The First Easter Rabbit

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The First Easter Rabbit
Based onThe Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
Written byJulian P. Gardner
Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr.
Jules Bass
StarringRobert Morse
Stan Freberg
Paul Frees
Joan Gardner
Dina Lyn
Don Messick
Bob McFadden
Narrated byBurl Ives
Theme music composerMaury Laws
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Jules Bass
CinematographyToru Hara
Tsuguyuki Kubo
Editor(s)Irwin Goldress
Running time25 minutes
Production company(s)Rankin/Bass Productions
Original networkNBC
Original releaseApril 9, 1976
Preceded byHere Comes Peter Cottontail
Followed byThe Easter Bunny is Comin' to Town

The First Easter Rabbit is an animated Easter television special that premiered April 9, 1976 on NBC and later aired on CBS. Created by Rankin/Bass, it tells the story of the Easter Bunny's origin. The special is loosely based on the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Burl Ives narrated the special which also featured the song "Easter Parade;" it marked Ives's return to a Rankin/Bass special for the first time since "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" twelve years prior.


Stuffy (voiced by Robert Morse) is a stuffed rabbit, given to a little girl named Glinda as a Christmas present. But when she comes down sick with scarlet fever, her old toys are thrown away to be burned in order to disinfect the playroom. Stuffy is rescued by a sprite named Calliope (voice by Joan Gardner), who brings him to life and sends him to Easter Valley at the North Pole where he befriends Santa Claus and three other rabbits named Spats, Flops, and Whiskers to help him with the Easter traditions. However, an ice monster named Zero and his partner Bruce the Snowball want to freeze the valley by stealing the Golden Easter Lily. In order to stop him, Stuffy must become the Easter Bunny, retrieve the Golden Lily, and save Easter.



  • Producers/Directors - Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass
  • Writer - Julian P. Gardner
  • Songs - There's That Rabbit, Easter Parade
  • Sound - John Curcio, Don Hahn, Dave Iveland, Tom Clack
  • Post Production Editing - Irwin Goldress
  • Overseas Animation Production - Topcraft (uncredited)
    • Animation - Toru Hara, Tsuguyuki Kubo
    • Animation Directors - Kazuyuki Kobayashi, Hidemi Kubo (uncredited)
    • Backgrounds - Minoru Nishida (uncredited)
    • Key Animation - Yoshiko Sasaki, Tadakatsu Yoshida (uncredited)
  • Design - Paul Coker, Jr.
  • Music Arranger and Conductor - Maury Laws

Home media releases[edit]

The First Easter Rabbit was first released on VHS by ABC Video Enterprises and Golden Book Video in 1986. The second release, by Warner Home Video, to VHS occurred in 1993, and a remastered "Deluxe Edition" was issued on DVD in 2010.

External links[edit]