439. Frosty the Snowman – Arthur Rankin Jr., George Bass

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SUMMARY: A snowman is magically brought to life by a magician’s hat… but the magician wants it back.

WHY IT’S HERE: Rankin-Bass’s ‘Frosty the Snowman’ is one of the most famous holiday specials in the USA and is an annual Christmas tradition on television. Beloved of entire generations, this charming TV cartoon has been a little overrated due to nostalgic festive memories but, that said, it still has the power to disarm with its good-natured simplicity. Adapted and expanded by Romeo Muller, who had done the same for ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, Rankin-Bass’s previous, feature length Christmas animation, ‘Frosty the Snowman’ benefits hugely from the narration of Jimmy Durante, who appears in caricature (his last performance in a film). Durante’s distinctive rendition of the title song is uniquely effective and terrifically Christmassy. Rankin-Bass wanted ‘Frosty the Snowman’ to have the look of a Christmas card and it achieves this in its rounded, appealingly simple designs by Paul Coker Jr., a former greetings card artist. The look and storytelling stlye of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ seems to have been greatly influential on subsequent TV cartoons right through into the 21st century.

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