is a 1992 half-hour long animated television special
featuring the character Frosty the Snowman
. The special is not a direct sequel to the original 1969 special
, and the two were produced by different companies (Rankin/Bass produced the original, while this special was an in-house production of CBS
, the very network that currently airs both this and its 1969 predecessor), and feature different characters, setting and voice actors. Regardless, Frosty Returns
, in addition to its CBS showings that follow the 1969 original, has been coupled with the original on DVD.
Jonathan Winters - in anthropomorphic cartoon form - narrates and John Goodman provides the voice of Frosty (Goodman took over from the late Jackie Vernon, who had passed away five years earlier). The special was directed by Bill Meléndez and Evert Brown and features music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Frosty (voiced by Goodman) arrives in the town of Beansboro and meets young Holly DeCarlo (voiced by Elisabeth Moss). Meanwhile, evil Mr. Twitchell (voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray
) is the inventor of "Summer Wheeze", an aerosol spray
that makes snow instantly disappear through unexplained means. When one of the members of the town council voices concern about the environmental impact of the untested product, Mr. Twitchell has her dropped through a trapdoor
The town of Beansboro falls head over heels for "Summer Wheeze", causing Frosty to be concerned, not unreasonably, about his safety. Holly gets Frosty to appear at the annual Beansboro Winter Carnival to persuade the townspeople to rethink their newfound hatred of snow. Singing about the joy of winter to the town, Frosty is declared king of the carnival, a title which Mr. Twitchell had hoped to win. Holly and Frosty, however, allow Mr. Twitchell to still wear the cape and ride the sled of the carnival king.
Lack of continuity with the previous special
Despite its association with the 1969 special, Frosty Returns
has a notable lack of continuity with it. For instance, Frosty has a different physical appearance and he continues to live when he takes off his top hat
. In the original special, the removal of Professor Hinkle's hat from Frosty's head caused him to cease "living" and become a regular snowman again. Nor is the hat he wears in Frosty Returns
the same as the one from the original, since he is shown to have gotten it from Holly.
Political correctness and environmental allusions
The plot of this particular special is markedly more political than its predecessors and successors, alluding to climate change
and corporate enterprise. The program also uses more political correctness
than the other Frosty
specials; for instance, instead of a Christmas
celebration, the term "winter carnival" is used.
The use of aerosol cans hints to the use of fluorocarbons, which were used as propellants for decades before their potential to deplete the ozone layer was discovered in the 1970s. However, fluorocarbons had already been banned from aerosol cans in the United States at the time the special was produced, although the stigma associated with them remained. Trucks are used in the special to spray "Summer Wheeze" around the town, alluding to the use of DDT trucks in the 1950s.