The Snowman—Jack Frost, Mr. Freeze, Frosty, and—why the fuck not?—Wallace Stevens

The Burl Ives record doesn’t have a sleeve. Well, it has a Hank Williams sleeve, because I bought it thinking it was a Hank Williams record. Little did I know, that this mix-up would be the best thing that ever happened.

The point of the matter is that, when I imagined what Burl Ives looked like—and whether his ever-beloved snowman avatar Frosty looks like him—I could not refer to the sleeve. It turns out Burl Ives looks like the head of a jolly Vladimir Ilyich Lenin placed on Colonel Sander’s bolo-tied body.


What’s more important is that, if we think of him as snow white and as a snowman, he looks exactly like Frosty the Snowman. Right down to the damn bolo.


You may be thinking to yourself. Hey, summer’s barely over. You gotta have a mind of winter to be thinking about people covered in snow. These damn pine trees aren’t crusted with snow. But that would be a misunderstanding of semicolons. What’s more important, is that Michael Keaton looks nothing like his snowman self in Jack Frost, as those who listen to How Did This Get Made already know.

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They will also know George Clooney was supposed to play Jack Frost, but was offered, years before Ben Affleck, to be Batman. Can you see the spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun? And there, Michael Keaton’s voice coming out of a completely incomparable snowface. Is it George Clooney’s? You must have been cold a long time if you don’t think of misery at the perception of this.


The essential question: did they change the snowman costume after Clooney was off board? One blogger says yes: “Clooney leaving the project caused headaches for the Jim Henson Creature Shop, because they had to redo the entire costume!” This same author pointed out the super fun fact that Jack Frost is essentially in the Batman movie: Mr. Freeze! Except, instead of nipping at your nose he shoots a freeze gun. Does he? This is not a movie I have rewatched. HDTGM insists that the costume was not altered. I also spoke to a film scholar who recently saw the movie twice and commented, “I don’t think they did,” and, after a moment’s more thought, “in fact, I’m sure they did not.” You decide for yourself. Snow/man tumblr forthcoming.


because this matters as we listen to this, our culture, the sound of the land, full of the same wind, that is blowing in the same bare place, for the listener, who listens in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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