Easter’s just around the corner, and another holiday brings more Rankin/Bass. Yay! Rankin/Bass made two Easter-themed specials: 1971′s “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and 1977′s “The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town”.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail
I haven’t seen “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” since I was a kid. I don’t remember it very well, but it’s probably the better of the two, and I’m really eager to see it again. It’s available on DVD, and I’m going to try to get it before Easter.
Watch out: there’s an utterly despicable 2005 sequel called “Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie.” About 20 minutes into trying to watch it, I developed Tourette’s. If you’ve seen the 2001 sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, “Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys,” then you have an idea of how bad the Peter Cottontail sequel is. If you haven’t heard of either of them, just do whatever you can to steer clear of them.
The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town
“The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town” is a whole ‘nother egg hunt… and it’s actually just a re-tread of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Just as the Santa Claus in that special bears little resemblance to the Santa seen in the Rudolph special, this tale has nothing in common with the Peter Cottontail special — the protaganist here is Sunny the Bunny.
In both “Comin’ to Town”s: the narrator is a postman played by Fred Astaire; the holiday icon (Sunny in “Easter Bunny”, Kris Kringle in “Santa Claus”) lives in one town, and wants to deliver their holiday gifts to children in another town; delivery of the gifts is thwarted by the authority figure in the town, and sneaky ways to get the gifts delivered in the dark of night are developed; and along the way, today’s well-known traditions are spawned. Oh — and both figures also have trouble getting over a mountain between the two towns, because of a big scary monster type of obstruction that by the end of the special has learned to be good. It’s like they just took one script and filled it in Mad Libs-style to get two specials out of it.
Despite the strange deja vu feeling of watching “Easter Bunny,” it’s not half bad. The thing that bugs me is that the jelly beans look more like jelly noodles. It’s kind of weird.