Here Comes Peter Cottontail
is a Stop Motion
puppet animated (called "Animagic") Rankin/Bass Productions
holiday special, the first of the studio's Easter specials, broadcast in 1971. It follows the usual Rankin/Bass formula of taking a holiday standard song like "Peter Cottontail", and weaving around it a narrative, in this case adapted by R/B's favorite writer Romeo Muller from Otto and Priscilla Friedrich's book The Easter Bunny That Overslept
, and adding original songs with music by Maury Laws and lyrics by co-producer Jules Bass. Danny Kaye
serves as the usual R/B Ink-Suit Actor Narrator
, Seymour K. Sassafrass.
- Alliterative Name: Seymour K. Sassafras
- Bad Ass Santa: On Christmas Eve, Santa managed to intercept Iron Tail after he stole Peter's eggs and send them back to Peter.
- Dark Reprise: "The Easter Bunny Never Sleeps" begets "The Easter Bunny Always Sleeps" when Irontail takes over April Valley.
- Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Irontail.
- Distaff Counterpart: Jackie Frost in the sequel is obviously a female Jack Frost.
- Easter Bunny: Of course.
- Freudian Excuse: Irontail wasn't always a nasty bunny. The entire reason he dislikes children at all is that a kid accidentally squished his tail while rollerskating. Why he couldn't just be an adult about it and accept an apology rather than decide to be a dick to all children is up for grabs.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Irontail turns the eggs completely green near the end. Naturally, this comes back to bite him when St. Patrick's Day rolls around.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Danny Kaye as Seymour K. Sassafras
- Loophole Abuse: Peter wins the egg-delivering contest in the end and saves Easter because the rules did not specify that the eggs had to be delivered on Easter. Irontail also got away with it at the beginning: Although he only managed to deliver one egg, that was still one more than Peter delivered.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Peter, for most of the original special. He's intelligent and avuncular, and shows kindness to everyone he meets, even those who nobody else would think about. He also genuinely wants to make up for the mistake he made, and he's clearly cut out for the job of Chief Easter Bunny. However, he's prone to overconfidence and boastfulness, and has a propensity towards fibbing that constantly gets the better of him. His pride, in fact, is the reason why he nearly lost in the first place - if he'd been humble enough to leave nothing to chance and gone to bed early the night before the contest on Easter, he wouldn't have overslept and needed Seymour Sassafras' help to begin with, since he would almost certainly have delivered more eggs than Irontail.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Probably the only reason why Irontail got away with half the stuff he did in the original special.
- Only Six Faces: The humans Peter encounters during his adventure all tend to look alike.
- Pinocchio Nose: Peter's left ear droops whenever he tells a fib.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?