Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 03/30/2011

“The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town!”

A sequel of sorts to their far, far better-known “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, as if the title wasn’t a clue, this Rankin/Bass special attempts to give a mythology and back-story to the Easter Bunny.  I can promise you, this version of the Easter Bunny does not poop jelly beans.

The story opens… exactly the same way “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” does, with a montage of kids getting ready for {holiday} and sending questions to {holiday’s mascot} via S.D. Kluger’s delivery service.  Fred Astaire reprises the role of the friendly narrating deliveryman here, and tells the story of little Sunny Bunny.  Sunny became the Easter Bunny after vowing to bring the joy and happiness of the new spring to a bleak little town called, er, Town, ruled by a wishy-washy young king and his mean auntie (regular readers, take a shot).

Of course, this being a Rankin-Bass special, there are lots of strange little touches.  Sunny, for example, was adopted as the mascot of Kidville, a tiny village populated only by children (wasn’t this a creepy “Star Trek” original series episode?)  One of his adversaries early on is a bear called Gadzooks, which is an interesting choice indeed if you know your etymology.  In fact, Fantastic Religious Weirdness shows up in this special rather often (it is a matter of fact that the very first egg ever was laid by a pair of chickens after the Great Flood.  Have fun with the fridge logic.)  Additionally, the story doesn’t even pretend like it isn’t a direct rip off “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

But with all that said, it’s easily the best of Rankin/Bass’ three Easter specials.  The bunny is awful cute after all.

The Best Parts:
2 minutes in – Because colored eggs were already an Eastern European tradition long ago; families who converted to Christianity kept it going and added it to their Easter celebrations since eggs are a pretty powerful fertility/springtime symbol.  What?
3 minutes in – That’s an annoying train engine.
8 minutes in – Since there were lots of animals like fish, amphibians, ect. who were reproducing through eggs long before chickens (or even birds or, for that matter, theropods) evolved, then that means the egg came first.
(The chickens sing their song.)
Well, it just got awkward in here.
10 minutes in – “Stop boiling our young!”
11 minutes in – “But I really don’t know if you should be left alone with children…”
13 minutes in – The evil auntie has apparently outlawed all flowers in Town.  The only thing Town residents are allowed to eat are beans.  Now… to get beans, you have to let the bean plant flower…
17 minutes in – Oh wow, this song.  Also, it seems women were never the first to do anything.
20 minutes in – I’ve never seen this ritual in action.
21 minutes in – “I am NOT a rodent!  Rabbits are something else entirely!”
26 minutes in – Gotta admit, as strange as this plot twist is, that’s a pretty amazing tie.
30 minutes in – Ah, now I remember this special.
34 minutes in – You’re starting to horn in on Santa’s niche Sunny.
46 minutes in – How did mean auntie not notice the hobos building the train tracks right into Town?
49 minutes in – Oh, and it’s over, I guess.  I like how some Rankin/Bass specials don’t end so much as run out of time.

Things I Learned from this Movie:
* – You can outlaw flowers.  Good luck enforcing that one.
* – You can also outlaw children.  Good luck enforcing that one too.
* – Nothing derails small businesses like self-important train engines.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
As I said, Sunny is awful cute.
Good Soundtrack? It’s Rankin/Bass.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? It’s Rankin/Bass.
Nifty Animation/Effects/Art Direction? It’s Rankin/Bass.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when you recognize a plot point from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Head Movie Potential? It’s very short, but it has the good old Rankin/Bass trippiness.

Rating: Jordan rating (3)
Jordan attempting to figure out that whole bit with Gadzooks’ present.
A Rankin/Bass Film released in 1977. Written by Romeo Muller and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass.
Fred Astaire and Skip Hinnant
Related Links
IMDB page



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