"Happy birthday!" said Frosty.
December 14, 2010 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Today marks 60 years since Frosty the Snowman was released. It was recorded by singing Cowboy Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys a year after his iconic recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".

The song has been covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, The Chipmunks, The Ronettes, The Jackson 5, The Cocteau Twins, Fiona Apple, Dr. John and Leon Redbone and Willie Nelson.

In 1954, the UPA animation studio created the first animated short featuring Frosty. But by far the best-known and loved animated adaptaion of Frosty is the 1969 Rankin-Bass holiday classic where Frosty was voiced by comedian Jackie Vernon. The special was narrated by Jimmy Durante.
posted by inturnaround (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I know this might be a slight derail, but I've wondered about the provenance of this version of Rudolph stuck in my head for over three decades and perhaps this thread might shed some light given the topic:

Rudolph the red nosed cowboy
had a very shiny gun
and if you ever saw him
you would turn around and run

then one day the sheriff came
Rudolph with your gun so bright
won't you shoot my wife tonight?

posted by The Lady is a designer at 7:19 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Heh; we just watched the Rankin-Bass special and one of its (sort of) sequels-with a score by Mark Mothersbaugh! I'll have to share these links with my daughter!
posted by TedW at 7:35 AM on December 14, 2010

Oh, man, I wish I could find the version of Frosty I heard on the radio this weekend. It was just a trainwreck. Modern and upbeat, female singer, and the last minute or so was the backup singers repeating "Frosty the Snooowman!" over and over. I thought it was Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, but apparently not.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2010

Uncleozzy, was it Kimberly Locke?
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on December 14, 2010

A friend of mine recently noted:

"Listening to Frosty The Snowman, I find myself thinking: pale. sparkles in sun. can't be with Karen since it would kill her (or him). Hmm..."
posted by kyrademon at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2010

was it Kimberly Locke?

I don't think so, but it did have that made-for-reality-TV whiff about it, come to think of it.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2010

50's animated Christmas films always seemed more creepy than festive. Those cartoons are probably what made so many children of the 50's grow up to be radicals in the 60's.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2010

Heard a version of Frosty at the mall over the weekend where they obviously didn't hire children singers. For the chorus they just sped up the tape and ended up with a weird not-quite-the-chipmunks-but-definitely-not-real-children singing effect. Even weirder was the end where the "children" all laughed and cheered.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2010

Gotta love the Gene Autry Songs.
So Much Bounce, they infect you with the Happy, regardless of the seasonal message.
posted by djrock3k at 8:23 AM on December 14, 2010

The first time I heard the Cocteau Twins version I thought I was suffering from ergotism.
posted by mwhybark at 8:42 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I haven't thought about Frosty the same since this happened last year.
posted by mothershock at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2010

New York Post: Frosty usurps Santa's rightful place in Christmas.

TV's Frank: Frosty a new "cold war" front in the war on Christmas.

Marketing icon cage match!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2010

The Lady is a designer: ...wondered about the provenance...Rudolph the red nosed cowboy

There are so many variations on that song that I think its safe to assume that it is one of those folk melodies invented by kids, just like "Jingle Bells, Batman smells". Rudy the red gun cowboy, Randolph the Bow-Legged Cowboy, Randolph the six-gun shooter, etc.
posted by bitslayer at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2010

Frosty usurps Santa's rightful place in Christmas.

Well sure, isn't Frosty a sort of Christ figure anyway? He's a "fairy-tale" who "came to life [...] just the same as you and me" and knew that he would "melt away" but "be back again someday."
posted by uncleozzy at 9:14 AM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that is a pretty terrible special. I watched it ONCE as a kid and made my kids watch it ONCE (over their objections after they'd seen the terrible animation, among other things) just so they'd get all the cultural references to it.
posted by DU at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2010

Burl Ives was a shadow man.

Great post.
posted by clavdivs at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2010

My 3.5 year old son is singing 'Frosty' at his Holiday Sing at preschool today. We watched the cartoon over the weekend and he seemed to enjoy it. I'll let the teacher know 'Frosty' is 60 years old today! It's been super cute to hear him singing that and 'Jingle Bell Rock'!
Thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump!
posted by cherryflute at 9:52 AM on December 14, 2010

Rudolph is better anyway.
posted by grubi at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2010

Frosty usurps Santa's rightful place in Christmas.

"FACT: Santa Claus has shown a consistent track record of avoiding the houses of Jewish children."

Who are you today, "Santa"?


"When we survey the history of the evolution of Santa Claus, the critical point occurred, in my opinion, when the St. Nicholas visit was transferred from Dec. 6 to Dec. 25. Christians would have no major problem with a make-believe custom about St. Nicholas bringing gifts on his own day. Christians do (or at least should) have a major problem with moving the St. Nicholas thing to Christmas and, even worse, calling it Christmas!"


"if Santa is Odin, the tree and all "yule" celebrations are Germanic-pagan, the gift giving and feast are Roman, and the date has nothing to do with Jesus, what part of Christmas is Christian?"
posted by mrgrimm at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I strongly suspect that a good number of my ancestors were the sort to ban mince pies at Christmas because it might lead to papist forms of worship. But these are the same sort of people who banned drink because you'd become a drunkard and banned cards because you'd become a gambler.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Look at that Frosty go!

posted by Halloween Jack at 11:33 AM on December 14, 2010

Is this where we talk about how awesome the stop-motion rudolph style christmas episode of community is?


posted by flaterik at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2010

I caught the end of that Community episode with the two goofy guys swapping heads on the couch. I'll have to check it out. That wacky meta-tv.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:27 AM on December 15, 2010

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