The First Easter Rabbit Day Thread Lives at the North Pole for Some Reason

The First Easter Rabbit is a Rankin/Bass holiday special that originally aired on NBC in 1976. It tells the tale of Stuffy, a stuffed rabbit belonging to a little girl who gets sick with Scarlett fever, resulting in his mother having to burn him and all of her other toys. Fortunately, a fairy shows up just before Stuffy is set to be cooked the next morning and grants him the gift of life, because “they have chosen him” (who is “they”?) to be the first Easter Rabbit. This happens two weeks before Easter. Stuffy is instructed by the fairy to go to the North Pole, which is the location of Easter Valley. Easter Valley is where it is always springtime thanks to a magical Easter lily. And again, it’s located at the North Pole. Stuffy joins some con artist bunnies who help him go to THE NORTH POLE, which is where FUCKING EASTER VALLEY is located. BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE!

Even the marketing makes this look like a Christmas special…

Anyway, the fairy also warns Stuffy to “beware of Zero”, which confuses him, since he has no idea who Zero is. Zero turns out to be one of the villains from those old Cap’n Crunch commercials, and it’s his job to make sure all of the North Pole stays nice and cold for Santa. However, Easter Valley is a sore spot, because IT HAS NO REASON TO BE LOCATED IN THE FUCKING NORTH POLE, and Zero wants to steal the magical Easter lily so it will snow there and set nature straight or something.

Gandalf has seen better days…

By the way, Santa Claus is in this. When Stuffy and his con artist bunny pals find Easter Valley IN THE GOD DAMN NORTH POLE, BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T IT BE THERE, they find Santa waiting for them and eager to help. Except that he then immediately says “I must be off” and then he leaves and doesn’t do jack shit for them. Stupid lazy Santa.

Note: Stuffy at no point in this special tries to save the Easter lily. That matter is resolved entirely without him doing anything.

As you’ve probably gathered, The First Easter Rabbit is all over the fucking place as far as its narrative goes, and at 24 minutes, it moves so quickly that it kind of had me a little lost when I watched it as a kid. I still liked it, but even back then, I was wondering why it essentially felt like a Christmas special more than anything, and The Velveteen Rabbit references made me sad, because that story depressed the hell out of me when I was younger.

There are plenty of Rankin/Bass veterans in the voice cast. Burl Ives voices–SPOILER ALERT–the elder Stuffy who serves as the narrator, and he of course was Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Robert Morse is Stuffy, and he lent his voice to the titular Jack Frost as well as a young Scrooge in The Stingiest Man in Town. Dina Lynn is Stuffy’s sweet little girl who was also heard as another sweet little girl in the not-at-all-awkwardly-titled The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. And Paul Frees is Santa and Zero here, and he was in…far too many Rankin/Bass specials to count!

Merry Easter!

One sincere regret I have regarding The Avocado is doing an article a few years ago on another Rankin/Bass holiday tale–Cricket on the Hearth–and being overly harsh on it. So I won’t call this “bad” or anything like that. It’s Rankin/Bass, so of course it has its charms. That being said, there is a reason this title has more or less fallen into obscurity.

You can check out The First Easter Rabbit for yourself below if you want to (I haven’t even mentioned the “Easter Parade” part where a bunch of women wear live exotic birds as bonnets and no one says anything about it). Have a merry day, y’all!