Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter Bunny Stories

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day, whether you're Irish or not. If you're looking for some Irishness here, take a look at my previous post. Otherwise, I'm returning to Easter programming with a focus on the Easter Bunny.

UPDATE AS OF 4/6/2011: Unfortunately, the first two clips are no longer available, and I'm unable to find repalcements on YouTube. Please try the usual retail outlets for availability.

The first two of today's offerings were created by the delightful Rankin/Bass studios. Although most famous for their Christmas fare, they did dabble in Easter stories here and there, first in the 1971 TV special Here Comes Peter Cottontail (starring Casey Kasem as the titular rabbit and Vincent Price as the villianous Irontail), then again in two more offerings.

The first is a cel-animation special called The First Easter Rabbit, narrated by Burl Ives (basically reprising his Sam the Snowman role from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but as a rabbit instead of a snowman) and released in 1976. I have to say, I have no recollection of this show, but here is the opening sequence:

The very next year, R/B presented The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town, which Warner Brothers Video just reissued in a deluxe DVD edition last month. The story is almost a plotline-by-plotline remake of the classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town, except for a change of character/species here and there. This clip isn't all that egg-citing (pardon the rotten pun); in fact, it's nothing more than a teaser by WB for the reissue of the special, but perhaps it will intice you to check out the DVD.

Lastly, going back a couple of decades before these Rankin/Bass specials, here we have a charming black-and-white presentation of Peter Cottontail, by the same studios that made the Frosty the Snowman cartoon featured in my Christmas posts. For some reason, there is no mention of Easter in this version.

See you again on Thursday for the last of my Easter posts, which will be a reminder of the reason for the season. Thanks!


Karswell said...

Fantastic collection of Easter cartoons! I particularly loved the UPA Peter Cottontail short. Put Robert Canon and Grim Natwick together on any animated project and you know it's going to be great! Thanks again for this treat!

Phillyradiogeek said...

I never knew these UPA shorts existed until I began this blog. That's part of why I love writing it--all the great discoveries I've made.


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