Thursday, December 06, 2007

#8 Favorite Christmas Movie: Rudolph & Frosty

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first aired in 1964. I was five. It is done in stop-motion animation and it is cool. I can remember sitting there trying to figure out how they did that. Even as an adult, I'm still amazed by the precision and continuity and relative fluidity they were able to create using that process.

Promo info: Burl Ives narrates as Sam the Snowman, telling and singing the story of a rejected reindeer who overcomes prejudice and saves Christmas one particularly blustery year. Along the way, he meets an abundance of unforgettable characters: his dentally obsessed elf pal Hermey; the affable miner Yukon Cornelius and his motley crew of puppies; the scary/adorable Abominable Snow Monster; a legion of abandoned, but still chatty, toys; and a rather grouchy Santa.

Frosty the Snowman, based on another popular Christmas song, began as an animated television show which first aired in 1969. I was 10. It was narrated by Jimmy Durante, who has a great story-telling voice.

Promo info: To make up for the fact that her students are in school on Christmas Eve, the local schoolteacher hires the magician Professor Hinkle to entertain the kids. Unfortunately, he's not a very good magician. Frustrated in his attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he throws it away in anger. Outside, the kids build a snowman (what to call it? Harold? Oatmeal? Frosty!), and when the hat blows onto it, the snowman comes to life. Professor Hinkle decides he wants the hat back so he can make money off of its newfound magical properties, but the kids want to save Frosty. When the temperature starts to rise, a new problem threatens Frosty's existence. Karen, the leader of the children, comes up with a plan to save him: take him on a train to the North Pole, where it's always cold. With a cameo by Santa Claus and the promise of Frosty's return every year, this story of life, death, and holiday cheer is glazed with the sweet frosting of hope and happiness. A true holiday classic.

Even though these two shows were released five years apart, they always go together in my mind. They were my favorites of that batch of Christmas animations from my childhood (except for one which comes up later). I really can't watch one without the other.

There are several versions of both these cartoons out, but these are the REAL ones. You can get each of them separately or together with Santa Claus Is Comin to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and Frosty Returns under the title The Original Television Christmas Classics.

Now playing on my iPod: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (with movie clips)

Now playing on my iPod: Frosty the Snowman (with movie clips)

See? I still can't do one without the other.

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