Rabbit Ears Productions was an animation company that was founded by creators Mark Sottnick and Doris Wilhousky in 1985 with their first production, The Velveteen Rabbit, which was narrated by Meryl Streep. The company was located in Palace Production Center in South Norwalk, Connecticut, where they started creating their productions. Rabbit Ears Productions was well known for having celebrity guest stars, such as Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Danny Glover, Jodie Foster, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams narrating the stories, along with famous musicians and illustrators complementing the stories.
Throughout the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, Rabbit Ears Productions had created over 63 titles and four series that composed the titles: Storybook Classics (which consisted of retellings of classic childrens stories), We All Have Tales (which consisted of international tales), American Heroes and Legends (which consisted of stories that involve tall tale heroes and historical figures) and Greatest Stories Ever Told (which consisted of popular Biblical stories).
In the mid-1990s, however, Rabbit Ears had changed hands and the company stopped producing more stories. It wasnt until 2000, when Chris Campbell, one of the companys original partners, bought the rights to the company and, along with Mark Sottnick and Doris Wilhousky, restored the company and renamed it Rabbit Ears Entertainment, LLC. Rabbit Ears Entertainment, LLC is now re-releasing former stories on DVD and audio books and are planning on creating new titles, the first being "Tom Thumb", narrated by John Cleese in 2008.
The companys website can be found here.
Stories Created by Rabbit Ears Productions
- The Velveteen Rabbit (1985), narrated by Meryl Streep
- The Elephant's Child (1986), narrated by Jack Nicholson
- The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1986), narrated by Jeremy Irons
- The Emperor and the Nightingale (1987), narrated by Glenn Close
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1988), narrated by Glenn Close
- Pecos Bill (1988), narrated by Robin Williams
- The Tailor of Gloucester, (1988) narrated by Meryl Streep
- The Fool and the Flying Ship (1991), narrated by Robin Williams
- The Boy Who Drew Cats (1991), narrated by William Hurt
- Anansi (1991), narrated by Denzel Washington
- East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1991), narrated by Max von Sydow
- Jack and the Beanstalk (1991), narrated by Michael Palin
- Rumpelstiltskin (1991), narrated by Kathleen Turner
- Finn McCoul (1991), narrated by Catherine O'Hara
- John Henry (1992), narrated by Denzel Washington
- Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992), narrated by Danny Glover
- Follow the Drinking Gourd (1992), narrated by Morgan Freeman
- Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin (1992), narrated by Geena Davis
- Mose the Fireman (1993), narrated by Michael Keaton
- The Song of Sacajawea (1993), narrated by Laura Dern
- The Talking Eggs (1994), narrated by Sissy Spacek
This company and its works contain examples of:
- All-Star Cast: All the stories were narrated by well-known Hollywood actors and actresses including, Danny Glover, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons and Robin Williams.
- Christmas Special: "A Gingerbread Christmas", "The Night Before Christmas" and "The Lion and the Lamb."
- Darker and Edgier: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Boy Who Drew Cats" are considered Rabbit Ears darkest stories in the entire series. The Bible stories from "Greatest Stories Ever Told" are more serious in tone than the majority of the other stories.
- Deranged Animation: Due to the art styles of these stories, "The Fool and the Flying Ship", "The Bremen Town Musicians" and to a lesser extent, "Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby", are considered this.
- Fairy Tale: Many stories are this way including "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp", "The Firebird", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "Puss in Boots".
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The death of the Rat Demon in "The Boy Who Drew Cats".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Since many of these stories are a bit more faithful to the original works, these tend to pop up occasionally, such as in "Pecos Bill" when Bill was shown naked.
- Halloween Special: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".
- Lighter and Softer: Both "Pecos Bill" and "The Fool and the Flying Ship" were lighter and softer than their original stories. In "Pecos Bill", the mood was much more cheerful and in the end, Slue-Foot Sue doesn't get knocked to the moon by Widowmaker. Pecos Bill does end up being hauled to the sky by the tornado in the end, though. In "The Fool and the Flying Ship", the more intense parts are either removed or changed such as in the end the Puffer brings in an army of penguins instead of a real army to the Tsar's palace.
- Limited Animation: The Company uses iconographic animation for their stories.
- The Movie: Keeping the Promise
- Precision F-Strike: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Jonah and the Whale" uttered the word "hell", while "Pinocchio" and "Joseph and his Brothers" uttered the word "ass" or "jackass".
- Religious Edutainment: "The Greatest Stories Ever Told" series
- Russian Literature: "The Fool and the Flying Ship" and "The Firebird" are folktales that originated from Russia.
- Something Completely Different: "The Lion and the Lamb" is the only fully animated story created from this series.
- Spin-Off: The We All Have Tales series was a spin-off from the Storybook Classics series, while the The Greatest Stories Ever Told series was a spin off from the We All Have Tales series and the American Heroes and Legends series was a spin off from the Greatest Stories Ever Told series.