Updated on December 10, 2021
Continuing the minor Christmas specials hit parade, here’s the next entry: several black-and-white shorts that aired for years on Chicago’s WGN during the holidays. Said shorts were “Hardrock, Coco, and Joe,” “Suzy Snowflake,” and UPA’s version of “Frosty the Snowman.”
Nowadays, the shorts are usually aired on “Bozo, Gar & Ray: WGN TV Classics,” a special WGN airs during the holidays about its classic local TV shows.
Frosty the Snowman
The 1954 several-minute-long “Frosty the Snowman” black-and-white short was produced by UPA, the studio that produced Mr. Magoo’s shorts. UPA helped popularize the concept of streamlined/limited animation later cemented by Hanna-Barbera. It took until 1969 for Frosty to receive his now-famous Rankin-Bass animated treatment.
As a kid, I always referred to this version of Frosty as “stick-figure Frosty,” out of how limited and flat looking the black-and-white Frosty was versus the more famous Rankin-Bass special.
A studio called Centaur Productions produced this stop-motion animated short. It features a magical fairy who, like Jack Frost, brings wintry goodness (icicles, etc.) to all far and wide.
Hardrock, Coco, and Joe
This show, also stop-motion animated and produced by Centaur, features three elves of Santa helping him on his Christmas Eve ride, all to a cute song.
A Bozo the Clown Christmas special in the 80s had, as part of its plot, Bozo and his sidekick Cookie meeting (live-action actor versions of) Hardrock, Coco, and Joe.
On TV/home video
All three of these shorts are on WGN’s airings of “Bozo, Gar & Ray: WGN TV Classics.” It’s a special WGN airs during the holidays, and focuses on its classic local TV shows.
Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) released the shorts to a fairly pricey DVD.
Additionally, there’s also YouTube, including MBC’s own channel.