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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Comedy > Holiday > Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies (1977) + The First Easter Rabbit (1976/Warner Bros. DVDs)

Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies (1977) + The First Easter Rabbit (1976/Warner Bros. DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Main Programs: B-/C



The race to have specials for every holiday used to be a major one for all the TV networks and production companies.  In the case of Easter, the Peanuts Easter Beagle special has been the most successful, but others have also tried and two of those programs are now out on DVD from Warner Bros. for the 2010 holiday.  Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies is yet another special where classic Looney Tunes are brought together by new animated sequences, while Rankin Bass’ The First Easter Bunny is hosted by an animated Burl Ives (who used to be TV’s holiday guy) and was never the classic they intended.


Easter Funnies offers the crisis that the real Easter Bunny is too ill to go out and drop off eggs to the children of the world, so one of the longtime actors in the Looney Tunes division of the Warner Bros. Studio will have to substitute, but who?  That gives the makers an excuse to show almost every major character in at least one animated short as Granny and Bugs try to fill the gap in time.  Amusing and a fun flipside for Easter Beagle, this is not bad overall and has been upgraded.


The First Easter Bunny tries to tell us (via Burl Ives) that Santa Claus made the Easter Bunny possible and then Stuffy The Rabbit comes to life and  the evil, cold Zero shows up…  For a show that lasts 25 minutes, the makers try to stuff all kinds of ideas in it, but it never worked and Rankin Bass was always better off with stop-motion animation than the lesser hand-drawn work seen here that has not dated very well.  A curio at best, many today will not understand the context of casting Ives to begin with.  Stan Freberg, Don Messick, Joan Gardner and Paul Frees are among the voice cast.


The 1.33 X 1 image in both cases is colorful, yet soft, but the Bugs Bunny special has superior animation, even in the newer DFE (DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) animation over the Rankin-Bass work.  Best of all, Warner has taken the Bugs Bunny special and replaced the older copies of the classic animation with restored copies, which is very welcome.  Those shorts include:


For Scent-imental Reasons (1949)
Hillbilly Hare (1950)
Rabbit Of Seville (1950)
Bully For Bugs (1953)
Little Boy Boo (1954)
Sahara Hare (1955)
Tweety's Circus (1955)
Birds Anonymous (1957)
Robin Hood Daffy (1958, in HD on The Adventures of Robin Hood Blu-ray)
Knighty Knight Bugs (1958)



The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono is just fine for the age of these shows, sounding pretty good throughout considering the limits of the format.  Extras on both include previews for other Warner animated releases and puzzles for kids to finish, while Funnies adds the classic Looney Tunes short His Hare-Raising Tale.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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