tek's rating:

Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, on ABC
Amazon; Christmas Specials Wiki; IMDb; Movies Anywhere; Rankin/Bass Wiki; TV.com; Wikipedia

This first aired in November 1979, when I was four years old. I watched it on DVD in July 2017, and as far as I can recall, that was the first time I ever saw it. It's set sometime after the original Rudolph and Frosty specials, of course, but also after Frosty's Winter Wonderland and Rudolph's Shiny New Year. And I should mention that it's a stop-motion special, like both Rudolph specials, but unlike the Frosty specials. So I guess this is the first time Frosty (and his family) appeared as stop-motion characters, which is kind of neat. And it's a full movie-length special, longer than any of the previous specials.

In June, Rudolph visits his friend Frosty (I have no idea when they met), as well as Frosty's wife, Crystal, and their two kids, Milly and Chilly (I have no idea when or how the young snowpeople came into existence). The snowkids want their "Uncle Rudolph" to make his nose glow, and he does... but it soon starts to dim. Rudolph has no idea why that's happening, but then we see Santa explaining it to viewers. We see, via flashback, a time long before Santa came to the North Pole, when the North was ruled by a king named Winterbolt. He basically terrorized all the creatures that lived in the area, until they moved away. But then a personification of the Northern Lights, named Lady Boreal, came and put Winterbolt to sleep. So, the animals all returned, and eventually Santa Claus and his wife came and built their home there. But eventually Lady Boreal's power faded, and King Winterbolt awoke. It turns out he's the one who sent the storm that we saw in the first Rudolph special, for a reason I won't get into. (Actually, the storm was created by a pair of "ice dragons" that he controlled.) But that plan was thwarted by Lady Boreal, who used the last of her magic to give baby Rudolph his shiny nose. Which brings us back to the present, when Winterbolt tries to stop Rudolph's nose from glowing. But it doesn't work for long, and he learns that Rudolph is protected as long as he stays at the North Pole. Or whatever. So, with the help of a "Genie of the Scepter" (which kind seemed to me like a creepy, icy version of a nome from Return to Oz), Winterbolt concocts a plan.

Rudolph has a friend named Milton, who has a hot air balloon, which he uses to travel to the North Pole, where he keeps the ice cream that he sells to children elsewhere. Milton tells Rudolph and Frosty that he's in love with a circus performer named Laine Loraine, the daughter of Lilly Loraine, who runs the circus. (I'd say Lilly seems more like she belongs in a Wild West show than a circus, but whatevs.) Unfortunately, the circus has fallen on hard times, and a meanie named Sam Spangles will take over unless they can make a bunch of money on their next show. So Winterbolt magically sends Milton the idea of having Rudolph perform in the circus. And he later appears to Frosty and his family and gives them amulets that would keep them frozen in warm weather, so they can go and perform in the circus, too. But the amulets would only work until the end of the Fourth of July fireworks display after the circus show. So Santa and Mrs. Claus offered to fly down in their sleigh to bring the snowpeople home before that. But Winterbolt also gets an evil reindeer named Scratcher to go and trick Rudolph, in a way I don't want to reveal. And he sends his ice dragons to make a storm that would keep the Clauses from getting down south in time. And he has his genie prepare a sleigh of his own... which isn't pulled by reindeer. I won't say what it is pulled by, because it's too delightfully redonkulous, and I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

And, well, a lot of other stuff happens that I don't want to spoil, but of course there's a happy ending, after it seems that Winterbolt nearly wins. It's all pretty redonk, and that's what makes this movie fun. (That, and the fact that I was drinking beer while watching the DVD.) Also I should say there are some songs, but for the most part I didn't care for them. And I don't know what else to tell you.


specials index
holiday TV movies index
musicals
Rankin/Bass
The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

stop-motion specials: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer * Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town * The Year Without a Santa Claus * Rudolph's Shiny New Year *
Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey * Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July * Pinocchio's Christmas * The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold * The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus

animated specials: Frosty the Snowman * 'Twas the Night Before Christmas * Frosty's Winter Wonderland * The Hobbit * The Stingiest Man in Town

TV series: The New Adventures of Pinocchio * Tales of the Wizard of Oz * ThunderCats * SilverHawks

Movies: Mad Monster Party? * The Flight of Dragons * The Last Unicorn