The First Easter Rabbit
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|The First Easter Rabbit|
|Based on||The Velveteen Rabbit|
by Margery Williams
|Written by||Julian P. Gardner|
|Directed by||Jules Bass|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Narrated by||Burl Ives|
|Theme music composer||Maury Laws|
|Country of origin||United States|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Rankin/Bass Productions|
|Original release||April 9, 1976|
|Preceded by||Here Comes Peter Cottontail|
|Followed by||The 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 did the narration for this special which also featured the song "Easter Parade". Following 1964's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", this is the second Rankin/Bass special to be narrated by Burl Ives.
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.
- Burl Ives as Narrator, Old Stuffy (G.B.)
- Robert Morse as Young Stuffy
- Stan Freberg as Flops
- Paul Frees as Santa Claus, Zero, Spats
- Joan Gardner as Elizabeth, Calliope
- Dina Lynn as Glinda
- Don Messick as Jonathan, Whiskers
- Bob McFadden as Bruce the Snowball
- Christine Winter as Vocalist
- 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
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.
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