Here's another Rankin/Bass Christmas special that's pretty much just as, if not more, popular than 'Rudolph'. Perhaps not as much controversy is drawn to this one, though, so it's pretty well skimmed over every year. People still watch and enjoy it as an annual tradition, but one must admit that its kinda been pushed to the background lately - and unnecessarily so. This is actually one of the best all-around family-friendly Christmas specials in existence. It's HARD to find anything wrong with it.
Much like 'Rudolph', as one might imagine, this is basically an unfolding of the 'Frosty' song in visual form. However, this one is far more basic in its execution, at just a 24-minute run-time, and involving just a few main characters.
The whole thing starts on Christmas Eve at a school house where the kids are anxious to get out and play in the Christmas snow. Their teacher brings in a magician to try to distract and entertain the class, by the name of Professor Hinkle (Billy De Wolfe). The kids don't think much of him, and when the bell finally rings, they ditch him to go build a snowman. Hinkle's hat blows onto the new snowman's head, and "Frosty" (Jackie Vernon) - as dubbed by our main character, the young Karen (June Foray), comes to life.
The special unfolds as we kinda follow it along with the way the song goes. The kids see that its getting a bit warmer, and Frosty is starting to melt, so Karen takes it upon herself to get Frosty to the North Pole, where he can stay intact forever. Meanwhile, however, Karen is suffering in the constant cold, putting Frosty in a nasty position. He needs the cold to stay alive, but its slowly making Karen very ill.
Of course, this all leads to the end sequence where Santa comes in to save the day, but again, it's not just a convenient arrival on his part. He's there to give the viewers a bit of a life lesson, as well as instill the overall Christmas spirit in us all. It all moves pretty quickly, but here we have a cute, completely family-friendly and kid-friendly Christmas special that has somehow withstood the test of time. It's one of few left that you never fail to see come on TV every single year, its never been remade, and any sort of sequel it has just can't been compared to the classic.
In my own way, I almost see this as the ultimate fail-safe Christmas special. Its about a snowman, there's really no religious connotations to it, so everything's safe there, and the main villain is just some dude who wants his hat back. It's in no way mean-spirited, it's short and sweet, easy for a kid to get through, and is just about bound to put a smile on your face in the end. Even if you're older, this one does a good job of re-injecting that Christmas spirit into the old blood stream. The ONLY slight problem I see with it is that its pretty dated for today's youth. But still. Everyone needs to see it at least once. It's a classic.