The First Easter Rabbit
|The First Easter Rabbit|
The Velveteen Rabbit|
by Margery Williams
|Written by||Julian P. Gardner|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Narrated by||Burl Ives|
|Theme music composer||Maury Laws|
|Country of origin||
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Running time||25 minutes|
|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 a 1976 animated Easter special, it premiered on April 9, as seen on NBC and later CBS. Created by Rankin/Bass, it tells the story of the Easter Bunny's origin and is loosely based on The Velveteen Rabbit, a children's book by Margery Williams. Burl Ives did the narration of this special which also featured the song "Easter Parade". After 1964's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", this is the second Rankin/Bass special to be narrated by Burl Ives.
A plush toy rabbit named Stuffy (voiced by Robert Morse) is given as a Christmas present for a little girl named Glinda, 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 (Joan Gardner), who brings him to life and sends him to Easter Valley up 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 and make it like the rest of the pole by stealing the Golden Easter Lily from the valley. In order to stop him, Stuffy must become the Easter Bunny, retrieve the Golden Lily, and save Easter.
- Burl Ives - Narrator, Old Stuffy (G.B.)
- Robert Morse - Young Stuffy
- Stan Freberg - Flops
- Paul Frees - Santa Claus, Zero, Spats
- Joan Gardner - Elizabeth, Calliope
- Dina Lyn - Glinda
- Don Messick - Jonathan, Whiskers
- Bob McFadden - Bruce the Snowball, Whiskers
- Christine Winter - Vocal
- Producer - Arthur Rankin, Jr.
- Director - Jules Bass
- Writer - Julian P. Gardner
- Songs - Easter Parade, There's That Rabbit
- Sound - John Curcio, Don Hahn, Dave Iveland, Tom Clack
- Post Production Editing - Irwin Goldress
- Animation - Toru Hara, Tsuguyuki Kubo
- Design - Paul Coker, Jr.
- Music Arranger and Conductor - Maury Laws
© 1976 Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc.
Home media releases
The First Easter Rabbit was first released on VHS by ABC Video Enterprises and Golden Book Video in 1986. Warner Home Video released the special for its second VHS release in 1993, and on a remastered "Deluxe Edition" DVD in 2010.