Jack Frost (TV special)
|Written by||Romeo Muller|
|Directed by||Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
|Theme music composer||Maury Laws|
|Country of origin||United States|
Arthur Rankin Jr.
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Original release||December 13, 1979|
Jack Frost is a stop motion animated television special that premiered on NBC on December 13, 1979. It was directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. and written by Romeo Muller. The special tells the tale of Jack Frost, the winter sprite, and his adventures as a human. It airs annually on the ABC Family cable network as a part of its 25 Days of Christmas programming block.
Jack Frost (voiced by Robert Morse), an immortal winter sprite, falls in love with a human girl named Elisa (voiced by Debra Clinger) after rescuing her. Jack asks Father Winter (voiced by Paul Frees) if he can become human in order to be with her. The wave that Jack took was about a day to do Father Winter gives him a chance, but warns that Jack must prove he can succeed as a human, by earning a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife by the first sign of spring.
Jack agrees and turns human, assuming the identity of Jack Snip. He runs a tailor shop in the town of January Junction with two friends who also turned human, Snip the snowflake maker (voiced by Don Messick) and Holly the snow gypsy (voiced by Dina Lynn). Snip and Holly were sent by Father Winter to ensure Jack does not get into trouble. Elisa is charmed by "Jack Snip," but she harbors romantic dreams of Sir Ravenal Rightfellow, a "knight in golden armor."
Elisa is kidnapped by Kubla Kraus (also voiced by Paul Frees), the Cossack king who lives all alone in a castle on Miserable Mountain with his evil army of mechanical Keh-Nights, a menacing iron horse named Klangstomper, his butler, Fetch-Kvetch, and a ventriloquist's dummy named Dummy as his sidekick, all made of iron since nobody could stand to live with Kraus due to his arrogance and greed. Kraus also possesses all the brick, gold, and timber that January Junction used to have. He immediately notices Elisa for her beauty and madly wants her to be his wife. After Elisa is rescued by Sir Ravenal, Kraus vows to destroy January Junction by sending one-thousand Keh-Nights in an attempt to recapture his bride, and throws Jack, Snip, and Holly in the dungeon.
Jack gives up his humanity in order to whip up the biggest blizzard ever, freezing Kraus and his one-thousand Keh-Nights in the castle. Snip and Holly change back to sprites as well. This tactic works until Groundhog Day arrives. As the sky is overcast with no sun to cast shadows, Jack Frost uses his magic shadow to scare Pardon-Me-Pete back into hibernation, and continues whipping up the storm. Finally, with only one hour left before the arrival of spring, Jack returns to human form to stop Kraus by tricking his Keh-Nights into walking off the icy mountain to their destruction. Afterwards, he claims the gold, tames Klangstomper, making him his horse, and the castle becomes his house. He races off to ask Elisa's parents for her hand in marriage, but during his absence, she has fallen in love with Sir Ravenal, and he with her. Jack becomes a sprite again for good, and blows ice onto Elisa's wedding bouquet, turning it white. When asked about the change, she sheds a tear, saying "An old friend just kissed the bride." Snip calls out to Jack that winter wouldn't be the same without him.
Before heading back to sleep, Pardon-Me-Pete says that Jack Frost still plays his tricks on him to ensure that there are six more weeks of winter, but he doesn't mind because he enjoys the extra sleep.
- Robert Morse as Jack Frost
- Debra Clinger as Elisa
- Paul Frees as Father Winter, Kubla Kraus
- Dave Garroway as Groundhog Day Reporter
- Buddy Hackett as Pardon-Me-Pete
- Dina Lynn as Holly
- Sonny Melendrez as Sir Ravenal Rightfellow
- Don Messick as Snip
- Larry Storch as Papa
- Dee Stratton as Mama
The licensing for Jack Frost was relatively lax for many years and as early as the early 1990s, independent discount home video distributors produced VHS (and later DVD) copies from 16 mm prints. The special did not, as occasionally stated, lapse into the public domain; the Copyright Act of 1976 had taken effect by the time the special was published, which granted Rankin/Bass and its successors automatic copyrights of 75 years.
In the fall of 2008, Warner Bros. (owners of the post-1973 Rankin/Bass library) re-released the special as an "official version" on DVD, using a 35 mm print as the master.