Rabbit Ears Productions

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Rabbit Ears Productions
StarringDenzel Washington
Robin Williams
Jack Nicholson
Geena Davis
Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg
John Candy
Meryl Streep
Susan Saint James
Amy Grant
Glenn Close
Morgan Freeman
Jonathan Winters
Kelly McGillis
Anjelica Huston
Laura Dern
Michael Keaton
Sissy Spacek
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes63
Production
Executive producersMark Sottnick and Mike Pogue
Running time30 minutes per episode
Release
Original networkDirect-to-video
Showtime

Rabbit Ears Productions is a production company best known for producing three television series that feature individual episodes adapting popular pieces of children's literature. Rabbit Ears episodes have been released on home video, broadcast on Showtime, and reran on PBS. The series features actors such as Robin Williams, Raul Julia, Laura Dern, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, John Hurt, Danny Glover, and others narrating children's books either well known in the United States or from around the world. The series made use of a limited animation technique whereby still images were moved throughout the scene, similar to modern motion comics. Rabbit Ears Productions has also won numerous awards, including Parents' Choice Awards and Grammy Awards.

Stories[edit]

Storybook Classics[edit]

From 1984 to 1990, Rabbit Ears Productions created a set of storybook classics that were well-known around the world. Probably the most popular storybook classic from Rabbit Ears Productions was The Velveteen Rabbit, the first story that Rabbit Ears Productions had created. The Velveteen Rabbit also received many awards such as Parents' Choice Award and a nomination for a Grammy Award. Showtime acquired the broadcast rights to Storybook Classics in 1987.

We All Have Tales[edit]

From 1991 to 1995, Rabbit Ears Productions created the next set of stories which were those that come from all around the world,[1] including countries such as Russia, France, Jamaica, England, Germany, Colombia, Scandinavia, Japan and India.

American Heroes and Legends[edit]

From 1992 to 1993, Rabbit Ears Productions made another set of stories that come from the US, about great American heroes such as John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, and many other heroes and heroines that made a great impact on American society.

The Greatest Stories Ever Told[edit]

From 1991 to 1993, Rabbit Ears Productions created their final installment, relating to stories from the Bible. Seven of them focus with Bible stories from the Old Testament (including The Creation, Noah and the Ark, Joseph and his Brothers, Moses in Egypt, Moses the Lawgiver, David and Goliath, and Jonah and the Whale). These seven stories are stories from the Old Testament books (Genesis, Exodus, Samuel, and Jonah). There are four more stories that are from the New Testament (including The Saviour is Born, The Sower, The Good Samaritan, and The Prodigal Son). In The Greatest Stories Ever Told, The Creation was the first story published in 1991. This series was not shown on television.

Holiday Classics[edit]

Holiday Classics are stories that are found throughout all the Rabbit Ears Productions series, whether they are Christmas, Halloween, or Easter-themed.

Cast and crew[edit]

Cast[edit]

Crew[edit]

  • Mark Sottnick: Executive Producer, Producer, Director
  • Mike Pogue: Executive Producer
  • Eric Metaxas: Writer
  • Brian Gleeson: Writer
  • C.W. Rogers: Animation Department, Film Editing, Production Design
  • Tim Raglin: Illustrator, Art Direction, Director
  • Paul Elliott: Art Director
  • Ken Hoin: Producer
  • Doris Wilhousky: Executive Producer
  • Susan C. Anderson: Production Director

List of episodes[edit]

Storybook Classics: 1985–1990[edit]

# Title Year released Summary Narrator Illustrator Music
1 The Velveteen Rabbit 1985 When a young boy receives a toy rabbit for a gift, the toy rabbit realizes that when someone loves you so much, you can become real. Meryl Streep David Jorgensen George Winston
2 The Ugly Duckling 1985 When a young duckling is rejected from his family because of his ugly looks, he embarks on a journey to realize the true meaning of beauty. Cher Robert Van Nutt Patrick Ball
3 The Elephant's Child 1986 When a curious elephant child wants to know about the crocodile that lives in the river, he gets a big surprise that might change his life forever. Jack Nicholson Tim Raglin Bobby McFerrin
4 The Steadfast Tin Soldier 1986 This is the story of a one-legged tin soldier who goes through many perilous adventures in the outside world to get back to his true love, the ballerina. Jeremy Irons David Jorgensen Mark Isham
5 The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher / The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1987 The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher: Mr. Jeremy Fisher, the frog, wants to go fishing for minnows for his dinner. Unfortunately, he is about to find out the dangers of going fishing alone.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit: Naughty Peter Rabbit goes off to Mr. McGregor's garden against his mother's warnings, but he soon learns about the consequences of disobeying his mother.

Meryl Streep David Jorgensen Lyle Mays
6 The Emperor and the Nightingale 1987 When the Emperor of China finds out about the beautiful music of the nightingale, he wishes to have the nightingale by his side. That is, until a new rival, a mechanical bird, shows up and outstages the nightingale. But, when the Emperor faces death, he will soon realize that the nightingale is the one who truly cares for him in his time of need. Glenn Close Robert Van Nutt Mark Isham
7 How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin / How the Camel Got His Hump 1987 How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin: When the Rhinoceros rudely eats the Parsee Man's cake, the Parsee Man's revenge causes the Rhinoceros to have the skin he has today.

How the Camel Got His Hump: When the Camel refuses to do any work in the desert, it is up to the Djinn of the desert to set him straight.

Jack Nicholson Tim Raglin Bobby McFerrin
8 Pecos Bill 1988 Join the legendary cowboy Pecos Bill on his adventures of being raised as a coyote to being the hero when a cyclone threatens Texas. Robin Williams Tim Raglin Ry Cooder
9 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 1988 Washington Irving’s eerie tale of romantic rivalry along the Hudson pits the new schoolmaster Ichabod Crane against the local hero and bully, Brom Bones, for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel. This haunting drama climaxes with the appearance of one of the great, legendary ghosts of all time: the Headless Horseman. Glenn Close Robert Van Nutt Tim Story
10 The Tailor of Gloucester 1988 When a poor tailor has to make a lovely Christmas coat for the mayor on his wedding day, he gets help from an unexpected source. Meryl Streep David Jorgensen The Chieftains
11 The Fisherman and His Wife 1989 When a poor Fisherman discovers a magic flounder in the sea, he goes home to tell his wife. But, as his wife's greed for the better life comes to the point where she wants to take over the world, the fisherman soon realizes that his wife's greed will get the best of them yet. Jodie Foster Diana Bryan Van Dyke Parks
12 Thumbelina 1989 A long time ago in Denmark, a childless couple is blessed with a radiantly beautiful baby girl. She is no bigger than a thumb, so she is called Thumbelina. Snatched from her family by an ugly toad who wants to marry her, Thumbelina escapes, befriending various creatures of the forest. Ultimately, she meets the king of the flower angels, with whom she finds happiness forever. Kelly McGillis David Johnson Mark Isham
13 How the Leopard Got His Spots 1989 When all the animals in the forest has fled to the jungle to avoid being eaten, the Leopard and the Ethiopian both have to change their colors in order to blend in with the jungle and find the animals. Danny Glover Lori Lohstoeter Ladysmith Black Mambazo
14 The Three Billy Goats Gruff / The Three Little Pigs 1989 The Three Billy Goats Gruff: When a troll threatens to eat up the billy goats who want to eat the grass on the other side of the bridge, the biggest billy goat is the one who teaches the troll a lesson he'll never forget.

The Three Little Pigs: When the Big Bad Wolf eats up the first and second little pigs, he'll learn the hard way that he shouldn't mess with the smartest pig of the three little pigs.

Holly Hunter David Jorgensen Art Lande
15 The Emperor's New Clothes 1990 Like everyone else in the kingdom, two clever swindlers understand the Emperor's passion for new clothes. Claiming to be creators of the richest and most beautiful cloth in the world, they cleverly announce that the "magical" garments they are weaving for the Emperor are invisible to anyone lacking intelligence. Who will have the courage to speak the truth? Sir John Gielgud Robert Van Nutt Mark Isham
16 Paul Bunyan 1990 Big as a mountain and strong as a grizzly bear, Paul Bunyan was the greatest lumberjack to swagger through the North American forests. All the larger-than-life characters in Paul's supporting cast are here, including Babe the Blue Ox, eating her ton of grain a day, and Hotbiscuit Sally with her acre-andahalf griddle. The outrageous adventures of this quintessential American hero represent the very best in the proud tradition of American storytelling. Jonathan Winters Rick Meyerowitz Leo Kottke
17 Red Riding Hood / Goldilocks 1990 Red Riding Hood: When a young girl with a red cape encounters the Big Bad Wolf in the woods, she learns the hard way that nothing good comes out of talking to strangers.

Goldilocks: When a spoiled girl goes to the house of the three bears and sneaks inside, she will soon get a surprise of her life when the bears come home from their walk.

Meg Ryan Laszlo Kubinyi Art Lande
18 Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby 1990 When Brer Fox gets tired of Brer Rabbit's sassiness, he decides to make a Tar Baby that will trap Brer Rabbit for sure. But Brer Fox soon finds out that Brer Rabbit is trickier than he looks. Danny Glover Henrik Drescher Taj Mahal
19 The Talking Eggs 1991 A young girl named Ruby Rouge befriends a mysterious old woman who gives her magical eggs. Sissy Spacek Neil Brennan Michael Doucet with BeauSoleil

We All Have Tales: 1991–1995[edit]

# Title Release date Summary Narrator Illustrator Music Country
15 Jack and the Beanstalk June 4, 1991 (Showtime) When Jack sells his cow for some lousy looking beans, his mother goes into a rage and throws the beans out the window. However, Jack soon discovers that those beans were no ordinary beans and he begins a journey to get the riches that lies on top of the beanstalk. However, Jack soon discovers that the riches are not the only things on the beanstalk. Michael Palin Edward Sorel David A. Stewart England
16 Anansi September 10, 1991 (Showtime) Two stories feature Anansi the Spider outsmarting various creatures to get their stories. The first story involves Anansi tricking Snake to get the stories from Tiger. The second story involves Anansi trying to admit to the other animals that he is a man after his mother-in-law dies. Denzel Washington Steven Guarnaccia UB40 Jamaica
17 East of the Sun, West of the Moon June 5, 1991 (VHS)
July 10, 1991 (Showtime)
When a young girl befriends a mysterious bear, she learns about the curse that has been set upon the bear and embarks on a journey to set him free from the curse. Max von Sydow Vivienne Flesher Lyle Mays Scandinavia
18 The Fool and the Flying Ship April 9, 1991 (Showtime) When the Tsar of Russia proclaims that whoever builds a flying ship will marry his daughter, a country fool takes the challenge and meets some odd superhumans along the way. Robin Williams Henrik Drescher Klezmer Conservatory Band Russia
19 The Monkey People January 7, 1992 (Showtime) When a small village starts neglecting their duties, they get help from a mysterious old man who carves leaves in the shapes monkeys that come to life. Raúl Juliá Diana Bryan Lee Ritenour Colombia
20 King Midas and the Golden Touch December 13, 1991 (Showtime) When King Midas is given the gift to turn objects into gold, he learns that there are things that are more precious than any gold in the kingdom. Michael Caine Rodica Prato Ellis Marsalis featuring Yo-Yo Ma Greece
21 The Boy Who Drew Cats November 5, 1991 (Showtime) A young boy who draws cats goes on an adventure to save his village from a Demon. William Hurt David Johnson Mark Isham Japan
22 Koi and the Kola Nuts April 7, 1992 (Showtime) When a young boy by the name of Koi leaves his village because the village does not know how to treat the son of a chief, he embarks on a journey to find a village that will treat him with respect. Koi then makes a few unexpected jungle friends along the way. Whoopi Goldberg Reynold Ruffins Herbie Hancock Nigeria
23 The Tiger and the Brahmin October 1, 1991 (Showtime) When a Brahmin accidentally releases a tiger, the tiger is bent on eating the Brahmin. However, a clever jackal is the one who helps the Brahmin in his time of need. Ben Kingsley Kurt Vargo Ravi Shankar India
24 Rumpelstiltskin March 8, 1992 (Showtime) A greedy king tells a young daughter of a miller that she must spin a room full of straws into gold by morning... or die. Then a little man tells her anything she please. Kathleen Turner Peter Sis Tangerine Dream Germany
25 Finn McCoul June 11, 1992 (Showtime) Finn McCoul is the greatest champion in all of Ireland. But when the brutish giant Cucullin is after him, he is a bit nervous. Catherine O'Hara Peter de Sève Boys on the Lough Ireland
26 Puss in Boots February 18, 1992 (Showtime) Claude, a youngest son of Miller, feels short-changed leaves him nothing more than a tomcat. However, when Claude decides to do away with his feline inheritance, the cat devised a plan to transform his dim-witted owner into a prince. Tracey Ullman Pierre Le-Tan Jean-Luc Ponty France
27 The Bremen Town Musicians March 1994 (VHS)
January 9, 1995 (Showtime)
A gang of farmyard animals form a band and travel to the German town of Bremen. Bob Hoskins David Johnson Eugene Friesen Germany
28 Aladdin and the Magic Lamp February 1994 (VHS)
April 5, 1994 (Showtime)
This enchanted tale is based on "One Thousand and One Nights" where a young rogue receives wishes from a genie and wins the hand of the Sultan's daughter in marriage. John Hurt Greg Couch Mickey Hart Middle East
29 Pinocchio 1992 (VHS)
May 9, 1994 (Showtime)
A Woodcarver named Geppetto creates a young puppet named Pinocchio that somehow comes to life. Danny Aiello Brian Ajhar Les Misérables Brass Band Italy
30 Peachboy May 7, 1991 (Showtime) Set in Ancient Japan, a young child is found inside a peach by an old couple, and he must embark on a journey to rescue people from a band of ogres. Sigourney Weaver Jeffrey Smith Ryuichi Sakamoto Japan
31 The Five Chinese Brothers June 14, 1994 (Showtime) A tale of ancient China five brothers who each has his own unique gifted strength and power help with each other to overcome the challenges when the disaster fate comes. John Lone Kurt Vargo Bill Douglass and David Austin China
32 The Firebird July 12, 1994 (Showtime) A young archer named Ivan gives a feather from the legendary Firebird to the Tsar of Russia, now he must go on a quest to capture the Firebird. Susan Sarandon Robert Van Nutt Mark Isham Russia
33 The White Cat December 5, 1996 (Showtime)
1997 (VHS)
A Prince falls in love with an enchanted cat queen. Emma Thompson Barbara McClintock Joe Jackson France

American Heroes and Legends: 1992–1994[edit]

# Title Year released Summary Narrator Illustrator Music
32 Rip Van Winkle 1992 A lazy man goes to the Kaatskill mountains with his dog and accidentally ends up sleeping for 20 years. Anjelica Huston Rick Meyerowitz Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
33 Annie Oakley 1992 The true story about the real life exploits of a Sharp Shooter from the Wild West. Keith Carradine Fred Warter Los Lobos
34 Davy Crockett 1992 A story about the outlandish adventures of a wild man who eventually becomes a hero. Nicolas Cage Steve Brodner David Bromberg
35 Follow the Drinkin' Gourd 1992 A family of slaves try to escape from their masters by following a song. Morgan Freeman Yvonne Buchanan Taj Mahal
36 Stormalong 1992 The tale of a giant sea captain and his adventures on the open sea. John Candy Don Vanderbeek NRBQ
37 Johnny Appleseed 1993 A man named John Chapman goes all throughout the country planting apple trees. Garrison Keillor Stan Olson Mark O'Connor
38 Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin 1993 A young Native American princess gives must give up her Birthday present in order to save her village. Geena Davis Karen Barbour Michael Hedges
39 John Henry 1993 A young but strong African American must beat a mechanical steam drill. Denzel Washington Barry Jackson B.B. King
40 Mose the Fireman 1994 A Fireman named Mose Humphrey saves burning buildings in the 1800s Michael Keaton Everett Peck John Beasley and Walter Becker

The Greatest Stories Ever Told: 1991–1994[edit]

# Title Year released Summary Narrator Illustrator Music
45 The Creation 1991 Tells the story of how God created the world, while also telling the story of Adam and Eve. Amy Grant Stefano Vitale Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
46 Joseph and his Brothers 1991 Tells the story of how Joseph was abused, but later became second in command of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Rubén Blades Garnet Henderson Strunz and Farah
41 Jonah and the Whale 1992 Jonah, the son of Amittai, must escape God after being tasked to go to the city of Nineveh to tell them to stop their wickedness or God will destroy them. Jason Robards Jeffrey Smith George Mgrdichian
42 David and Goliath 1992 David, a young shephard boy must defeat a giant Philistine warrior named Goliath. Mel Gibson Douglas Fraser Branford Marsalis
43 The Savior is Born 1992 Tells the Story of the Birth of Jesus Morgan Freeman Robert Van Nutt The Christ Church Cathedral Choir
44 Noah and The Ark 1992 God tells a man named Noah that he will flood the world for 40 days and 40 nights, so Noah and his family must build a giant ark with two of every animal in it. Kelly McGillis Lori Lohstoeter The Paul Winter Consort
47 Moses in Egypt 1993 Tells the story of Moses, and his journey to free his fellow Israelites from Slavery. Danny Glover Phil Huling The Sounds of Blackness
48 Moses The Lawgiver 1993 Tells the story of how Moses created The Ten Commandments. Ben Kingsley John Collier Lyle Mays
49 Parables That Jesus Told 1994 Jesus Tells the stories of The Sower, The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son. Garrison Keillor Stan Fellows David Lindley

Holiday Classics: 1986–1994[edit]

# Title Year released Summary Narrator Illustrator Music Holiday
50 Santabear's First Christmas November 22, 1986 (ABC) A young bear cub is appointed by Santa Claus to deliver toys on Christmas. Kelly McGillis Buck Lewis Michael Hedges Christmas
51 A Gingerbread Christmas 1991 The Prince and Princess of Gingerbread must save Christmas from being cancelled. Susan Saint James John Spiers Van Dyke Parks Christmas
52 Squanto and The First Thanksgiving 1991 Tells the story of Squanto, and how he helped the Pilgrims Graham Greene Michael A. Donato Paul McCandless Thanksgiving
53 The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat 1991 A puppy and a kitten fall out of Santa's bag and now must journey to their new home. Amy Grant Laszlo Kubinyi Chet Atkins Christmas
54 The Night Before Christmas 1992 A retelling of the classic poem of the same name. Meryl Streep William Cone, Greg Couch, Vivienne Flesher, Robert Van Nutt, Bill James, and Tom Christopher Mark O'Connor, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Van Dyke Parks, Sarah W. Neill and Meryl Streep Christmas
55 The Song of Sacajawea 1993 Tells the Story of how Sacajawea helped Louis and Clark. Laura Dern Jack Molloy David Lindley Thanksgiving
56 The Lion and the Lamb 1994 A story based on European Legends. Amy Grant and Christopher Reeve Bill Kroyer Lyle Mays Christmas

Audiobooks[edit]

Many of the stories have been made available as audiobooks through Listening Library.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 898–899. ISBN 978-1476665993.

External links[edit]