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Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon
Writing Credits:
Romeo Muller

A living snowman and a little girl struggle to elude a greedy magician who is after the snowman's magic hat.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS Monaural
Spanish DTS Monaural
French DTS Monaural

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $16.98
Release Date: 10/26/2018

• Audio Commentary with Animation Historian Mark Evanier
&bull. “The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass” Documentary
• Original Pencil Test


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Frosty the Snowman (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-Ray] (1969)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 4, 2021)

Although the public perception of 1969’s Frosty the Snowman places it in the category of “Christmas classic”, I think it falls into a second tier. The show displays some charm but lacks the quality necessary to be stronger than that.

Set on Christmas Eve, a school class receives “entertainment” from inept magician Professor Hinkle (voiced by Billy DeWolfe). When he tries to pull rabbit Hocus Pocus out of his hat, the gag doesn’t work and Hinkle decides to throw away his headwear.

Class lets out and the kids use the new Christmas snow to build a snowman they call “Frosty”. When Hocus Pocus flees Hinkle, he hops out in the discarded hat, and it ends up on Frosty’s head.

Magically, this briefly brings the snowman to life, but when Hinkle sees the power of the hat, he reclaims it. The kids protest but he ignores them.

Hocus Pocus intervenes, however, and steals back the hat. He returns it to the kids and Frosty (Jackie Vernon) again comes to life.

After a few minutes of fun, Frosty runs into problems because the temperature starts to escalate. This means his imminent demise via melting, so young school kid Karen suggests they transport him somewhere colder, and they choose the North Pole. The rest of the show follows their attempts to keep Frosty frosty as well as Hinkle’s efforts to retrieve his hat.

The best parts of Frosty come from its voice artists, as both DeWolfe and Vernon offer lively takes on their characters. Their roles are the most interesting of the bunch, though the wacky Hocus Pocus also is fun and likable.

Jimmy Durante’s narration offers quirky charm for that element. The young actor cast as Karen is neither good nor bad, but I suppose she does fine in the role. (June Foray originally played the voice, but along the line, the producers redid her voice with an unknown actual child.)

Actually, Karen is one of the show’s weaknesses. At best, she’s a bland personality, and at worst, she’s annoying. She comes across like a smug know-it-all.

When we first meet her, she builds the snowman’s head, and she declares “The head is the most difficult part - ask anyone!” She seems like she’s full of herself and she doesn’t create a likable personality.

I didn’t think a lot of the animation or art of Frosty, though some parts work okay. The character design for roles like Hocus and Frosty seems good, but many of the participants have an unpleasantly crude look.

The animation is stiff and awkward. It’s not worse than what we usually get for cheap TV specials, but it doesn’t look good in any case.

Too erratic to present a really great experience, Frosty the Snowman does impart some fun. Obviously folks like it since it continues to prosper after more than 50 years. I just don’t think it compares favorably with the best efforts in the genre.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Frosty the Snowman appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing about the visuals excelled, but they seemed satisfactory given the show’s age and origins.

Sharpness mostly fared well. A little softness interfered at times, but not much. Instead, the program usually came across as acceptably concise and well-defined within the crude parameters of the original art.

Jagged edges and shimmering failed to interfere, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws seemed absent. Outside of a little sloppy clean-up work, the project looked to be free from defects.

Colors didn’t dazzle, but they consistently looked respectable. The tones were basic but fairly bright and clear.

Blacks were also more than satisfying, with dark and deep elements, and the occasional low-light shot was appropriately defined. The nature of the source meant it lacked much pep, but the end result seemed pretty positive.

To my surprise, the Blu-ray boasted a remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. To be honest, this seemed like an odd choice for a 52-year-old TV cartoon with monaural roots, but the 5.1 mix worked okay.

The soundscape remained modest in scope. Music showed decent spread across the front; I wouldn’t call it true stereo, but the score and songs blended well enough.

Effects failed to add much, so a few minor components like wind appeared to move across the front, but these elements essentially remained monaural.

Surround usage was negligible. I think the back speakers added mild reinforcement of music and that was about it.

Speech lacked much naturalness, but the lines were acceptably concise and distinctive, and I noticed no edginess or other problems. Effects sounded clean and accurate, though they also lacked range.

The score failed to deliver much in the way of dynamics, but I still thought the music was adequate for an older show. I remain perplexed at the decision to create a 5.1 remix for Frosty, but the end result worked fine.

How does this 2018 Blu-ray compare to the prior version? Both felt similar, if not identical. If any improvements came with the 2018 disc, I didn’t note them.

New to the 2018 Blu-ray, we get an audio commentary from animation historian Mark Evanier. He looks at the source song, story/characters, animation, cast and performances, and the show’s legacy.

With only 25 minutes at his disposal, Evanier manages to pack a lot of information into this track. He covers Frosty in a positive manner and makes this a worthwhile piece.

A documentary called The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass runs 47 minutes and includes comments from Evanier, filmmakers Henry Selick, Jon Favreau, Kevin Lima, Chris Butler, Graham Annable, Seamus Walsh, Mark Caballero, and Brenda Chapman, writer Allan Neuwirth, pop culture podcaster Adam Murdough, animation historians Jerry Beck and Greg Ehrbar, stop motion animation producers Stephen Chiodo, Charles Chiodo and Edward Chiodo, critic Will Friedwald and producer Lee Mendelson.

The special discusses the history of the Rankin/Bass partnership, aspects of various productions, and impressions of the shows. While we learn a bit about Rankin/Bass, most of “World” focuses on the participants’ appreciation for their work.

A little of this goes a long way. While we learn some decent notes about the different specials, too much of “World” just praises the productions, so it lacks as much substance as expected.

Finally, an original pencil test spans one minute, four seconds and shows some brief shots in basic form. It seems mildly interesting at best.

Note that the 2018 Blu-ray loses a number of extras from the prior disc. It drops 1992’s Frosty Returns special as well as some artistic tutorials, a singalong and a program with production notes. It’s a shame that this material fails to reappear.

Frosty the Snowman endures as one of the more popular Christmas specials, but it’s not one of the best. It moves briskly and has some good moments. However, it suffers from a number of flaws that make it only moderately above average. The Blu-ray provides mostly positive picture and audio plus a few useful supplements. Frosty remains a spotty holiday show.

This “Deluxe Edition” of Frosty can be purchased on its own or as part of a set called “The Original Christmas Specials”. Along with Frosty, it includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.

To rate this film, visit the DVD edition of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN

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