marks, hairs, lines and other defects. Though the show could’ve looked messier, it also could – and should – have been cleaner. That factor made this a watchable but problematic presentation.
I expected little from the program’s monaural audio, and that’s what I got: consistently mediocre sound. I thought that was fine, though, as a 32-year-old TV show didn’t require auditory fireworks. Speech occasionally betrayed a little edginess, but the lines usually seemed acceptably concise and natural. Music showed decent vivacity, and effects were reasonably clear and accurate. No issues with source noise materialized. Overall, this was a perfectly decent piece of audio.
In terms of extras, the main attraction comes from another holiday special: 1974’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. In this cartoon, a book-smart mouse named Albert (voiced by Tammy Grimes) prints an open letter to Santa that declares no one in his town believes that the Jolly Fat Dude exists. This creates a massive kerfuffle in Junctionville that leaves the townsfolk in desperate need of a way to mollify Santa.
Clockmaker Joshua Trundle (Joel Grey) proposes that they build a special clock to welcome St. Nick and get themselves back on his “nice” list. Trundle gets approval for this, but problems develop that threaten the project’s success.
Like Frosty the Snowman, Night comes based on an outside source. Night actually gives us a very loose adaptation of the Clement Moore poem. In fact, if the producers didn’t exploit the “…not even a mouse” line as license to create rodent lead characters, I don’t think the two would have anything in common at all. Oh, the show uses the poem toward its end, but in truth, Night borrows the title but doesn’t do anything else with its inspiration.
And you know what? That’s absolutely fine. If Night adhered more closely to the poem, it wouldn’t really have much of anywhere to go. It seems a little cheap to simply exploit the title, but I have no complaints about the story of Night.
Indeed, it provides one of the more creative of the 1970s Christmas specials. Along with a pretty good voice cast and some memorable songs, the show consistently entertains. Night doesn’t stand on a list of the most beloved Christmas programs, but I think it’s one of the best.
Too bad this DVD brings it to us in a poor manner. The visuals tended to be soft and suffered from a lot of specks, nicks and marks. Colors were a bit flat and runny, and blacks usually seemed too dense. Audio was thin and constricted, with quite a lot of edginess and sibilance to the speech and vocals. I didn’t think Wonderland looked or sounded particularly good, but Night seemed much worse off in terms of its presentation.
We also find some Sneak Peeks. These come for Nine Dog Christmas: The Movie, Aloha Scooby-Doo, What’s New, Scooby-Doo, Vol. 4: Merry, Scary Holiday, Kangaroo Jack: G’Day USA! and Cartoon Network Christmas: Yuletide Follies.
With 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, the folks at Rankin-Bass created a follow-up to a holiday classic. While not unwatchable, Wonderland fails to live up to even the moderate pleasures of its predecessor. I don’t think the original Frosty is a great show, but it works better than this forgettable sequel. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a bonus special that actually entertains better than the main attraction. Pick up this DVD if you want to see the entertaining ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, but don’t expect much from Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.
Note that you can buy Frosty’s Winter Wonderland on its own or as part of a boxed set called “Classic Christmas Favorites”. The package also includes holiday specials such as The Year Without a Santa Claus, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. With a list price of $39.98, it’s a good deal if you want all the shows.