Frosty is the title character in the beloved Christmas song "Frosty the Snowman", and a featured character of multiple Christmas stories, most notably a few Rankin/Bass specials.
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty was built by a group of kids, including Karen, during a break from school. The wind blows the hat of Professor Hinkle onto Frosty's head, and suddenly the snowman comes to life, with a cheerful "Happy Birthday!" Frosty is good-natured and playful, but also somewhat naive due to his relative youth (having just been "born"). He is unable to count above five and is the world's fastest belly-whopper.
Frosty has two physical weaknesses: the tendency to melt in warm weather, and the hat, without which he becomes another inanimate snowman. In the first Frosty the Snowman special, these worries are easily remedied: Professor Hinkle's attempts to retrieve the hat are foiled, and Santa Claus revives the melted Frosty, and takes him to the North Pole.
Frosty's Winter Wonderland
Frosty promised to be back again one day, however, and in Frosty's Winter Wonderland, he fulfills his promise; the character design is only slightly altered from his original appearance, primarily the addition of a scarf. As much as he enjoys playing with the kids, Frosty becomes lonely when they return to their homes. To remedy this, the kids construct a snow-woman, who Frosty names Crystal. She comes to life when Frosty presents her with a bouquet of flowers, a gift of love. Despite the interference of Jack Frost, who attempts to steal the hat out of jealousy, the couple are wed by a snow parson (and Jack is mollified when asked to serve as best man).
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
A stop-motion version of Frosty appears in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. By now, he and Crystal have two snow children, Chilly and Milly (the means by which snow people procreate is ignored; possibly, they simply built their own children out of snow). In this production, Frosty is the best friend of Rudolph, who serves as adoptive uncle to the children. Frosty accompanies Rudolph to an unnamed American town in the summer, protected by the evil Winterbolt's amulet. The pair generally enjoy their time performing with Lilly Loraine's circus. When Rudolph is framed for a crime he didn't commit, Frosty comes to his friend's aide, offering to sacrifice his life in exchange for helping Rudolph and protecting his family. Winterbolt betrays him, but Rudolph is able to retrieve the hat. To celebrate, Frosty and Rudolph sing a variation of "We're a Couple of Misfits" (from the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special. The Frosty family eventually does melt, but is brought back to life by Jack Frost, and they return to the North Pole with Santa.
The Rankin/Bass version of Frosty made a guest appearance in the comic strip FoxTrot, in a storyline that ran from December 16-21, 1996 (reprinted in the collection Come Closer, Roger, There's a Mosquito on Your Nose). Here, he appears in a dream of Paige's ("You were expecting Freddy Krueger?"), in which he takes her to the Land of Animated Christmas TV Specials to cheer her up when a hard homework assignment puts her through much stress. A later FoxTrot strip, published December 5, 1998, has Jason watching the Rankin/Bass special and reacting to it as if he were watching a horror movie.
A parody of the Rankin/Bass Frosty makes a brief cameo in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas", where he is quickly burned and melted by an irate Lois Griffin.
The Legend of Frosty the Snowman features Bill Fagerbakke as the voice the Rankin/Bass version of Frosty. (Coincidentally, Bill Fagerbakke had previously voiced a parody of Frosty, played by Patrick Star, in the Merry Nickmas short Patrick the Snowman.)
- Disney featured a costumed version of Frosty in the Magic Kingdom Yuletide Special.
- Frosty Returns, a semi-unofficial sequel to the original Rankin/Bass special, features John Goodman as the voice of Frosty, who this time concerns himself with the effects of environmental pollution.
- Another parody version of Frosty, voiced by Clancy Brown, appears in Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!, as a snowman that Perry the Platypus brings to life on his way to his agency's Christmas party. He then walks off into the street and gets crushed by an offscreen truck. At the very end of the special, Perry fixes him back up, and he is about to walk into the street again, but this time decides against it when he sees a truck smash into a vegetable stand.
- Frosty is known to switch appearances on occasion. Usually, his hat is dark teal with a pink flower that rests on the left side. In Frosty's Winter Wonderland, the flower is slightly larger. He switches to a yellow hat in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, while in Frosty Returns, he switches to a solid grey hat, which he shares with Holly. He usually does not wear anything around his neck. However, in Frosty's Winter Wonderland and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, he wears a yellow scarf with red stripes, and in Frosty Returns, he switches to a red bowtie with pink polka dots, even though he dislikes bowties most of the time.
- Frosty's catchphrase is "Happy Birthday!" and usually says it the moment he's brought to life. In the first special, he says it approxamatly three times. The most times it is said is in Frosty's Winter Wonderland, as he was not the only one to say it. The special Frosty Returns does not feature Frosty saying "Happy Birthday!", but it does return in The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, when he greets Tommy Tinkerton for the first time. Frosty also uses "Happy Birthday!" when greeting others.
- Technically, Frosty can live without his hat, and only reverts to inanimate form when the hat falls off a short time after being brought to life by it. This is depected in the first special. Also, when Frosty gets startled by the Traffic Cop and later, the ticket man, look closley and you'll see his hat fly off his head for a moment. Another depection is revealed in Frosty's Winter Wonderland, when his life is also stolen besides the hat, and Crystal gave him a kiss to bring him back to life. The first special to fully depect Frosty's life without his hat is Frosty Returns.