Premiered April 6, 1976.
"We came within a hair's breadth if you'll excuse the pun of never having an Easter rabbit at all."
A bunny named G.B. (Burl Ives) narrates the story of how the Easter Bunny began his career.
|Exuberant narrator G.B.|
A little girl named Glinda (Dina Lynn) gets a stuffed animal bunny for Christmas. She names the bunny Stuffy.
|Stuffy in Glinda's stocking with a sprig of holly between his paws|
Stuffy becomes Glinda's favorite toy.
Glinda later contracts scarlet fever. The doctor tells Glinda's mother Elizabeth (Joan Gardner) that all of Glinda's possessions must be burned to prevent a relapse of the disease. Stuffy is among the items that will be destroyed.
While waiting on the rubbish pile, Stuffy is visited by a fairy named Calliope (Gardner again). She turns him into a real bunny and tells him he will become "the First Easter Rabbit."
Calliope sends Stuffy to Easter Valley, where it's always Spring, despite its location near the North Pole. She says Stuffy must "beware of Zero" as she flies away.
On the way to Easter Valley, Stuffy encounters three rabbits of questionable morals (the narrator calls them "con-rabbits"). They're names are Spats (Paul Frees), Flops (Stan Freberg) and Whiskers (Don Messick). They're skeptical of Stuffy's story, but they offer to help him find Easter Valley, thinking there might be some way for them to profit from the adventure.
|Stuffy meets Flops, Spats & Whiskers.|
|Zero, with his flunky Bruce.|
|Santa Claus welcomes Stuffy|
|A little bird tells Stuffy how to access Easter Valley.|
Will stuffy be able to deliver eggs, candy and presents to children on Easter? Will he get to see Glinda again?
|Zero captures the Golden Lily, Bruce regrets helping him obtain the lily.|
I had not seen The First Easter Rabbit in more than 30 years and found it was better than I remembered. I've always felt that Rankin-Bass' "traditionally" animated specials were inferior to their Stop-Motion "Animagic" offerings.
|Stuffy puts on a Santa suit while performing "There's That Rabbit".|
|Jonathan & Elizabeth (Glinda's doctor & mother, respectively) enjoy the Easter Parade.|
|Robert Morse, who plays Bert Cooper in Mad Men...|
|...also voices Stuffy, the First Easter Rabbit!|
|Santa & his reindeer (yep, led by Rudolph) arrive in Easter Valley to help Stuffy.|
|Stuffy & Glinda reunite at the Easter Parade.|
|Stuffy dances & charms the crowd at the parade.|
J.A. Morris' rating:
3 Easter Eggs
This special is relatively new to me - the first time I saw it was last year. The story is an interesting mixture of elements, including similarities to the 1964 Rankin-Bass classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with plot from Margery Williams' 1922 tale The Velveteen Rabbit and a bit of Irving Berlin thrown in for good measure. The polyglot nature of the special works better than one might expect.
|Stuffy and friends working on Easter goodies to share|
|Off-Season Santa is around for help and advice!|
This might not be required viewing every year, but it is certainly an enjoyable way spend a half an hour.
2 1/2 Easter eggs