Friday, April 18, 2014

Literary Toons: The First Easter Rabbit (1976)

Rankin-Bass served up a loose adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit, but retro-fitted it to link up with the "universe" they'd created for their Christmas specials, when it should've been allowed to stand alone.

The First Easter Rabbit, then, comes across as just another treacly R-B holiday cartoon. Debuting on NBC in 1976, with subsequent repeats airing on CBS, it's virtually been lost to the mists of time. Something tells me it didn't do so well in the ratings, such that NBC gave it up, and then, CBS did, too.

Burl Ives narrates, with a supporting cast including vets Bob McFadden, Paul Frees, & Don Messick, plus Stan Freberg and Robert Morse. In fact, this would be the beginning of Morse's association with R-B, which would last up through 1979's Jack Frost.

If it were redone today, it'd be expanded to an hour to better interpret the plot.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

Wow! I haven't seen this chestnut in ages!

The one thing I always remembered was that the girl was sick with Scarlet Fever, and her mother was instructed to burn all her daughter's things to clear out any contamination. Of course Stuffy survived the burning by becoming real. I also remembered the scene of her getting a new dress.

I know it messed a bit with the Velveteen Rabbit, but it was entertaining on its own.

hobbyfan said...

When I reviewed it, it was really the first time I had a look at it. Ever. It had gotten to the point by then that almost everything R-B did was getting cookie-cutter cliched. It was just the way it was.