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The Most F*cked-up Fourth of July Special Ever Starred Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

The Most F*cked-up Fourth of July Special Ever Starred Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Sometimes aspects of life become so royally fucked up, there comes a point when you say, “Eh, screw it, I’ll go along with this for a bit, let’s kick it up to another level.” 

This country loves the Fourth of July—maybe less at present from the standpoint of proud patriotism, especially with how we’ve been going for a few years now, but certainly because of good times with friends, beers, cookouts, laughs, camaraderie, in-person summer social manna, which for many people is quite different than a chat on the phone. 

The Twilight Zone has a marathon every year, which is apt for our age, but given the level of absurdity that has become our prevailing planar field, the most bonkers Fourth of July special of all-time may be the most fitting for this bonkers Fourth of July of self-isolating and wondering just what the hell to do with yourself. 

There’s no faulting anyone who says, “Stop trying to make Christmas in July a thing.” The idea is one that has never caught on, though bars would try mid-summer Christmas-related promotions, back when we could go to bars, and some network is always firing up a roster of Christmas movie fare. The people at the Rankin/Bass production company went one better back in the day, when they had an idea to take their iconic version of Rudolph, pair him with Frosty the Snowman and the bulbous dude’s family, and pack them off on a Fourth of July holiday. 

Everyone knows the original Rudolph special from 1964, but what you might not know was that Rankin/Bass kept at their trade for some time after, getting weirder and weirder, druggier and druggier. If you were going to day drink and get smashed on the Fourth, you would fit the bill for the demo of 1979’s Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.

But what’s more bizarre yet—not to suggest that Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass were masters of prognostication—is that this hour-and-a-half long film actually dovetails with our cancel culture, because it is the shiny-beaked fellow for whom the mob comes. People say the mob eat their own? Well, get prepared to watch characters who are otherwise meant to be cute and lovable get their knives out for the reindeer whose life, future prospects, and employability, must be stamped out like a soft grape under a hard hoof.

We begin with Rudolph chilling with Frosty and his two kids, who want the reindeer to show off his nose, which Rudolph finds irritating, but fine, whatever, here you go, kids. Problem is, the bulb flickers, out it goes, our hero has been compromised. There’s this tang of impotence in front of the children, which is discomfiting, but we are just getting started on the bizarre front.

Frosty first appeared in cartoon form in the Rankin/Bass world in 1969, but here he gets what they called their Animagic treatment. You probably term it Claymation, but you know the deal. We’re treated to a montage backstory of Rudolph’s heroic origins. James Joyce could appear less interested in intertextuality than the Rankin/Bass team, which is kind of admirable. 

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