Frosty the Snowman

"Frosty the Snowman" is a popular Christmas song written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 and later recorded by Jimmy Durante in that year.[3] It was written after the success of Autry's recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shopped the new song to Autry, who recorded "Frosty" in search of another seasonal hit. Like "Rudolph", "Frosty" was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special.

"Frosty the Snowman"
Single by Gene Autry & The Cass County Boys
B-side"When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter"
PublishedJune 2, 1950 by Hill and Range Songs, Inc.[1]
LabelColumbia Records
Songwriter(s)Walter Rollins & Steve Nelson
Producer(s)Hecky Krasnow[2]
"Frosty the Snowman"
Single by Jimmy Durante
B-side"(Isn't It A Shame That) Christmas Comes But Once A Year"
LabelMGM Records
Songwriter(s)Walter Rollins & Steve Nelson


A group of children find a hat and place it on Frosty's head. Frosty laughs and plays with the children until the hot sun threatens to melt him. Frosty says goodbye to the children, reassuring them, "I'll be back again someday."

It is generally regarded as a Christmas song, although Christmas itself is never mentioned in the lyrics. The action supposedly takes place in White Plains, New York, or Armonk, New York; Armonk has a parade dedicated to Frosty annually.[4][5]


The song was quickly covered by many artists including Jimmy Durante, Nat King Cole and Guy Lombardo.[6] The versions by Nat King Cole and Guy Lombardo also reached the American charts.[6] A Phil Spector-produced 1963 cover by The Ronettes is a popular version, featuring in Rolling Stone's list of "The Greatest Rock & Roll Christmas Songs".[7]

The song has been covered as an instrumental by the Canadian Brass, with founder Charles Daellenbach taking on the persona of Frosty, and repeatedly calling "One more time!" ("You know what happens when Frosty gets 'hot'"), and then starting to collapse ("I think he's melting" -- "You know what happens when Frosty gets hot"). It was also covered by the Hampton String Quartet on their inaugural album, What if Mozart Wrote 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'. It was also recorded by American Brass.

The song has also been covered (with lyrics) by the band Cocteau Twins; the cover was released on their 1993 EP Snow. It was also covered by the Jackson 5 and appears on the Jackson 5 Christmas Album.


Chart performance
Version Year Chart Peak
Gene Autry version 1950 US Pop Singles 7
US Country Singles 4
Jimmy Durante version 1950 US Pop Singles 7
2019 US Rolling Stone Top 100[8] 44
Nat King Cole version 1950 US Pop Singles 9
Guy Lombardo version 1950 US Pop Singles 28
Perry Como version 1957 US Pop Singles 74
Jan and Dean version 1963 US Pop Singles 11
Johnny Mathis version 2003 US Adult Contemporary 29
Kimberley Locke version 2007 US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
Canadian Adult Contemporary 40
Billboard Top AC Songs of 2008 46
Whitney Wolanin version 2012 US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9] 13

Certifications and salesEdit

The Ronettes coverEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Silver 200,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


In 1950, Little Golden Books published Frosty the Snow Man as a children's book, adapted by Annie North Bedford and illustrated by Corinne Malvern.

1950 short filmEdit

In 1950, the UPA studio brought "Frosty" to life in a three-minute animated short which appears regularly on WGN-TV.[11] This production included a bouncy, jazzy a cappella version of the song and a limited animation style reminiscent of UPA's Gerald McBoing-Boing. The short, filmed entirely in black-and-white, has been a perennial WGN-TV Christmas classic, and was broadcast on December 24 and 25, 1955, and every year since, as part of a WGN-TV children's programming retrospective, along with their two other short Christmas classics, Suzy Snowflake and Hardrock, Coco and Joe. The short had previously been telecast annually on WGN's The Bozo Show, Ray Rayner and His Friends, and Garfield Goose, along with its two other companion cartoons. The three cartoons are also a tradition on WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which not only broadcasts the cartoons on their station, but also makes them available on their website.


In 1969, Rankin/Bass Productions produced a 25-minute television special, Frosty the Snowman, featuring the animation of Japanese studio Mushi Production, and the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as the narrator (who also sings a version of the song), Billy De Wolfe as Professor Hinkle and Jackie Vernon as Frosty. Paul Frees and June Foray both also voice characters including Karen and Santa Claus in this animated special produced and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass and designed by Mad artist Paul Coker, Jr..[12] This was a story based on the discovery of Frosty the Snowman.

Three sequels followed:

Frosty Returns (1992) is a sequel to the original song, set in a separate fictional universe from the other specials, with John Goodman as the voice of a more sardonic Frosty defending the value of snow against Mr. Twitchell (Brian Doyle-Murray), the maker of a snow-removal spray.

On July 1, 2020, a live-action film adaptation of Frosty the Snowman was announced to be in development at Warner Bros. and Stampede Ventures, with Jason Momoa voicing the titular snowman, Jon Berg and Greg Silverman producing alongside Geoff Johns, Roy Lee and Momoa, and David Berenbaum writing the screenplay.[13] Following Ray Fisher's accusation of mistreatment on the set of Justice League, Momoa defended Fisher and claimed that the Frosty the Snowman movie announcement was made without his permission and accused Warner Bros. of releasing the story in order to distract from Fisher's comments.[14]


  1. ^ Library of Congress. Copyright Office. (1950). Catalog of Copyright Entries 1950 Published Music Jan-Dec 3D Ser Vol 4 Pt 5A. United States Copyright Office. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
  2. ^ “Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo: the musical life of Hecky Krasnow, Producer of the world’s most beloved children’s songs; a memoir by Judy Gail Krasnow”
  3. ^ Gene Autry, "Frosty the Snowman" Retrieved October 14, 2011[dead link]
  4. ^ Liebeskind, Ken (3 December 2011). "Armonk Celebrates Frosty Day Dec. 10". Armonk Daily Voice. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  5. ^ Weisler, Alex (5 December 2012). "Armonk to give Frosty a warm reception". The Journal News. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b Eckstein, Bob (30 October 2007). The History of the Snowman. New York City: Simon and Schuster. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-4169-5112-4.
  7. ^ "The Greatest Tracks in Holiday History". Rolling Stone. 18 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "Whitney Wolanin Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "British single certifications – Ronettes – Frosty the Snowman". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  11. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. p. 112. ISBN 9781476672939.
  12. ^ Frosty The Snowman at The Big Cartoon DataBase Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  13. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (July 2020). "Jason Momoa To Voice Frosty The Snowman In Live-Action Pic For Warner Bros & Stampede Ventures". Deadline.
  14. ^ Medina, Joseph Jammer (September 15, 2020). "The Jason Momoa Frosty The Snowman Announcement Was A Distraction From Ray Fisher?". LRM Online. Retrieved September 15, 2020.

External linksEdit