First Aired April 6, 1977
The Easter Bunny is comin to town today
Here's hopin' he's hippity-hoppin' your way
So get your brushes and paints, give him a handIt's Easter throughout all the land!
-S.D. Kluger, in his introductory song.
Mailman Special Delivery "S.D." Kluger (Fred Astaire, reprising his roll from Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town) answers letters sent from children about the Easter Bunny. They want to know "Where does the Easter Bunny come from?", "Why do we color eggs at Easter?", "Why are Easter flowers called lillies?", "Who made the first chocolate bunny?". It turns out S.D. is an old friend of the Easter Bunny, so he tells a story that will answer the kids' inquiries.
|Fred Astaire narrates the special as S.D. Kluger.|
One Easter morning, the kids find a baby bunny (Skip Hinnant) who is also an orphan. They decide to name him Sunny. He grows up (rabbits mature faster than children) and quickly becomes a leader in Kidville.
|Sunny is given a "Carot Cake" on his 1st birthday.|
|Sunny encounters Gadzooks.|
On the way to Town, Sunny is chased by Gadzooks, who wants Sunny's eggs. Sunny escapes and arrives in Town, and learns that there are no children in Town, when babies are born their parents are forced to leave with them. It is a very dark and depressing community.
|Sunny arrives in Town.|
|Lilly scolds King Bruce.|
|The Hendrews Sisters lay Easter Eggs for Sunny & set up an assembly line for decorating them.|
|Sunny is Knighted by King Bruce.|
|Gadzooks realizes it's better to be loved than feared & gets a girlfriend.|
|Sunny, Hallelujah and Herbert cook the first jelly beans!|
|Bruce & his servants enjoy some jelly beans.|
J.A. Morris says:
I remember when The Easter Bunny Is Coming To Town first aired. It was a regular part of network Easter programming for several years in the 70s and 80s. I've always enjoyed it.
|Sunny inspires the first Easter Parade!|
Sunny is a likeable champion who fights for a just cause. And he's very cute too, especially as a baby. This is the 2nd Rankin-Bass special that tells the "origin" of the Easter Bunny, following The First Easter Rabbit.
|S.D. Kluger with Chugs, the Little Engine Who Could.|
The main problem with this special is that it's very derivative of other Rankin-Bass offerings. It's a sequel to Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and borrows much of its story. It also owes a lot too Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer too. Gadzooks is sort of a combination of the Bumble and the Winter Warlock, just like them he is ultimately reformed. But Gadzooks looks very amusing in his "Easter Outfit". Lilly seems to be channeling the Burgermeister Meisterburger.
|The Hendrew Sisters perch on Gadzooks, after he joins the good guys.|
The songs by Maury Laws aren't as good as the ones featured in earlier specials like Rudolph, but they're mostly nice and help move the story along. I've had several of the songs stuck in my head for days, ever since I re-watched the special. "Someone's Gotta Take A Taste" is the strongest song of the bunch.
|Sunny gives the first Easter toys to King Bruce.|
|Skip Hinnant as Fargo North.|
I'm not sure how often this special airs on TV these days, but it's available on DVD and is worth seeking out
The Easter Bunny Is Coming To Town is a solid special that features a likeable protagonist, and an entertaining origin story but it's derivative aspects prevent me from giving it our highest rating:
J.A. Morris' Rating:
3 and 1/2 Easter Eggs.
|Another image of "Baby Sunny" because he's so darned cute!|
This particular special was not one that I saw until a couple of years ago. As J.A. Morris says, it does suffer from feeling a bit too much like other, better Rankin-Bass offerings. Sadly, the songs are not particularly memorable and I find the "Which came first the chicken or the egg song" to be a bit ontologically troubling. This is a cute enough special, but definitely not a great one, in my opinion.
2 and 1/2 Easter Eggs.