Featured songPeter Cottontail WriterRomeo Muller LanguageEnglish
Arthur Rankin Jr. Release dateApril 4, 1971 DirectorsArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company CastDanny Kaye (Narrator), Vincent Price (Irontail (voice)), Casey Kasem (Peter Cottontail (voice)), Paul Frees ((voice)), Joan Gardner (Bonnie (voice)), Iris Rainer (Donna (voice)) Similar moviesThe Nightmare Before Christmas, Yes, Virginia, A Christmas Tree Miracle, Raggedy Ann & Andy: The Great Santa Claus Caper, The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2
Here Comes Peter Cottontail is a 1971 Easter stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions and based on the 1957 novel The Easter Bunny That Overslept by Priscilla and Otto Friedrich. The title of the special is from the Easter song "Here Comes Peter Cottontail", which is also heard in the special. The name "Peter Cottontail" comes from a series of books by Thornton W. Burgess (1874–1965), although the special is not based directly on his books.
It was originally broadcast on ABC-TV, and in later years, appeared on CBS, Fox Family, The CW, and Cartoon Network. In 2006, it was followed by a computer-animated sequel, Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie.
Here comes peter cottontail
Peter Cottontail is a young Easter Bunny who lives in April Valley where all the other Easter Bunnies live and work, making Easter candy, sewing bonnets, and decorating and delivering Easter eggs.
Colonel Wellington B. Bunny, the retiring Chief Easter Bunny, names Peter his successor despite his boasting and lying. Peter, who has dreamed of being the Chief Easter Bunny almost his entire life, gladly accepts. However, January Q. Irontail wants to be Chief Easter Bunny himself so he can ruin it for children after a child roller-skated over his tail and had to wear a prosthetic one made of iron. Irontail demands that Colonel Bunny hold a contest between himself and Peter to see who wins since the Constitution of April Valley states that the Chief Easter Bunny should be the one who delivers the most eggs. Arrogant Peter accepts Irontail's challenge, but spends all night partying with his friends. Although he tells his rooster to wake him up at 5:30 in the morning, Irontail sneaks into his house and feeds the rooster magic bubblegum, sealing its beak and Peter sleeps on, not hearing the crows from the popping bubblegum bubbles. Though Irontail tries all day to deliver eggs with unsuccessful results, he is only able to deliver a single one to a sleeping hobo. However, it's still one egg more than Peter ever delivered. Therefore, Irontail becomes the new Chief Easter Bunny, passing laws to make Easter a disaster, such as having eggs dyed mud brown and new concrete gray, ordering the candy sculptors to craft chocolate tarantulas and octopuses, and having Easter galoshes instead of bonnets. Meanwhile, Peter, ashamed that his bragging and irresponsibility led to this tragedy, leaves April Valley in shame until he meets Seymour S. Sassafras, an eccentric peddler and inventor, who supplies April Valley with the colors to paint the eggs from his Garden of Surprises, from red, white, and blue cabbages and purple corn to striped tomatoes and orange stringbeans. Sassafras then lets Peter use his Yestermorrowbile, a time machine, piloted by a French caterpillar named Antoine to take Peter back to Easter, deliver his eggs, win the contest, and defeat Irontail. Unfortunately, Irontail finds out about Peter's plan and sends his spider to sabotage the Yestermorrowbile's controls, allowing Peter and Antoine to go to any holiday but Easter.
Since the contest's rules don't specifically say the eggs must be delivered on Easter, Peter tries to give his eggs away at other holidays without success. On the Fourth of July, he lies to two boys by painting his eggs red, white, and blue and selling them as firecrackers. When that fails, they crashland on Halloween where Peter meets a witch named Madame Esmeralda and gives her a Halloween egg as a gift. When she calls the other Halloween inhabitants, Irontail sends Montresor the Bat out to steal Peter's eggs. After getting the eggs back, Peter tells Antoine they have to get back to Halloween, but they can't go back since Antoine has to land the craft to fix it. After failing to give his eggs away on Thanksgiving, they go to Christmas Eve where Peter, dressed as Santa Claus, tries to sell his Christmas eggs on the streets. But the streets are deserted. Then Peter hears crying from a hat shop nearby and learns it's Bonnie Bonnet from April Valley. Bonnie is sad because nobody wants to buy her at Christmas. So Peter tells the shopkeeper that he'll trade her his Christmas eggs for Bonnie. Unfortunately, Irontail steals them again and Peter and Bonnie go after him, accidentily leaving Antoine behind. During the chase, Irontail crashes into Santa's sleigh where Santa demands to give the eggs back to Peter. Santa returns the eggs, but Peter is too sad to say thank you since they left Antoine behind. Afterwards, Peter and Bonnie land on Valentine's Day where Peter meets a beautiful lady bunny named Donna and Peter gives her a Valentine egg. However, Irontail finds the eggs and casts an evil spell on them, turning them all green, inside and out. Naturally, nobody at the Valentine's party wants them and even Donna gives hers back reluctantly. Peter is ashamed of himself for oversleeping and lying until they land in the middle of St. Patrick's Day where he finally gets to give his green eggs away and wins the contest, becoming the official Chief Easter Bunny, Antoine returns as a butterfly, and Irontail becomes the April Valley janitor while Peter leads an Easter parade with all the characters from the story.
On May 28, 1971, Danny Kaye was the guest on the ABC-TV late night talk program The Dick Cavett Show. It was a ninety-minute salute not only to Kaye's career as a performer but also his work as an ambassador of UNICEF. During the show, Kaye also talked about working on Peter Cottontail and showed some raw footage on how the puppets were made and how the stop motion sequences were put together.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail - Seymour S. Sassafrass
The Easter Bunny Never Sleeps - Colonel Wellington B. Bunny, Chorus
The Easter Bunny Always Sleeps (Irontail's reprise) - Irontail
If I Could Only Get Back to Yesterday - Seymour S. Sassafrass, Chorus
When You Can't Get It All Together, Improvise - Antoine, Peter Cottontail, Chorus
Be Mine Today - Peter Cottontail, Donna, Chorus
In The Puzzle of Life - Seymour S. Sassafrass, Chorus
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (reprise) - Seymour S. Sassafrass, Chorus
Producers/Directors - Arthur Rankin, Jr./Jules Bass
Sound and Effects Recording - Jim Harris/John Boyd
"Animagic" Supervision - Kizo Nagashima
Musical Director - Maury Laws
Home media releases
The special has seen multiple releases in various formats. In 1990, 1992, 1993, 1998, and 2002, it was released on VHS by Family Home Entertainment and Sony Wonder. It has also seen the following releases on DVD:
February 12, 2002 (Sony Wonder)
February 15, 2005 (Sony Wonder)
February 10, 2009 (Genius Products/Vivendi Entertainment)
February 18, 2014 (DreamWorks Animation)
The 2014 release is the first to include the sequel, Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie. To date, no Blu-Ray release has been planned.