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Frosty the Snowman

December 11, 2009

Jack Nelson and Steve Rollins, the writers of "Frosty the Snowman," weren't inspired by simple holiday cheer when they penned the strummy epic in 1950. They were motivated by the success of of the previous year's holiday song-writing feature, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and its writer Gene Autry.

The duo wrote several holiday ditties, in search of an instant classic. Among them were "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" for Easter, which they sold to Gene Autry for recording at the same time they offered him "Frosty the Snowman."

Unlike Rudolph, Frosty's back story came long after his song, when the delightful animators at Rankin Bass saw fit to feature the jolly snowman in a 1969 TV film. In the film, Frosty's magical top hat belongs to an over-the-hill musician who villainously plots to steal it back. As Frosty attempts escaping certain demise, he stows away with a schoolgirl on a freight train headed to the North Pole. The magician does succeed in catching up to Frosty--and destroying him--but he's brought back to life by the one and only Claus... and the magician is sharply punished by the schoolgirl's favorite teacher.

Sounds convoluted? Perhaps. But with narration by famed comedian Jimmy Durante and with Jackie Vernon voicing Frosty, the country slowly warmed to the snowman (though not nearly as quickly as they adopted Rudolph as a holiday staple).

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