Santa's Sequel Sellouts - December 2: Frosty's Winter Wonderland (Finale)

Santa's Sequel Sellouts - December 2: Frosty's Winter Wonderland (Finale)

Sequel to: Frosty the Snowman (TV Special, 1968)

The iconic Rankin-Bass Christmas TV special, Frosty the Snowman, debuted on CBS in 1968. It featured the voice talents of Jackie Vernon playing Frosty and Jimmy Durante as the narrator.

8 years later, we got a sequel… and today's song – Frosty's Winter Wonderland (Finale).

Unlike most sequels, however, the original production team was part of this project as well. This was another Rankin-Bass production, again with Vernon voicing Frosty. Curiously, Jimmy Durante didn't reprise his role as narrator. At first I thought it was he might have died, however a quick visit to Wikipedia shows that he passed away in 1980, 4 years after this special. Then again, he would have been 82 at the time of this project, so maybe that wouldn't have been the best choice. Instead, the narrator role was shifted to Andy Griffith, who, in my opinion, did a great job.

In Frosty's Winter Wonderland, he gets a wife named Crystal, and they have adventures together, including dealing with the antagonist Jack Frost. Overall, it's a great follow-up special to the original, and it's unfortunate that it's not seen as often on TV. You see, the rights to the original Frosty the Snowman show are currently held by Classic Media (which itself was purchased by DreamWorks Animation in 2012, thus the company has been renamed DreamWorks Classics). However, the rights to this Winter Wonderland sequel are held by Warner Bros. Because of this, you'll never see them packaged together in stores or airing at the same time on TV (ABC Family does seem to show it at least once per year on cable).

Instead, you'll often be exposed to the dreaded piece of animated garbage known as Frosty Returns, a 1992 special that wasn't produced by Rankin-Bass, doesn't feature the original Frosty voice, and whose rights are also owned by Classic Media. This is why you'll always see them sold together on DVD and airing as a 1-hour block on CBS. Whatever you do, avoid Frosty Returns… it's not the true heir to the sequel throne.

Incidentally, there are actually 4 sequels to the original Frosty the Snowman. I've already talked about 1976's Frosty's Winter Wonderland and 1992's Frosty Returns. However, there was another Rankin-Bass produced sequel in 1979, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. In that special, Frosty isn't traditionally cell animated. Instead, he moves into Rudolph's world of stop-motion animation, but once again Jackie Vernon resumes the original voice of Frosty. Finally, there's 2005's The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, which was a direct-to-video project by Classic Media. We featured a song from this special back in the 2008 edition of Steve's 25 Days of Christmas Music.

Back to today's song, it's the closing finale to the Winter Wonderland special, featuring some dialogue and the familiar Frosty the Snowman tune, augmented with new lyrics. You'll also hear the policeman, voiced in the original and this sequel by Paul Frees — who also is the Ghost Host in the Haunted Mansion attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Enjoy the TRUE Frosty sequel!

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From the Archives: December 2

What's This All About?

New to Steve's 25 Days of Christmas Music? Take some time to read the explanation and introduction!