Frosty The Snowman Is about to become a jolly, happy movie star!
Introduced in a song first recorded by Gene Autry in 1950, and covered by many other artists since, Frosty The Snowman is an icon of the Christmas season. Now, Frosty is set to hit the big-screen, with Aquaman and Game Of Thrones star Jason Momoa to voice the beloved snowman.
However, the new film won’t be the first time Frosty’s story has been adapted to another medium. Here’s all the previous on-screen appearances of Frosty The Snowman.
1952 Short Film
Frosty was first brought to life on-screen by animation studio UPA in 1953. Although little more than a film clip set to the song, the short, produced in black and white, is still viewed as a classic.
The short airs on independent TV network WGN-TV every year, as part of Bozo, Gar, And Ray, a two-hour retrospective special on classic children’s programming. The short also airs yearly on NBC affiliated network WJAC-TV.
Frosty The Snowman (1969)
In 1969, Rankin-Bass, the studio behind classic stop-motion special Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, took on the task of adapting the popular Frosty The Snowman Christmas carol into an animated special.
The special begins with a group of children building a snowman, who they then accidentally bring to life with a magic hat. The snowman, whom they name Frosty, spends a day of fun with the children, but becomes concerned when the weather grows warmer.
Accompanied by a little girl named Karen, Frosty embarks on a trip to the North Pole, where he won’t melt. They are pursued by Professor Hinkle, the original owner of the magic hat. Hinkle plans to steal the hat back and use its magic to make a profit.
The special is a classic, and still airs at least once every year.
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976)
Rankin-Bass eventually decided to produce a sequel, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.
A few years after the events of the first special, Frosty returns to visit his young friends. Unfortunately, he is left alone every night when the children are called home. To combat Frosty’s loneliness, the children build him a snow-wife, Crystal. Meanwhile Jack Frost, jealous of the attention Frosty is getting from the children, makes plans to steal his magic hat.
Like the original, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland airs nearly every year, but not on the same network, as the rights to each special are owned by different companies.
Rudolph And Frosty’s Christmas In July (1979)
Rankin-Bass produced a third and final special, Rudolph And Frosty’s Christmas In July, in 1979. The special was intended to act as an epic conclusion to both the Rudolph and Frosty trilogies.
In the special, Rudolph, Frosty, and Crystal agree to perform in a friend’s circus, building interest so it will not have to be sold. Unbeknownst to them, the evil wizard Winterbolt is out to extinguish Rudolph’s shiny nose and steal Frosty’s hat.
Clocking in at 98 minutes, it’s a little less common to see this one on the Christmas TV schedule. However, Rudolph And Frosty’s Christmas In July has gained a cult following.
Frosty Returns (1992)
After losing the rights to air Winter Wonderland, CBS commissioned their own sequel to the 1969 Frosty The Snowman special.
In Frosty Returns, a new Frosty is brought to life with the magic hat, and befriends a lonely young girl, Holly. Frosty and Holly must convince the town of Beansboro not to use Summer Wheeze, a dangerous aerosol spray that instantly destroys nearby snow.
Frosty Returns contains little continuity with the earlier specials, apart from subtle suggestions that a snowman has been brought to life before. The new Frosty is voiced by John Goodman, as Frosty’s original voice actor, Jackie Vernon, passed away in 1987.
The Legend Of Frosty The Snowman (2005)
In 2005, Classic Media and Studio B productions produced a new direct-to-video film, The Legend Of Frosty The Snowman. While not an official sequel to the Rankin-Bass specials, it was marketed as one, and used a very similar character design for Frosty.
Using the safety of Winter to travel away from the North Pole, Frosty arrives in the town of Evergreen. Though seemingly idyllic, the children of Evergreen are stifled by the harsh rules imposed by the strict Mayor Tinkerton. It is up to Frosty and Tommy Tinkerton, the Mayor’s son, to bring fun back to the town. It is hinted that the Tinkertons are related to Professor Hinkle, the reformed villain of the 1969 special.
In this film, Bill Fagerbakke voices Frosty The Snowman. Interestingly, Fagerbakke once took part in a parody short for Nickelodeon’s ‘Nickmas’ event. The short cast Fagerbakke’s Spongebob Squarepants character, Patrick Star, as a very annoying version of Frosty.
Only time will tell how the new Frosty film will measure up to the classic specials of the past. Jason Momoa definitely has some big snowy footprints to fill.