Maybe it’s because my first viewing of “Rudolph” occurred when I was 4 years old and my first viewing of “Frosty the Snowman” happened when I was a worldly wise nine-year-old, but I’ve always been extra cynical about Frosty.
The animated TV special (based on a 1950 song introduced by Gene Autry) will doubtless garner oodles of affectionate attention when it turns 50 on Dec. 7, but it remains troubling on multiple levels.
For starters, how did this goofy nobody rate designation as Frosty THE Snowman? Who melted and made HIM boss? What entrenched elitist connections did Frosty have? Is it mere coincidence that Frosty never praised the Sunshine State but also never said a NEGATIVE thing about the DEEP State? Drain the swamp? Ha! Snowplow the snow drifts!
Ever wonder why Frosty has legs, while Sam the Snowman in “Rudolph” had to go scooting around on his bottom? (Or why later airings of “Frosty” haven’t replaced Jimmy Durante’s performance of the title song with ZZ Top shouting, “He’s got legs/And knows how to use them”?) Was the cartoon’s subtext that Frosty wrangled a deferment from the Vietnam War but Sam lost his lower extremities in service to his country? Was it really the greenhouse that melted Frosty, or did he in fact become overheated doing aerobics with Hanoi Jane Fonda?
Granted, Uncle Sam might have avoided drafting someone with Frosty’s intellectual shortcomings. C’mon, you don’t keep announcing, “Happy birthday!” — thus calling attention to your BIRTHDAY SUIT — when you’re not ANATOMICALLY CORRECT.
It would be another decade before TV popularized “Kids, don’t try this at home”; but you can’t really excuse the questionable life lessons of “Frosty,” such as “Christmas snow is magical and makes hoboes riding in railroad boxcars disappear long enough for a little girl to reach the North Pole.”
The scene with the WOODLAND ANIMALS building a campfire for young Karen has never been more disturbing. Could it be that PG&E electric company was just a convenient scapegoat for California’s wildfires?
Surely some of you are now inspired to voice your own repressed objections to “Frosty.” Maybe you want to substitute sugar-free gum for his corncob pipe or replace his “two eyes made out of coal” (non-renewable resource) with two eyes made out of paper straws.
MY biggest pet peeve with the show has always been that Santa Claus, the narrator and everyone else treated bumbling magician Professor Hinkle like a dastardly villain.
Let’s rehash. Professor Hinkle threw his hat in anger and IMMEDIATELY tried to retrieve it, but his own rabbit/assistant (Hocus Pocus) absconded with the headgear. It eventually got commandeered by the same bratty schoolchildren who had committed senior abuse against Hinkle (!) and somehow became the undisputed property of an entity dumped out of a nimbostratus cloud.
Mr. Alderdice, my junior high business teacher, taught us, “You cannot pass a better title than that which you possess.” So, I’d love to see someone argue Frosty’s property rights before the Supreme Court. (“Based on the precedent set in Miranda v. Arizona, you have the right to remain SILENT, while the, um, snowman… TALKS.”)
Celebrate Frosty if you must, but just remember he’s probably out there taunting Rudolph’s veteran narrator with “Hey, Sam, I’m taking a knee — wait, one of Yukon Cornelius’s sled dogs already took it!”
As Professor Hinkle might say, “Messy, messy, messy.”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.