Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul
with a corncob pipe and a button nose
and two eyes made out of coal.
Yes, we all know the Christmas story of Frosty the Snowman, and the joy he brought to those children one Christmas Eve. But what is the story behind Frosty? Where did he come from, and where has he gone?
Frosty started as all snowmen do, as a single, unique snowflake among millions, floating softly to earth on a mission to whiten the world. Unfortunately, the fates were unkind to Frosty, and his childhood was not a pleasent one. His mother melted when he was just a few hours old, while his father died heroically in the Great Snowball War. And so, orphaned and living near the gutter in a bad part of town, Frosty almost didn't make it. He was nearly killed in one of the great influxes of dirty snowflakes straight off the streets the day after he landed. Several times he narrowly missed becoming one of the dreaded yellow snowflakes when dogs stopped by the nearby fire hydrant, saved only as the steaming rope of piss was interrupted by the insistent tugging of frozen owners. Things didn't look good for poor Frosty.
But then, as if he'd been smiled upon by Lady Luck or been given a bit of holiday cheer by the Christmas Spirit, Frosty was caught up in a great windstorm and was deposited in a nice drift in the suburbs. Frosty's luck held, and that evening a child scooped him up and started the snowball that would become his head. They endowed him with all those memorable features, such as his button nose and corncob pipe, and finally the magician's top hat was placed atop his head, giving Frosty the power to control the rest of the snowflakes that made up his body. And so, Frosty the Snowflake became Frosty the Snowman and had all those wonderful adventures with the children. But what happened after Christmas Eve?
Frosty's near death experience in the greenhouse changed him. Realizing that he was not immortal taught Frosty fear. Determined to live forever free of the deadly tendrils of warmth, Frosty ran off with little Suzi's mother to Alaska, where they married. Mrs. Snowman filed for divorce only a few months later, taking all of Frosty's Yukon gold and describing him in the tabloid's as "a cold-hearted bastard".
Heartbroken, Frosty took up drinking, which only compounded his lifelong addiction to smoking. In '83, Frosty was diagnosed with lung cancer, and was forced to give up his corncob pipe. For three long years, he disappeared into the Alaskan tundra, and little is known of him during these solitary years other than intermittent reports of an "Abominable Snowman" in the Weekly World News. Then in '86, Frosty resurfaced near the coast of Newfoundland, where he stumbled into the midst of a Greenpeace protest against whaling. There he was attacked and beaten for the gratuitous waste ofprecious natural resources, and his two eyes of coal were ripped from his head and thrown into the ocean. Blind and drunk, Frosty wandered into a local grocery store inquiring about the frozen foods section. But his dream of a place just between the frozen peas and the frozen pizzas was never realized as he collapsed to the floor halfway there, exhausted by his struggles. There, unknown and unloved in the meat aisle, Frosty the Snowman melted and was mopped up by a pimply faced boy of 16.
I was that boy.
The song Frosty the Snowman was written in 1950 by Steve Nelson and Walter E. "Jack" Rollins1, and was recorded the next year by Gene Autrey. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had just been released the year before, and like it, Frosty soon became a million-seller.
The animated television special Frosty the Snowman, directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass, first aired in 1969. Three lesser known specials were also created: Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976) where Frosty gets a wife (narrated by Andy Griffith), Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979) where Santa must save Rudolph and Frosty from an evil wizard (never seen it, sounds hilarious), and Frosty Returns (1992).
A little history...
No one is sure where the idea to first build a snowman came from. The only references I could find mentioned vague, unsubstantiated stories. One is that the very first written reference to snowmen comes from Belgium. There, in 1511 the peasantry built snowmen representing the aristocracy, which were then beaten up as a symbol of the struggle against the upper class.
1 Nelson and Rollins are also responsible for Peter Cottontail, released in 1949.