Not The Usual Rankin/Bass Ponderings


I was watching the Rankin/Bass Frosty The Snowman and one scene in the middle struck me. It was Frosty, who’s basically a large mass of white, talking with the rabbit Hocus-Pocus, who’s another mass of white, while standing in the snow-covered forest, again another mass of white, underneath a white cloudy sky. And this was originally shown on American TV in 1969, when the majority of people had black-and-white TV sets, and I remember black-and-white sets because they received about two parts picture to three parts fluffy static.

So this is the weekend I realized that nobody actually saw anything from Frosty the Snowman until about its 1983 airing.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

8 thoughts on “Not The Usual Rankin/Bass Ponderings”

  1. We had the same issue in New Zealand, with ‘H R Pufinstuf’ in 1970, which I saw then as a kid. I still recall it distinctly. Well, indistinctly. The conversion from its original 512-line NTSC to the New Zealand black-and-white 650-line PAL system created curious visual artefacts and rendered it into about 50 shades of mud. Later, when I happened to see the thing in full Kroft & Kroft “summer of ’69” super-saturated colour, I realised I’d probably been saved a worse fate…

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    1. Oh, dear, now, Pufnstuf in black-and-white seems terrible; it had this wonderful dazzle built into its design.

      I have seen the difference in modern shows in NTSC versus PAL, but not in black-and-white conversion. I’d lived several years in Singapore and got used to several shows done with the slightly faster tempo they get after conversion. (The theme to Lilo and Stitch: The Series particularly feels weirdly sluggish on United States TV.)

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    1. Oh, I don’t know. There’s a certain joy and delight and oddness to, say, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July and its hopelessly complicated internal logic and plot.

      On the other hand if we’re talking about Frosty Returns yeah, that one we’ve got to melt into easily-removable bricks.

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        1. Oh, yes, you’re right. There was … ugh … something.

          I don’t know. All I know is we watched Rudolph’s Shiny New Year last night and I realize each year when we watch this I understand less of the plot than I did the year before. This has bad trends for the future but it is a really bafflingly plotted cartoon.

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