While the other kids admire their work, the little ginger boy has other ideas about the term "finishing touches"

Back in October while being pushed through our local Costco in a shopping cart, a six foot tall inflatable snowman caught the eye of my sweet Wee One, and forever since have our lives been changed.  For whatever reason, that jolly sack of hot air stuck with my daughter from that day forth.  In order to be able to continue shopping without a full scene erupting, The Wife found a clip of the 1969 classic Frosty The Snowman (narrated by the immortal Jimmy Durante) on YouTube and a phenomenon was born.  Keep in mind this was October.  I have been living with seemingly daily doses of that holiday classic going on 90 days at this point.  Somewhere along the way the DVD found its way into our home and we have no less than four stuffed versions of the most famous non-abominable snowman on the planet scattered about our house.  At this point I would consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of the cult classic as there is not a frame of the program in which I do not know the dialogue or the staging of the entire cast of characters. 

With all of that said it’s that time of year and all of the networks are airing their Christmas classics.  You’re bound to come across Mr. Durante, Professor Hinkle, or Frosty himself on your television screen in the next few days.  Please allow me to plant some seeds of thought, Easter eggs to look for (not to mix holiday metaphors), and gaps in the story that still sting me to this day, even on my 342nd viewing.  Without further ado…

  • The mailman in the intro has the word, “ZiP” on his hat.  Is this because the show was made before they came up with the idea of branding and product placement or is that what postal carriers wore back in the 60s?  Regardless, there’s no way that the USPS doesn’t have their logo all over this opportunity if it were made in 2013.
  • I never really thought about the concept of a “Christmas snow.”  Apparently it has magical powers that I was not aware of.
  • Speaking of if it were made in 2013, there’s no way the kids would be drawing pine trees in the fog on the window.  Today it would most definitely be peni… I mean rocket ships that they’re drawing.
  • What teacher hires a magician to come into a classroom four minutes before Christmas break begins?
  • Is there any way we can see the accreditations of this Mr. Professor Hinkle?
  • I love how the sound effect for all of the Professor’s magic tricks falling out of his hat is the same one they use 16 minutes later for his lifeless corpse rolling down a rocky hillside after being thrown from a train.
  • To his credit I only see Professor Hinkle put two eggs into his hat and three fall out.  I’m not sure how he did that. 
  • We’ve reached the first critical point in the story.  In throwing his hat at – but not into – the garbage can, has Professor Hinkle officially given up ownership of the object?  If any of you readers are in the law profession I’d be interested in your take on this.  Not only is a key plot point here but in high school I worked at a greenhouse where we would throw out unsold flowers by the boatload.  It always perplexed me when the owners of the greenhouse got upset when people would come and pull flats of pansies out of the dumpster after we disposed of them.  Either my former boss or Jimmy Durante are wrong about the point at which one forfeits ownership of an object.
  • Why do all of the children in this program wear shorts in the winter?
  • For that matter, why doesn’t Karen wear any pants at all?
  • Karen is very quick to point out that making the head of a snowman is the most difficult part.  Seeing as how it’s traditionally the smallest ball I would disagree on principle, but I do understand her argument if lifting it to the top of the pile is an issue.  I’m most impressed in these children’s ability to make a snow creature that stands on two separate and distinct legs in the first place rather than the more traditional three stacked ball approach.
  • Are the kids who suggest naming the snowman they create “Christopher Columbus” and “Oatmeal” from the special needs class or were those popular names for snowmen back then?
  • We’re five minutes in and already at our second critical plot point.  After Frosty comes alive the first time, a swift breeze sweeps through and blows the hat off his head.  Throughout the rest of the production Frosty marches through town, jumps, dances, and slides on his stomach at incredible speeds (he is the fastest belly womper in the world you know) and the hat never budges an inch.  Which is it – can it be blown off by a slight breeze or does the “magic” that it contains involve some degree of magnetic connectivity to his frozen water dome?
  • How many millionaire magicians were there in the world in 1969?  Is that an attainable goal for the Professor?
  • I thoroughly enjoy how the writers & producers feel the need to have Jimmy Durante step in at this point and hammer home the fact that Hocus Pocus (the rabbit) and the children were entirely in the right in stealing the hat back.  Apparently the 60s legal system was heavily based on the principles of the historic Supreme Court case of Finders vs Keepers.
  • Frosty walks a fine line in these early moments of life between being innocently naïve and knowing a bit too much about the world for someone that’s 30 seconds old.  How does he know how to count at all?  Even more importantly where did he pick up the English language to begin with?  Is all snow watching us and listening, just waiting to contribute to our conversations?
  • Which of these kids exactly had a corncob pipe on them when making a snowman?  Can we be 100% certain that this whole thing isn’t a drug induced hallucination by some pre-teens smoking dope behind the school?
  • Frosty’s logic is flawed – red thermometers do not cause the temperature to go up. Thermometers are reactive to the ambient temperature, not the other way around.
  • Are all cops depicted during this time period in entertainment of an Irish descent?
  • Apparently the same sound effect applies to trinkets falling out of a hat, train tickets being cut, and people falling down mountains.
  • $3000 seems an exorbitant amount even in this day and age for a train ticket – particularly when some of the destinations are either natural phenomenon’s (Aurora Borealis) and fictitious characters (Nanook of the North).
  • Let it be noted that the train station attendant coined the phrase, “no money, no ticket” well before Harrison Ford did in Indiana Jones Last Crusade.
  • Who’s ever heard of a train with only a single car between the engine and caboose, and that car is a refridgerated box car for frozen cakes and ice cream?  It’s this kind of poor logistical planning fifty years ago that would sink the railroads to their present day state.
  • Key plot point #3 – If Karen never gets on that train then the story gets much more interesting in my opinion.  There’s an inevitable battle royale somewhere up in the Klondike between Frosty and Professor Hinkle for the true ownership of the top hat that is bound to be epic.  Now that is a holiday special I would watch.
  • Think nasty, think nasty, think nasty…
  • An under-discussed plotline here is that Frosty’s journey also entails Hocus Pocus’ escape from indentured servitude as well.  I’m sure there are some underground railroad ties here that I’m missing do to being heavily sedated on prescription medication at the moment.  Think about it, they’re both escaping their existing environment via a train headed north to find their freedom/be able to survive…
  • Frosty definitely makes eye contact with Hinkle while the Professor is cursing him from the back of the train for jumping off when it stopped to let a commuter go by.  This means he knows that they’re being pursued.  Shortly afterwards Jimmy Durante even mentions that “Frosty wanted to get as far away as he could before Professor Hinkle woke up” from his fall.  This means that Frosty is fully cognizant of Professor Hinkle jumping from the moving train and he consciously decided not to help him – basically leaving the Professor to die from traumatic injuries in the harsh winter conditions.  That’s colder than Ice Cube in a Coors Light commercial Frosty.
  • If animals knew how to build fires then why have they not challenged we humans for superiority at the top of the animal kingdom?  Do they know something we don’t?  Are they the ones starting all those forest fires out west every summer?
  • Why are the Marines and the President of the United States bad ideas by Hocus Pocus but waiting for Santa Claus to help them seems logical?
  • Why would Professor Hinkle’s first move upon springing out of the forest be to put the fire out (my favorite part of this whole show is how he takes one giant nefarious stride into the scene)?  Without any warm outerwear, wouldn’t his inclination be to bask in its warmth himself before performing any dastardly deeds?
  • I too would like to see what the “or else” threat would result in from the Professor.  I’ve got to think any potential brawl would open with Frosty being the 50:1 favorite.  Do I have any takers on that line?
  • Why on God’s green Earth does Frosty need to go in the greenhouse with Karen?  Can’t he stand guard outside and everybody wins?
  • When Frosty says, “I’ve been meaning to take off a little weight anyways” after Karen tells him that he’ll melt in the greenhouse, it this ground zero of the media telling the American public that they need to be more concerned with their weight and outward appearance?
  • When Santa and Hocus Pocus enter the greenhouse Jimmy Durante narrates, “…but when they got inside, a terrible sight met their eyes.”  It’s a this point that I’m reminded of a third Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn book that Mark Twain reportedly never published that was built around Becky Thatcher being kidnapped and the boys setting off to rescue her.  Reportedly there was a scene where they followed the trail to a spot where four stakes were sunk into the ground with rope attached to each and a shred of Becky’s dress was found nearby.  The implication was that Becky had been tied down and sexually assaulted by her captors there.  Again, this book was never published because Twain’s editors felt its dark direction would tarnish the image of the previous two American classics and the author himself.  I mention this because for whatever reason, some small part of me wonders how our cultural fabric would have been altered had little Karen been the “victim” that Santa and Hocus Pocus walked in on in that greenhouse one Christmas Eve.
  • At various points in this program Frosty looks incredibly drunk/stoned and Karen’s feet become disproportionately enormous compared to the rest of her body.
  • 1) The Professor still gets presents from Santa at his advanced age?  Why did I get cutoff when I turned 13? 2)  The Professor refers to himself as an “evil magician” in this scene.  Do you think he would have described himself that way as recently as a few hours earlier?  Or is this the initial instance from which Vince Gilligan was inspired (consciously or not) to write a TV series where the main character “broke bad” right in front of our eyes?
  • I love the fact that the illustrators added a yellow tin can to the scene just so the Professor can kick it in order to best convey his feeling of misfortune.
  • We all agree that the Professor has zero chance of writing, “I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty” one hundred zillion times correct?  Santa is just sending him on a fool’s errand here.  Do you think the admittedly “evil” Professor ever receives another gift from Santa again or is Santa one not to hold a grudge?  Discuss…
  • Hocus Pocus is not shown again from this point on in the program.  Is it safe to say that he went back to live happily with the rest of the animals in the glen?
  • Is it me or does Frosty get a little fresh with Karen when they’re dropping her off on her rooftop?  Speaking of, hey thanks Santa and Frosty for leaving this little traumatized girl on her parent’s snow covered roof.  After all you’ve been through with her you need to add one more obstacle to her safety here at the eleventh hour? 

So that’s what I think about when watching this timeless Christmas classic.  I hope I played my small role in either greatly enhancing it or ruining your viewing experience of it entirely much as my daughter has done for me.  Merry Christmas everyone!