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Western Animation / Peter and the Magic Egg

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Peter and the Magic Egg is a 1983 Easter Special that's a tie-in to the PAAS company's long-successful Easter egg dye kits. Two struggling Pennsylvania Dutch farmers, the Dopplers, adopt Peter Paas, a boy they found in their chicken coop and learn he's not human — rather, he's the son of Mother Nature herself. He and his talking animal friends work to save his adoptive parents' farm from the evil Tobias Tinwhiskers, a local landowner who believes so strongly in the superiority of machinery to human labor that he has had himself transformed into a cyborg and who holds their mortgage. When Tinwhiskers hatches a devious plan that leaves Peter's life hanging by a thread, only the hatching of a magic egg can set things to rights...but what exactly is inside it that can pull off such a miracle?

This Easter special provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Peter Paas and Tobias Tinwhiskers. Also applies to Tinwhiskers' past (and future) identity as Tobias Toot.
  • Animated Musical: The special features various songs sung by the characters.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: It turns out to be simple laughter at a time when everyone is too sad or heartless to so much as smile. What hatches from the magic egg is a clowning, duck-like bird who manages to cheer everyone up; the resulting laughter wakes Peter up from his coma-like sleep and even makes Tobias Tinwhiskers rediscover his human side.
  • Arcadia: The special takes place in a rural area free of troubles that is under threat.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Well, largely a Happy Ending, as Peter wakes up, the Dopplers' farm is safe and Tobias Toot is back among the good guys but everyone must say good-bye to Peter Paas, who must leave in order to help someone else.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end, with all put right on the farm and in the valley, Peter goes away to help someone else.
  • Cyborg: Tobias Toot had himself turned into Tobias Tinwhiskers. Covered from head to toe in metal, he is able to attach a plough to himself and is strong enough to tear down a barn with it until the Easter miracle causes him to re-discover his old self, whereupon the mechanical parts fall off him. The extent to which his body has actually been altered is ambiguous (discussed on the Headscratchers page).
  • Easter Bunny: The Dopplers' farm gets a contract to supply Easter eggs to him, though he's only seen as The Ghost.
  • Egg MacGuffin: Mother Nature gives the animals an egg that will help Peter.
  • Egopolis: Tinwhiskers renames his town Tin Town.
  • The Ghost: Only the Easter Bunny's shadow is seen.
  • Good Parents: Papa and Mama Doppler are full of love to give to their adopted son Peter. Mother Nature, while having fostered him out (for a noble cause), is shown to love Peter dearly too and to be there for him when he needs her, most importantly when she gives the animals the titular egg.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Peter dresses the animals, but none of them gets a full suit of clothes. Cotton the rabbit, for example, gets jeans and sneakers, but no shirt. Feathers the duck gets only a pair of shoes. Lollichop the lamb gets a wreath on her head and a bell around her neck.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The endlessly greedy, heartless Tobias Tinwhiskers is moved by the magic laughter to shed his mechanical modifications, return what he acquired from the poor people in the area and become a laborer for the Dopplers, and be a good friend to those he had been harming.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Tinwhiskers is trying to escape with the magic egg, he ends up falling into the same old well he tricked Peter into falling in. Thanks to his mechanical body, he's able to survive.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Tobias Tinwhiskers jumps around clutching his hurt foot after kicking a wheelbarrow.
  • Karmic Jackpot: The Dopplers adopt a baby who eventually saves their farm.
  • Ludd Was Right: The theme of machines being bad is heavily implied with Tobias Tinwhisker's backstory of transforming himself into a heartless cyborg who buys land from everyone and how he reforms and mends his ways after the magic laughter causes him to become human again.
  • Magic Versus Science: The heroes are a supernatural boy and his talking animal friends. The villain is a man who turned himself into a machine.
  • Man Versus Machine: Tinwhiskers challenges Peter to a ploughing contest, but it's so he can make him fall into a disguised pit.
  • Meaningful Rename: Tobias Toot renames himself Tinwhiskers after turning himself into a cyborg.
  • Merchandise-Driven: This is a one-off animated special promoting PAAS Easter egg dyeing kits.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only 11 characters (four leading animal characters, three humans, Tobias Tinwhiskers, Mother Nature, a talking egg, and a green chicken) that appear in the entire special.
  • Mother Nature: The female personification of nature is Peter's biological mother.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: The son of Mother Nature was adopted by Pennsylvania Dutch farmers.
  • Never Say "Die": After they get Peter out of the well and lay him motionless and unconscious in his bed, Cotton repeats "Is he..." hesitantly, before adding " know, gone?" For that matter, the subsequent dialogue dances around the fact that Peter's comatose.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: At the end, a good-natured clown is effectively what the egg contains, in the form of a duck-like bird. It's so funny that it gets everyone laughing for the first time in ages, and the sound of laughter saves Peter's life.
  • No Song for the Wicked: The special is a musical, but there is no Villain Song for Tobias Tinwhiskers.
  • A Pig Named "Porkchop": An attempt at making it sound cute: Lollichop the lamb.
  • Rapid Aging: For the first year of his life, Peter ages one year every month. Fortunately, he ages normally after that.
  • Redemption Demotion: When Tobias Tinwhiskers turns back into Tobias Toot, the loss of his metal parts presumably means he no longer has superhuman strength. In addition, he voluntarily gives up all his wealth and becomes a laborer for the Dopplers.
  • Saving the Orphanage: Peter was sent to the Dopplers in order to save their farm.
  • Self-Made Man: Tinwhiskers started off as a simple farmer, but after buying a tractor, he began building a fortune and soon owned practically the entire valley.
  • Sweet Sheep: Lollichop the sheep (voiced by Russi Taylor) due to being very soft-spoken and the most kindhearted character of the special.
  • The Storyteller: Uncle Amos tells the supporting characters the story, despite the fact that they were there and should know more than Amos.
  • Talking Animal: The animals talk thanks to magic items given by Peter.
  • Was Once a Man: Tobias Tinwhiskers was once a goodhearted farmer named Tobias Toot, until his wealth caused him to become greedy and his love for his machinery drove him to turn himself into a Cyborg. The magic bird's laughter allows him to regain his humanity and become Tobias Toot again.
  • You No Take Candle: The Dopplers and Tobias Tinwhiskers have rather odd grammar, mentioning prepositions out of order and not using modal verbs. Presumably meant to highlight their Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.