The First Easter Rabbit

The First Easter Rabbit
Based on The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
Written by Julian P. Gardner
Directed by Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Starring Robert Morse
Stan Freberg
Paul Frees
Joan Gardner
Dina Lyn
Don Messick
Bob McFadden
Narrated by Burl Ives
Theme music composer Maury Laws
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Cinematography Toru Hara
Tsuguyuki Kubo
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Rankin/Bass Productions
Original network NBC
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.



© 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.

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