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Unlike their other holiday specials, which used stop motion puppetry, Rankin/Bass employed tradition 2D cell animation for FROSTY THE SNOWMAN. The style of the animation for FROSTY THE SNOWMAN is quite charming, since the filmmakers were aiming for the look of a greeting card brought to life, sort of like the story’s protagonist Frosty. The plot of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN utilizes the popular Christmas song as the inspiration for this animated tale. Taking place on Christmas Eve, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN tells the story of a group of children that are being entertained in school by a third rate magician named Professor Hinkle. Of course, none of his magic tricks work and the frustrated magician throws away his hat just as the school day ends. The children decide to take advantage of the Christmas snow and build a snowman in the schoolyard. They finish off their creation with the castoff magician’s hat, which magically brings Frosty The Snowman to life.

When Professor Hinkle discovers that his discarded hat actually contains some magic, he tries to get it back. However, with a little help from the magician’s rabbit, Frosty is able to hold onto the hat. Unfortunately, a rise in temperature forces Frosty to leave town and all his new friends behind. A young girl named Karen decides to accompany Frosty on his trek to the North Pole- the only place he is sure he won’t melt. However, Frosty and Karen soon discover that Professor Hinkle is following them in an effort to get the magic hat back. FROSTY THE SNOWMAN features the vocal talents of Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon, Paul Frees and June Foray.

Golden Books Family Entertainment/Sony-Wonder has made FROSTY THE SNOWMAN available on DVD in its correct 4:3 television ratio. The image on the DVD is very appealing; with only minor blemishes to remind one that FROSTY THE SNOWMAN was produced in 1969. Everything appears as crisp and well defined as is possible with cell animation. Colors are nicely rendered with some dusty wintry hues contrasting nicely with the strong Christmas reds. All of the colors appear stable, with no signs of noise or smearing. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack sounds reasonably good, but one must remember that FROSTY THE SNOWMAN was produced for television more than thirty years ago. The mid-range music sounds pleasant enough and is reproduced without any real signs of distortion. Dialogue is clean sounding and always completely understandable.

As a second feature, the DVD includes another holiday special entitled FROSTY RETURNS. FROSTY RETURNS abandons the premise of the original and tells the story of another snowman named Frosty and his new friend, a young girl named Holly, who tries to save her town’s winter carnival from a grouchy old businessman who invents a product that makes snow disappear. FROSTY RETURNS is a rather uninspired special, whose characters bear a vague resemblance to members of the Peanuts gang. FROSTY RETURNS features the vocal talents of Jonathan Winters, Jan Hooks, Andrea Martin, Brian Doyle-Murray, Elisabeth Moss and John Goodman as Frosty. This 1993 special looks as good as the animation will allow and the Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack is reasonably warm and clean sounding.

Animation and music enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the program selection and scene selection features, as well as a couple of extras. Arthur Rankin is on hand to introduce FROSTY THE SNOWMAN and to talk about the production of this beloved Christmas special. Also included on the DVD are original pencil tests for the special’s animation.

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN is a wonderful holiday treat that belongs in every Christmas DVD collection. While FROSTY RETURNS may only be watched once, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN has shown that it has genuine staying power and will be watched year after year.

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN/FROSTY RETURNS is available on DVD individually for $19.98 or as part of a boxed set along with SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN and RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER for $56.98.




Frosty the Snowman

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town/The Little Drummer Boy/Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns (3-DVD Gift Collection)


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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