Regular readers will know I have a fondness for retro cartoons and children’s specials. Back “then” (we won’t say when!!) we didn’t have 24/7 kids programming – just PBS in the mornings and if we were lucky, a holiday special on in the evening. I get crazy nostalgic when I get to watch them again as an adult – my kids? Not so much. I guess that animation and claymation has improved just a little bit in 30+ years!
The original Peter Cottontail Easter special was produced by the same team that did the other well known and loved claymation holiday specials in the 60’s and 70’s. Shows like Frosty the Snowman, Year Without a Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Peter Cottontail is the story of how Peter had to overcome many obstacles to become the Chief Easter Bunny, including vanquishing his nemesis Irontail in a Easter egg delivery contest. The story is set in the super-cute “April Valley” where all the Easter bunnies live and work. Here is where they color eggs, make Easter bonnets, and have a whole team of bunnies dedicated to carving chocolate, the two most famous are “Leonardo de Bittersweet” and “Milk Chocolate-Angelo”.
Confusingly, the Peter Cottontail story – AKA, Peter Rabbit – is not the same Peter Rabbit as in the 1902 Beatrix Potter book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. This Peter Rabbit is from Thornton Burgess’ “Old Mother West Wind” book series. Peter Rabbit changes his name to Peter Cottontail because it made him sound more important. *Snicker* But even more confusingly, this stop-motion television special from 1971 bears little to no resemblance to the story on which it is based. I guess there’s a lot of room in this world for bunnies named Peter!