- Directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass
- November 25, 1979
- Rudolph-Billie Mae Richards
- Frosty-Jackie Vernon
- Crystal-Shelley Winters
- The Genie of the Ice Scepter-Thurl Ravenscroft
- Santa Claus-Mickey Rooney
- Mrs. Claus-Darlene Conley
- Milton-Red Buttons
- Scratcher-Alan Sues
- Laine Loraine-Shelby Flint
- Lilly Loraine-Ethel Merman
- Winterbolt, Keeper of the Cave, Jack Frost, Officer Kelly-Paul Frees
- Sam Spangles, Donner-Don Messick
- Big Ben the Clockwork Whale-Hal Peary
- Lady Boreal-Nellie Bellflower
- Milly-Steffi Cali
- Chilly-Eric Hines
After being put into a deep sleep by Lady Boreal, the evil Winterbolt awakens to reclaim the North Pole.
Rudolph and Frosty: Christmas in July (or Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July or simply Rudolph and Frosty) is somewhat of a sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman and contains characters from several other Rankin/Bass specials as well. For children of a certain generation who grew up on the Rankin/Bass specials, this was more epic than the Avengers today Why? Because not only do Frosty and Rudolph show up here together, but we get Jack Frost (who had his own special) but Big Ben from Rudolph’s Shiny New Year. Worlds collided epically in this!
In the context of the story here it turns out that the terrible storm that Rudolph had to guide Santa’s sleigh through was caused by the evil Winterbolt as a way to destroy Santa’s magic by keep children from loving him which is where he gets his magic. Forget the dark implications of having of having to be worshiped in order to get your power. Watch Stargate SG1 Seasons Nine and Ten for more on that concept.
Rudolph’s nose is a magical totem which came into existence because of Lady Boreal’s (the Aurora Borealis and not David Boreanaz) in one last attempt to protect the world from Winterbolt. This was an expansion on preexisting material that did not alter what came before. Too often-especially back then-retcons made absolutely no sense but the story here fit right in.
One thing that always bothered me about the Rankin/Bass specials involving Rudolph after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was that Rudolph was always a young child in them. There was a certain level of continuity between all the specials which even as a little child I appreciated. That continuity is mostly front and center here yet at the end of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Rudolph was a young adult and not an older child as he is in this special and I know these were done at a time before people could marathon special after special or anything but I could not have been the only person to note the discrepancy. It bothered me then and it bothered me now.
During the course of the story Winterbolt learns that Frosty’s hat is magical and there’s the implication that he’s planning on creating an army of evil Frosty the Snowmen. The child that watched this and remembers it was never bothered by that idea but the adult in me finds that very strange. As an adult I sometimes wonder what drugs were involved in the creation of things I watched as a kid.
The romance between Milton and Lainie that starts the ball rolling and gets Frosty and Rudolph to Lily Loraine’s Circus by the Sea in the middle of July disappears from the story once all the characters leave the North Pole. I admit that I do not care two shits about these one-off characters but once introduced it should’ve been a more of a factor than it was.
There is something to be said for nostalgia which is used to help sell the story here. Without both something this odd as a purely independent creation would not have been able to hold itself together.Rudolph and Frosty: Christmas in July is a weird entry into the Rankin/Bass catalog of holiday specials. A child will enjoy it, but adults will be viewing it mostly for nostalgia if anything at all.