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The Avengers of 1979
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Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July is a Rankin/Bass Productions Christmas Special, which premiered on ABC on November 25, 1979. It is notable for having several Christmas and winter icons — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus — in the same special, along with characters from past specials making appearances.

Long before Santa Claus came to power, the North Pole was ruled by a Sorcerous Overlord called Winterbolt. He was defeated when the Northern Lights took human form and cast him into a deep sleep. But as Lady Boreal says, "Nothing is forever". Upon awaking, Winterbolt determines to upend Santa by creating the worst snowstorm ever — the snowstorm, in fact, only to be foiled once again by Lady Boreal, who created Rudolph's shiny red nose to counter Winterbolt's magic.

In the summer of July, the appearance of a hot balloon ice cream salesman and the troubles of a circus by the seashore give Winterbolt the means to destroy Santa — by trapping Rudolph and Frosty's family in a no-win situation far from Santa's territory, where only Winterbolt's magic can keep the Frosty family from melting in the July sun!

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This special marked the final appearance of these versions of the lead characters under the original Rankin-Bass Productions, but later (non-stop motion) specials with the same character designs would follow decades later, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, and A Miser Brothers Christmas. A modified and softened version of Jack Frost starred in his own eponymous Rankin-Bass special a few months later.

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Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July provides examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: At the end of the special, Winterbolt transforms into a tree after Lilly destroys his scepter.
  • Art Shift: For Frosty and his family, as this is the first time they've been set in stop motion.
  • Babies Ever After: Frosty and Crystal had two snowchildren, Milly and Chilly, before the movie starts.
  • Beard of Evil: Winterbolt has a long, white beard to emphasize his evil nature.
  • Big Bad: Winterbolt is the main antagonist of the special.
  • Big Good: Lady Boreal of the Northern Lights.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of the story, Rudolph and Officer Kelly help save Lilly's circus from being shut down by Sam Spangles. Later, Jack Frost of all characters arrives from South America to help bring Frosty and his family back to life.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Winterbolt is no more, Sam Spangles is sent to jail for his misdeeds, the storm is finally over and Jack Frost revives the Frosty family. However, Rudolph has to go his separate ways with the Frosty family to stay in Lilly's circus.
  • Bond One-Liner: Lilly says "What an exit." after she destroys Winterbolt's scepter, causing him to turn into a tree.
  • Book-Ends: The first song heard during Rudolph's introduction is "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The song also makes an appearance towards the end of the special when Rudolph joins the circus.
  • BSoD Song:
    • "No Bed of Roses", sung by Rudolph after he loses his nose glow.
    • Frosty has one too, "Now and Then", before he willingly sacrifices his magic hat to Winterbolt, but not before thinking of Crystal one last time.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Knowing that Lady Boreal doesn't frighten him, Winterbolt tries to freeze her with his staff at the beginning of the film, but she deflects it and puts him into a deep sleep for many years.
  • But Thou Must!: Once the main fuse for the fireworks is lit, they will continuously go off and cannot be stopped, even if a downpour fell on them.
  • Celestial Deadline: The amulets worn by Frosty and his family lose their magic when the last firework goes out.
  • Character Narrator: Santa Claus provides the narration for this special.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lilly, whom, at first glance, seems like a major character who only serves as the owner and ringmaster of the circus...
  • Christmas in July: Appropriately enough, the special is set during a circus event in July.
  • Commonality Connection: Rudolph and Frosty's friendship seems to be born of being "misfits". "Us misfits have to stick together!"
  • The Cameo: During the "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" number, a young doe that resembles Clarice from the original special can be seen. Also, a picture of Father Time from Rudolph's Shiny New Year can be seen in Rudolph's dressing room. In another flashback, the Snow-Parson from Frosty's Winter Wonderland can also be seen marrying Frosty and Crystal.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: References to past specials are made, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Frosty's Winter Wonderland, and Rudolph's Shiny New Year.
  • Disney Death: Frosty gets two, with Crystal, Milly and Chilly sharing the second. First he sacrifices his magic hat to Winterbolt, and later he and his family all melt when Winterbolt's magic is destroyed.
  • Dramatic Irony: Rudolph's Red Nose got him ridiculed by the other reindeer. But when he loses it, he ends up an outcast again by losing what made him famous.
  • Evil Counterpart: Scratcher the reindeer, who was kicked out of Santa's workshop for stealing toys and candy canes. Winterbolt specifically asked his Genie to find a reindeer who was everything Rudolph wasn't.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Winterbolt has a powerful and deep voice befitting for a villain as a result of him being voiced by Paul Frees.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Rudolph hits this when talking about No Ontological Inertia:
    "If Winterbolt's powers are gone, that means those amulets are no good either... *gasps* Frosty! Crystal!"
  • Faux Affably Evil: When Winterbolt meets Rudolph and Frosty, he's cordial and polite. So is he when he tricks Rudolph into letting his nose go out and make Frosty's magic amulets last longer.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In order to make the Frosty family's magic amulets last longer, Rudolph has to take the blame for the stolen suitcase and let his nose light go out as a result. Willingly, he takes the blame.
  • Hate Sink: Winterbolt. Unlike the other Rudolph villains, who are either reformed (The Bumble), sympathetic Anti Villains (such as Aeon the Terrible and Mr. Cuddles) or just bullies, Winterbolt is completely devoid of any sympathetic qualities. He's a cruel, arrogant, remorseless and power-hungry sociopath who was perfectly willing to pull strings to destroy Rudolph's life and even "kill" Frosty and his family for the sake of his own agenda, even holding their lives hostage in order to blackmail Rudolph. When he meets his end at the hands of Lilly, he gets absolutely no sympathy from the audience.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rudolph goes through a brief one when Winterbolt douses his nose out and everyone turns their backs on Rudolph.
  • An Ice Person: Winterbolt can uses his scepter to freeze anything into ice.
  • Jerkass: Scratcher is implied to have been this even before Santa fired him, which has only made him more bitter.
  • Just Think of the Potential: When Winterbolt learns of Frosty's magic hat, he decides to get it so he can use it to build an army of animate snowmen!
  • Karma Houdini: Scratcher helps Winterbolt in his plans, and escapes with no punishment at the end.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Compared to villains of past specials- Bumble the Abominable Snowman, Prof. Hinkle, Burgermeister Meisterburger- Winterbolt stands out. He's got power, cunning, and the ruthlessness to use them!
  • Large Ham: Lilly Loraine, the circus owner, justified by her job as ringmaster. Played to the hilt by Ethel Merman.
  • Mr. Exposition: Winterbolt has a "Genie of the ice scepter", who acts more like a soothsayer and brings Winterbolt up to speed on elements of the Rankin-Bass universe we already know.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lilly uses her guns to destroy Winterbolt's scepter at the end of the film, but it only ends up causing Frosty and his family to melt again.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Had Winterbolt not used his Snow Dragons to create that foggy storm on Christmas Eve, Rudolph would have never been chosen to guide Santa's sleigh and gained the respect of his peers.
    • After Winterbolt succeeds at dousing Rudolph's nose and breaking his spirit, he cons Frosty out of his magic hat. In doing so, he gives Rudolph the impetus to stand up and fight against the villain redeeming himself and reigniting his nose.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Winterbolt is defeated, his magic is undone, resulting in all the snowmen temporarily melting.
  • Origins Episode: Santa's monologue shows how Rudolph got his shiny red nose: Lady Boreal gave Rudolph the last bit of her magic before returning to the Northern Lights.
  • Picture-Perfect Presentation: The transition to Milton's flashback of the circus being forced into debt right before his wedding with Lanie is accompanied by a zoom in on a poster of Lanie, which changes to her actually on the tightrope. The same scene, though reversed, is used again when returning to reality.
  • Properly Paranoid: Frosty does not want to take his family to the sea in July! He's not being mean, he just knows that they'll melt in the summer sun. He also spends most the special worried that Santa — who promised to take the family home before the magical amulets Winterbolt gave them run out- will not make it in time.
  • Series Continuity Error: In "Frosty's Winter Wonderland," Crystal's kiss brought Frosty back from his Disney Death, apparently giving him permanent life without the need for his magic hat. Here he once again needs his magic hat to stay alive.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Winterbolt ruled the North Pole long before Santa arrived, using his magic scepter to freeze anyone who stood in his way.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Lady Boreal is the one who granted Rudolph his shiny nose, which the reindeer is unaware of to this day. It's also implied that she's the one who arranges...
    • Big Ben the clock-whale from Rudolph's Shiny New Year to meet Rudolph after he's lost his glow. Upon learning that Winterbolt is essentially holding Frosty's family hostage, he tells Rudolph to make things right as he's figured out a workaround, bring Jack Frost to keep the snow people cold.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: Lilly throws her guns at Winterbolt without firing them, as they only shoot blanks. The guns shatter his scepter (due to the scepter being made of ice, while the guns are made of iron, which is one of the few weaknesses all Western magical beings share), destroying the source of his powers, in a rare instance of this tactic not only working, but being the key to victory.
  • Transflormation: After his scepter is shattered, Winterbolt loses his powers and turns into a tree.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The crux of Winterbolt's scheme; Rudolph's nose will stop glowing if he uses it to commit an evil deed, so Winterbolt conspires to trick Rudolph into doing just that.
  • Usurping Santa: Winterbolt is planning to overthrow Santa as ruler of the North Pole after his awakening.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Or reindeer in that case. Scratcher doesn't appear again after helping Winterbolt with his evil scheme, nor is he even mentioned.
  • A Wizard Did It: Both the "Foggy night" and Rudolph's shiny nose are retconned into having supernatural origins.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Or in this case, when the last firework goes off. The magic spell Winterbolt cast to allow the Frosty family to stay solid in the July sun wears off when the last of the Fourth Of July fireworks explodes. When it looks like Santa won't make it in time, Frosty tries a Loophole Abuse by preventing the fireworks from starting, but he's too late.
    Frosty: (Seeing the last firework on display) That's my number, all right. And when my number goes up, my number is up.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Lady Boreal's words of encouragement to Rudolph over the course of the film.
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