Frosty the Snowman
|"Frosty the Snowman"|
|Single by Jimmy Durante|
|Label||Warner Bros. Records|
|Songwriter(s)||Walter Rollins & Steve Nelson|
"Frosty the Snowman" (or "Frosty the Snow Man") is a popular Christmas song written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 and later recorded by Jimmy Durante, releasing it as a single. It was written after the success of Autry's recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shipped the new song to Autry, who recorded "Frosty" in search of another seasonal hit. Like "Rudolph", "Frosty" was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special by Rankin/Bass Productions (formerly known as Videocraft International), Frosty the Snowman. The ancillary rights to the Frosty the Snowman character are owned by Warner Bros., but due to the prominence of the TV special, merchandising of the character is generally licensed in tandem with that special's current owners, DreamWorks Classics.
The song recounts the fictional tale of Frosty, a snowman who is brought to life by a magical silk hat that a group of children find and place on his head. Although Frosty enjoys roaming throughout town with the children who constructed him, he runs afoul of a traffic cop and leaves town, promising he will be back again someday.
Although it is generally regarded as a Christmas song, the original lyrics make no mention of the holiday (some renditions, like that in the 1969 Rankin/Bass TV special, change the lyric "I'll be back again someday" to "I'll be back on Christmas Day"). The song supposedly takes place in White Plains, New York, or Armonk, New York; Armonk has a parade dedicated to Frosty annually.
|Jimmy Durante version|
|US Pop Singles||7|
|Nat King Cole version|
|US Pop Singles||9|
|Perry Como version|
|US Pop Singles||74|
|Jan and Dean version|
|US Pop Singles||11|
Partridge Family Christmas Card (1971) Chart #1 Christmas Album
|Johnny Mathis version|
|US Adult Contemporary||29|
|Kimberley Locke version|
|US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|Canadian Adult Contemporary||40|
|Billboard Top AC Songs of 2008||46|
|Whitney Wolanin version|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||13|
Other notable versions
- Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians (1950)
- Red Foley and The Little Foleys (1950)
- Spike Jones (1956)
- Jimmy Durante MGM Records (1950)
- Ella Fitzgerald (1960 - Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas)
- The Chipmunks (1962 - Christmas with The Chipmunks)
- Bing Crosby (1962 - I Wish You a Merry Christmas)
- The Ronettes (1963 - A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector)
- The Beach Boys (1964 - The Beach Boys' Christmas Album)
- Brenda Lee (1964 - Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee)
- Jimmy Durante (1969 - on the animated TV special)
- The Jackson 5 (1970 - Jackson 5 Christmas Album)
- Conway Twitty
(1983 - Merry Twismas from Conway Twitty and his Little Friends)
- Raffi (1983 - Raffi's Christmas Album)
- George Strait (1986 - Merry Christmas Strait to You!)
- Leon Redbone with Dr. John (1989 - Christmas Island)
- Kidsongs (1992 - We Wish You a Merry Christmas)
- The Four Freshmen (1992 - Freshmas!)
(as part of a "Freshmas Medley")
- Charlie Daniels & The Charlie Daniels Band
(2002 - Merry Christmas to All)
- Harry Connick Jr. (2003 - Harry for the Holidays)
- Michael Bublé with The Puppini Sisters (2011 - Deluxe Edition of Christmas)
1950 short film
In 1950, the UPA studio brought "Frosty" to life in a three-minute animated short which appears regularly on WGN-TV. This production included a bouncy, jazzy a cappella version of the song and a limited animation style reminiscent of UPA's Gerald McBoing-Boing. The short, filmed entirely in black-and-white, has been a perennial WGN-TV Christmas classic, and was broadcast on December 24 and 25, 1955, and every year since, as part of a WGN-TV children's programming retrospective, along with their two other short Christmas classics, "Suzy Snowflake" and "Hardrock, Coco and Joe." The short had previously been telecast annually on WGN's The Bozo Show, "Ray Rayner and His Friends" and "Garfield Goose," along with its two other companion cartoons. The three cartoons are also a tradition on WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which not only broadcasts the cartoons on their station, but also makes them available on their website.
In 1969, Rankin/Bass produced a twenty-five-minute television special, Frosty the Snowman, featuring animation by Japanese studio Mushi Production, and the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as the narrator, Billy De Wolfe as Professor Hinkle and Jackie Vernon as Frosty. Paul Frees and June Foray both also voice characters including Karen and Santa Claus in this animated special produced and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. This was a story based on the discovery of Frosty the Snowman. Three sequels were produced, Frosty's Winter Wonderland (based upon the song "Winter Wonderland") in 1976, in which Frosty got married, and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July in 1979, followed by The Legend of Frosty the Snowman in 2005 (the last of which had Bill Fagerbakke take over as Frosty's voice after Vernon's death).
Frosty Returns, released in 1992, is a sequel to the original song, set in a separate fictional universe from the other specials, with John Goodman as the voice of a more sardonic Frosty defending the value of snow against Mr. Twitchell (Brian Doyle-Murray), the maker of a snow-removal spray.
- Gene Autry, "Frosty the Snowman" Retrieved October 14, 2011
- USPTO trademark database listing
- Liebeskind, Ken (3 December 2011). "Armonk Celebrates Frosty Day Dec. 10". Armonk Daily Voice. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Weisler, Alex (5 December 2012). "Armonk to give Frosty a warm reception". The Journal News. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- "Whitney Wolanin Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
- Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians. "Frosty the Snowman/If I Were Santa Claus" (Shellac, 10", 78 RPM, Single). Decca. 1950. https://www.discogs.com/Guy-Lombardo-And-His-Royal-Canadians-Frosty-The-Snowman-If-I-Were-Santa-Claus/release/5099875
- Red Foley and The Little Foleys. "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Shellac, 10", 78 RPM, Promo). Decca. 1950. https://www.discogs.com/Red-Foley-And-The-Little-Foleys-Shirley-Julie-And-Jenny-Rudolph-The-Red-Nosed-Reindeer/release/4123723
- Jones, Spike. "Frosty The Snowman". YouTube: Salt & Pepper- It's Christmas Day. 9 December 2016. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DCdWMsgwrr8
- The Chipmunks. "Christmas with The Chipmunks Vol. 1". Allmusic/Delta Distribution. 1962. http://www.allmusic.com/song/frosty-the-snowman-mt0015017860
- Lee, Brenda. "Frosty The Snowman". Second Hand Songs. 19 October 1964. https://secondhandsongs.com/performance/87659
- Jimmy Durante Cover of Gene Autry's "Frosty The Snowman". WhoSampled.com. Jimmy Durante had previously recorded an early version in 1950 shortly after Gene Autry http://www.whosampled.com/cover/471350/Jimmy-Durante-Frosty-the-Snowman-Gene-Autry-Frosty-the-Snow-Man/
- Twitty, Conway. "Merry Twismas from Conway Twitty and his Little Friends (Vinyl, LP)". Warner Bros. Records. 1983. https://www.discogs.com/Conway-Twitty-Merry-Twismas-From-Conway-Twitty-And-His-Little-Friends/release/4366909
- Leon Redbone and Dr. John Cover of Gene Autry's "Frosty The Snowman". http://www.whosampled.com/cover/16891/Leon-Redbone-Dr.-John-Frosty-the-Snowman-Gene-Autry-Frosty-the-Snow-Man/
- The Four Freshmen. "Freshmas!" Ranwood Records. 1992. http://www.allmusic.com/album/freshmas!-mw0000091542
- Charlie Daniels and his Band. "Merry Christmas to All". Audium Entertainment. 8 October 2002. http://www.allmusic.com/album/merry-christmas-to-all-mw0000660908
- Frosty The Snowman at The Big Cartoon DataBase Retrieved 2012-11-16.