Monday, June 3, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Frosty the Snowman

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun.  Great second half
Cons: First half a little slow
The Bottom Line
Frosty the Snowman
Is great for kids.  Make it an
Annual event

A Magic Hat and a Living Snowman

Ever year growing up, I watched a handful of Christmas specials.  It just wasn't the same without them.  Over the years, I've managed to buy all of them but one.  For some reason, I never got around to getting Frosty the Snowman.  I was recently given a set with this special in it, and it was nice to reconnect with an old friend.

This half hour animated show follows the adventures of Frosty the Snowman (voiced by Jackie Vernon).  The story opens at a school on Christmas Eve.  The kids are ready to go for Christmas, especially since a new snow if falling, so they are hardly paying attention to magician "Professor" Hinkle (Billy De Wolfe).

When they are finally free to go, they build a snowman.  As a finishing touch, they put Hinkle's hat on the snowman's head.  And thus Frosty comes to life.  But his life is immediately in jeopardy since Hinkle wants his hat back and the temperatures are warming up.  Will Frosty find a place where he can stay alive peacefully?

Oh what great memories I get while watching this short.  The story is actually rather simple, but I always got caught up in it all over again as a kid.  As an adult, I must admit I find the first part rather slow going.  They recreate the song (sung by narrator Jimmy Durante).  It was fun as a kid watching him walk through town.  Now, I just want him to get in danger.  I also have to wonder about Karen, the kid in the story, who just sets off to the North Pole with Frosty on a whim.  But the kid in me screams that this is a kid's cartoon - stop over analyzing things.

The animation works, but it isn't top notch.  This was low budget work from the 1960's.  There are more noticeable jerks and pumps at times as the characters move.  And everyone is a caricature instead of trying for a real animated human.  Even as an adult, I don't mind that at all.  If the animation were perfect, it wouldn't be Frosty.

Likewise, the voice acting is fine but nothing special.  Then again, the story doesn't really call for big acting range.  It's just a simple story with simple characters.

Once the story gets into the second half, things really heat up.  The magician makes a perfect villain.  He's menacing enough to be taken seriously while still silly enough not to scare kids.  I scared easily as a kid, and I never once had a problem with this story.

I notice more problems with Frosty the Snowman as an adult, but the kid in me still loves it.  If you have kids, you owe it to them to introduce them to this magical special.

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