[[caption-width-right:340:Thumpitty Thump Thump! Thumpitty Thump Thump! Look at that Frosty go![[note]]Thumpitty Thump Thump! Thumpitty Thump Thump! Over the hills of snow![[/note]]]]
->''"Happy Birthday!"''

'''''Frosty the Snowman''''' is a 1969 [[RankinBassProductions Rankin/Bass]] ChristmasSpecial, telling the story of how a snowman was brought to life by a magic top hat. ''Frosty the Snowman'' is unusual among the Rankin/Bass ''œuvre'' in that it features hand-drawn animation (Courtesy of Creator/MushiProductions), instead of R/B's usual "Animagic" StopMotion puppet process.

The script is by Rankin/Bass' favorite writer, Romeo Muller, and as usual, is built around a classic holiday tune (although technically, [[BeamMeUpScotty the original song doesn't actually mention Christmas at all]]), though the usual additional original songs by Maury Laws and Jules Bass are conspicuously missing.

It is notable that in the audio album version of this special, Creator/JuneForay voices Karen, and indeed all the children's parts, whereas the televised version uses the voices of actual (uncredited) children.

A sequel, ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland'', was produced in 1976 and the feature-length {{Crossover}} ''Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July'' (which, unlike the previous installments, [[ArtShift utilized R/B's "Animagic" process]]) followed in 1979; Jackie Vernon reprised the part of Frosty in both, and over the course of them our hero acquires a snow-wife (Crystal, voiced by Shelley Winters) and even snow-kids. A non-Rankin/Bass sequel, ''Frosty Returns'', with John Goodman as the title character and Creator/JonathanWinters as the narrator, was made in 1992; it was [[TheyJustDidntCare not generally well-received]]. In this one, the plot focuses around a secular "Winter Carnival" holiday and features an evil businessman named Mr. Twitchell that goes around spraying "Summer Wheeze" an aerosol that gets rid of snow. Apparently, ''the entire town hates snow''. The entire film is about Frosty and [[{{Expy}} a new girl named Holly]] ''singing about how good snow is''. If you haven't guessed, it's an environmentally-themed short. Then in 2005, another special, ''Legend of Frosty the Snowman'', was released on video, with Bill Fagerbakke as the voice of Frosty.

Not to be confused with the somewhat similarly-themed British ChristmasSpecial, ''TheSnowman''.

This is also not the first time the song was adapted into animation. There had previously been a theatrical short created in 1954 by UPA (of ''WesternAnimation/MrMagoo'' fame).
!!This Christmas Special provides examples of:
* AffectionateParody: Has one in the WebOriginal animated short series ''{{Snowy}}''.
* AnachronismStew: The clothing of the animated characters seems to cover the entire period from the 1910s to TheSixties.
* AnimateInanimateObject: Frosty himself, and later his snow-family and friends.
* ArtShift: Frosty and Crystal make their only stop-motion appearances for a crossover with WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer.
* AscendedExtra: Jack Frost, the {{Jerkass}}-[[HeelFaceTurn turned-ally]] from ''Winter Wonderland'' would eventually star in his own Christmas Special, ''Jack Frost'', where he's a [[StalkerWithACrush lovestruck]] {{cloudcuckoolander}}.
* AsideComment: After Frosty asks Karen if she's cold on the train, he turns to the audience and says, "Now, that's a silly question!"
* BrickJoke:
** In the first special, a kid suggests "Oatmeal" as a name for Frosty. In the sequel, the same kid suggests "Corn Flakes" as a name for Frosty's wife.
** Also, in the first special, the traffic cop swallows his whistle from the shock after he realizes he was just talking to a living snowman. In the second, he remembers Frosty, but after realizing Frosty is about to get married, he does the same thing.
** Another one: In the first special, after coming to life, Frosty tries to count, only to find out he can't. (Well, he makes it up to five.) I the sequel, there are ''two'' gags about his inability to count, one where he thinks a two-horse sleigh has one horse, and another where he tries to skate a figure-eight but it turns out a ''nine''.
* CardCarryingVillain: Professor Hinkle. "Think nasty, think nasty, think nasty! Muahahahaha!"
* ChristmasSpecial
* ContinuityNod: In the sequels.
* CrackIsCheaper: An InUniverse example; train tickets aren't exactly the cheapest things to buy, but a single ticket to the North Pole, including tax, is in the quadruple digits.
* DarkReprise: [[spoiler: When Frosty melts.]]
* DastardlyWhiplash: Professor Hinkle is very close to this type of villain, at least in appearance. He's far less competent than either Dick Dastardly ''or'' Snidely Whiplash, and ''that's'' saying something.
* DistaffCounterpart: Crystal, Frosty's bride in ''Winter Wonderland''. She even has a similar-sounding voice courtesy of Shelley Winters.
* EleventyZillion: Santa orders Hinkle to [[ImpossibleTask write, "I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty," a hundred zillion times. (And then maybe, just ''maybe,'' he'll find something in his stocking the next morning)]]. And apparently [[AchievementsInIgnorance he's successful]] because the next time we see him, he's got a new hat!
* FaceHeelTurn: In the sequel, [[RankinBassJackFrost Jack Frost]] is the villain and unlike the clumsy Professor Hinkle, Jack ''is'' a serious threat against Frosty and the kids. Fortunately, Jack realizes he's being a dick for no good reasons and performs a HeelFaceTurn, remaining as a friend and powerful ally every time he appeared again.
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Santa, "who, as you know, speaks a fluent rabbit."
* GenreSavvy: Professor Hinkle displays how much of this he is when confronted by Santa at the climax (specifically, Hinkle was at least smart enough to recognize how the viewers currently see him at that point):
-->'''Professor Hinkle''': ''[kicks a can while undergoing a VillainousBSOD]'' That's not fair! I mean, we evil magicians have to make a living too...
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: "With a corn-cob pipe" -- which Frosty never actually seems to smoke -- perhaps because he can't even strike a match, let alone "build a fire."
* GreenEyedMonster: Jack Frost's antagonism is due to the fact that he's jealous of the attention Frosty's getting.
* TheGrinch: Hinkle, of course.
* HeartDrive: The magic hat, without which Frosty's body is just an ordinary inanimate snowman. Come the climax of ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland'', he doesn't need it anymore (though he still wears it).
* HeelFaceTurn: Professor Hinkle, though only when threatened by Santa, and he still describes himself as an "evil magician" during this sequence (though that may just have been because he was GenreSavvy enough to realize just how low he had sunk and was only making a correct observation of how the average viewer would view him after what he had put Frosty through). Of course, it helps that Santa had promised him that he'd probably get a new hat if he wrote "I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty" a hundred zillion times, so he wouldn't need his old one anymore.
** Jack Frost in the sequel pulls a more legitimate one when Crystal acknowledges his importance and invites him to participate in the wedding.
* HeyItsThatVoice: Paul Frees, voice of Santa Claus and Jack Frost, as well as assorted other minor characters, is probably best remembered as Boris Badenov from ''RockyAndBullwinkle'' (his partner, Natasha [JuneForay], portrays the children's teacher). Frees is also the "Ghost Host" from {{Disney}}'s Haunted Mansion rides.
** In the 1992 sequel ''Frosty Returns'', the lead girl ([[{{Expy}} explicitly not Karen]]) is voiced by a ten-year-old Creator/ElisabethMoss. Yes, ''[[MadMen that]]'' Creator/ElisabethMoss.
* HollywoodToneDeaf: Charles (Holly's friend) in ''Frosty Returns''.
* InkSuitActor: Jimmy Durante as the narrator and Billy [=DeWolfe=] as Professor Hinkle in the original; Andy Griffith as the narrator in ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland''.
* ISophagus: The traffic cop swallows his whistle -- which nonetheless still sounds.
* {{Jerkass}}: When Hinkle comes upon Karen in the woods, he immediately blows out her campfire for no particular reason. Seeing as she needed it to not freeze to death, this is pretty despicable.
* LoveImbuesLife: In the sequel, the kids build Crystal, a snow-wife for Frosty. She receives the gift of life out of the love Frosty immediately felt for her, embodied in a bouquet of frost flowers he gives her. Later, a gust of wind snatches away Frosty's hat (turning him back into a non-sentient snowman) but Crystal's love allows him to become alive again without the need of his magic hat.
* MagiciansAreWizards: Averted, in that Hinkle can not only not work real magic, but is lousy even at the stage variety. His ''hat'', however...
* {{Narrator}}: Jimmy Durante in the original, Andy Griffith in ''Winter Wonderland''.
* NiceHat: '''The''' Hat, of course. (Described as an "old silk hat".)
* NonHumanSidekick: Hocus Pocus the rabbit.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Professor Hinkle may ''seem'' like an incompetent DastardlyWhiplash villain at first, but see MoralEventHorizon in the YMMV section.
* TheOtherDarrin: Karen was voiced by JuneForay in the original airing; later and most current versions have another, uncredited actress, whose identity is unknown, doing the voice.
* ParodyCommercial: In 2009 CBS made this [[https://myspace.com/judas.sleeper/video/frosty-the-inappropriate-snowman/101272670 mash-up ad]] combining Frosty with ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''.
* ReligionIsMagic: In ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland'', Parson Brown explains to the kids that he can't marry Frosty and Crystal since they aren't humans, and suggests they build a snow-parson who can do the job. They do, and Parson Brown brings it to life by giving it a Bible ("A parson's not a parson without the Good Book in his hand!").
* RunningGag: Whenever a snowman comes to life (including Frosty himself, as well as Crystal and the snow-parson), the snowman's first words afterwards, without exception, will be "Happy Birthday!"
* {{Snowlems}}: Frosty himself. Type I.
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Santa can talk to Hocus Pocus the rabbit.
* TheSpeechless: Hocus Pocus, though he hasn't a single line, goes near to [[EnsembleDarkhorse stealing the whole show]].
* SuddenAnatomy: Frosty has FourFingeredHands, but sprouts a fifth finger when he tries to count.
* TrueLovesKiss: Crystal's kiss grants Frosty permanent sentinence in ''Winter Wonderland'', thwarting Jack Frost's efforts to destroy him by stealing his hat.
* UndersideRide: The magician does this on the underside of a train, in an attempt to get his hat back.
* VillainousBSOD: Professor Hinkle goes through a brief one at the climax until Santa gives him a shot at redemption, which he immediately and hurriedly takes up.
-->'''Professor Hinkle''': That's not fair! I mean, we [[GenreSavvy evil magicians]] have to make a living too...
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Frosty and his wife may be happy up in the Arctic, but what ever became of "Pastor Snow" who married them? He was alive too; but isn't mentioned after the wedding.