AS SEEN IN:
"Frosty The Snowman"
AS VOICED BY:
James Francis "Jimmy" Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. His jokes about his nose included referring to it as a "Schnozzola", and the word became his nickname.
Jimmy Durante is known to most modern audiences as the character who narrated and sang the 1969 animated special "Frosty the Snowman". He also performed the Ron Goodwin title song to the 1968 comedy-adventure "Monte Carlo or Bust" sung over the film's animated opening credits. There are numerous Durante depictions and allusions in animation. Pumbaa does a brief Durante impression while singing "Hakuna Matata" in "The Lion King". A character in M-G-M cartoons, a bulldog named Spike, whose puppy son was always getting caught by accident in the middle of Tom and Jerry's activities, referenced Durante with a raspy voice and an affectionate "Dat's my boy!"
In another Tom and Jerry episode, a starfish lands on Tom's head, giving him a big nose. He then proceeds with Durante's famous "Ha-cha-cha-cha" call. A Durante-like voice (originally by Doug Young) was also given to the father beagle, Doggie Daddy, in Hanna-Barbera's "Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy" cartoons, Doggie Daddy invariably addressing the junior beagle with a Durante-like "Augie, my son, my son," and with frequent citations of, "That's my boy who said that!" In the 1933 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes short, "Bosko's Picture Show", there is a scene where he is chased by Adolf Hitler with a meat cleaver.
Many 1940s Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons had characters based on Durante. Two examples are "A Gruesome Twosome", which features a cat based on Durante and "Baby Bottleneck", which in unedited versions opens with a Durante-like stork. "Book Revue" shows the well-known (at that time) 1924 Edna Ferber novel "So Big" featuring a Durante caricature on the cover. The "so big" refers to his nose, and as a runaway criminal turns the corner by the book, Durante turns sideways using his nose to trip the criminal, allowing his capture. In the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon named "Hollywood Daffy", Durante is directly depicted as himself, pronouncing his catch-phrase "Those are the conditions that prevail!". One of Durante's common catch phrases, "I got a million of 'em!", was used as Bugs' final line in "Stage Door Cartoon".
A Durante-like voice was also used for Marvel Comics superhero The Thing in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon 'Fred and Barney Meet the Thing'. In a 1993 episode of 'The Simpsons' titled "Lady Bouvier's Lover", after Grampa cries out, "Good night, Mrs. Bouvier, wherever you are," the Blue-haired lawyer announces himself in charge of Jimmy Durante's estate and therefore puts a halt to Abraham Simpson's "unauthorized imitation" of Durante. The voice and appearance of Crispy, the mascot for Crispy Critters cereal, was also based on Durante.
In the main TV Universe of Earth Prime-Time, there are certain movies that have been "abducted" from the Cineverse and absorbed into the main Toobworld. I don't see why the same cannot be true for The Tooniverse - and therefore, "Hollywood Daffy" can be considered a prequel of "Frosty The Snowman", in that Durante's character in both are the same man, his own self just separated by 22 years.