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|Written by||Oliver Goldstick
|Directed by||Evert Brown
Michael Patrick Carter
|Narrated by||Jonathan Winters|
|Theme music composer||Mark Mothersbaugh
Denis M. Hannigan
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Broadway Video
CBS Television Distribution/CBS
|Original release||December 1, 1992|
Frosty Returns is an animated Christmas television special starring Jonathan Winters as the narrator and John Goodman as the voice of Frosty the Snowman. The special was directed by Bill Melendez and Evert Brown and features music by Mark Mothersbaugh. It first aired in 1992 on CBS. The special is not a direct sequel to the original 1969 special, as the two were produced by different companies (Rankin/Bass produced the original, while this special was made by Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video, with help from longtime Peanuts director Bill Melendez, for CBS), and feature different characters, setting and voice actors. Since Broadway Video produced this special and owned the 1969 original prior to DreamWorks Classics' acquisition of the Videocraft International catalog, Frosty Returns follows the CBS showings of the original and is coupled with the original on all DVD releases. (Although Rankin/Bass had produced a sequel to Frosty with most of the original cast and in the original style, the rights to the original and the sequel were broken up when the company dissolved in 1987. The original, having been produced prior to the 1974 dividing line, had been owned by CBS in terms of the broadcast license, but Frosty's Winter Wonderland was produced after 1974 and was thus part of the package now owned by Warner Bros. and licensed to ABC Family.)
- Jonathan Winters as the Narrator
- John Goodman as Frosty
- Elisabeth Moss as Holly
- Michael Patrick Carter as Charles
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Mr. Twitchell
- Andrea Martin as Ms. Carbuncle
- Jan Hooks as Lilly
The special begins with a musical number showing that Beansboro Elementary School is canceled for the day due to a seven-inch snowfall. While the adults incessantly complain about the problems snow and ice cause, the children enjoy the opportunity to play outside.
The scene then shifts to Holly DeCarlo, a lonely young girl and aspiring magician with only one friend, a tone-deaf, somewhat geeky character named Charles who has a knack for climatology. While practicing a magic act with Charles, the wind blows Holly's hat off her head, out the window, and onto a snowman who comes to life as Frosty, thus revealing that Holly's hat was "that old silk hat" featured in the original song and previous adaptations.
Meanwhile, a new product appears in Beansboro that successfully causes snow to instantly disappear (and Frosty to scream in agonizing pain), an aerosol spray called "Summer Wheeze." Summer Wheeze's inventor, Mr. Twitchell, hopes to use the product to win over the people of Beansboro so that he will be crowned King of the Beansboro Winter Carnival, apparently believing that the title will give him actual dominion over the townspeople (at least once, Twitchell also indicates he is waging war against Mother Nature, implying he is actually seeking world domination and that Beansboro is simply his first step). At a presentation before the town council, one of the trustees voices concern about the environmental impact of the untested product, to which Mr. Twitchell responds by opening a trapdoor beneath her seat.
To Twitchell's delight, and Frosty's dismay, the town of Beansboro falls head over heels for "Summer Wheeze," causing Frosty to fear for his long-term safety. When many of their classmates rally for the elimination of snow when in class the next day, only a day after singing about its virtues, Holly and Charles take on the duties of protecting Frosty, including hiding him in a freezer and securing refuge for him in an ice castle built for the Carnival. Later, Holly gets Frosty to appear at the Winter Carnival in an attempt to persuade the townspeople to rethink their hatred of snow. Singing about the joy of winter, Frosty is unanimously declared king of the carnival. In the end, Frosty and Holly make amends with Mr. Twitchell (where he now realizes that he's no match for Mother Nature) let him wear the crown and cape and let him ride in the sled of the carnival king. Later Frosty must leave Beansboro, but he assures Holly that he will be back again someday (as alluded to in the song).
Despite its association with the original 1969 special, Frosty Returns has a notable lack of continuity with it. For example, Frosty has a different physical appearance, more knowledge of the world, and a more streetwise sense of humor compared to the naïve original Frosty. He has the ability to live without his magic hat, which would immediately cause him to revert to being an inanimate snowman in the original version and its other sequels. He also does not have a pipe, and the version of "Frosty the Snowman" sung during the end credits skips past the corn-cob pipe section, thus avoiding all references to smoking.
The plot is more politically and/or socially conscious than its predecessors and successors, with an environmental theme. As with Frosty's Winter Wonderland there is no mention of Christmas or Santa Claus, and Charles suggests making a "fertility goddess" in the snow.
Crystal from Frosty's Winter Wonderland is not mentioned or seen, thereby ignoring Frosty's marriage to her.
Frosty Returns is a musical special, with two songs featured prominently on the soundtrack. "Frosty the Snowman" is featured at the beginning as an instrumental and sung by the entire cast at the close. "Let There Be Snow" is an original piece composed for the special, with three verses (each sung by a different character) sung at various points in the special.