The Snowman is an Academy Award-nominated animated short based on the wordless 1978 children’s book of the same name by beloved British author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.
In The Snowman, a lonely boy makes a frozen friend who comes alive and the pair get up to mischief in the boy’s house, trying not to awaken his sleeping parents. Then they go to meet Santa Claus. Or was it all just a dream? Over the past 30 plus years it has become a Christmas tradition in Britain in the same sense that A Charlie Brown Christmas has become one in America, with annual Yuletide broadcasts.
Although the original animation, directed by Diane Jackson for Channel 4 in 1982, featured Briggs himself introducing the cartoon, the following year a second version was aired featuring a live action introduction by none other than David Bowie, who, it is implied, was the little boy in the story, with the “proof” that it all really happened being an old scarf he pulls from a drawer. It’s amusing to consider that an entire generation was introduced to David Bowie first and foremost as the adult version of the kid in this story.
A word about the soundtrack music: It’s lyrical and utterly gorgeous, the best known work of composer and pianist Howard Blake and was recorded with his orchestra, the Sinfonia of London. I have this on CD and it’s wonderful, a classic in its own right. Blake later turned The Snowman into a long-running holiday theatrical play.
In 2012, The Snowman and the Snowdog, a sequel to the original film was broadcast by Channel 4.