It’s hard to believe the way that Television ignores the Easter holiday these days. Mostly because back in the 70’s and 80’s, there were all sorts of Easter specials every year! But something changed and most of those specials have disapeared, only living on DVD or people’s memories. But I am not here to get into a pseudo phislophical rant on why that is. Instead, let’s talk about the Easter specials which I loved and still love.
Ok so lot’s of them were weird or boring. Yogi Bear? Never seen it but Ok. Family Circus? No thanks the Christmas one bored me. Fat Albert? Before my time. Bugs Bunny? These specials are always just repackaged clip shows. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Yeah, right. But let’s be fair, these specials may have been corny but compared to what we have today they are gold! There were variety specials also, I know Bob Hope did at least one! And Walt Disney World had an Easter parade on Easter Sunday for years which has mysteriously faded away.
So today I thought it would be fun to look at five Easter specials, some old and others not, which I still enjoy every year. They are not on TV anymore (well, except one which we will get to) but I still watch them and remember fond memories when celebrating Easter was ok.
#5.The Easter Bunny is Comin to Town
Who doesn’t love Rankin/Bass? Ok, Doug Walker doesn’t but I think that’s because he focuses more on the stop motion than then story. The stories and charactes are what keep us coming back. This was the Easter version of the classic Santa Claus is Comin to Town. It is told by the same narrator, but this story has a few problems. In Santa, Kris Kringle is delivering toys every chance he gets so the majority of the special takes place in a confined time, maybe a matter of weeks, until the last ten minutes. Here, the events only happen on Easter Sunday which means this special spans years of time. Even worst, there just isn’t as much to discuss with Easter and the creators literally give up. The last fifteen minutes is a long and boring filler piece with the Little Engine That Could. But gripes aside, it’s still a good special with some very charming moments and worth a watch if you can find it.
#4.Winnie The Pooh:Springtime with Roo
This is not very old and was diect to DVD originally but it is worth a watch around Easter. Ever wonder what would happen if you took A Christmas Carol and combined it with an episode of The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh? Well here you go! The nice thing is that while this is a Christmas Carol knock off they keep it in the the Winnie The Pooh spirit. For instance, the narrator basically does the role of all three ghosts which keeps it from being silly. And it’s not a total knock off the story elements are very subtle. The plot finds Rabbit pissed because the last year his friends had fun without him and his need to control. Why did he wait a WHOLE YEAR to get this out in the open? Because the plot needed it that way I guess.And then Tigger has to force it out of him here! Rabbit was a jerk but here he crosses into plain passive aggressive. But he then realizes that his anal ways will drive his friends away and….you get the idea. It’s a decent movie and is full of Easter spirit. So, if the story is focused on Rabbit and Easter why is it called Springtime with Roo? Ummmm….anyone want to take this one?
#3.Everybody Loves Raymond, “The Canister”
Ok, Ok…this is cheating. This is a sitcom episode and I am very sure it was never intended to be an “Easter special”. Screw it, I treat it like that anyway. Why? Because this is one of the most Easter centered episodes of any show. And considering how many Christmas episodes are out there, it’s nice to see ONE Easter episode. Ok, the plot involves Debra trying to return a cannister without Marie noticing because Debra already told Marie she had returned it. Yeah it’s broad comedy but it’s funny and well written comedy. I watch this episode every year at Easter.
#2.Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Rankin/Bass had two more Easter specials. One was called The First Easter Bunny and was reaalllly bad. But this one is good! It has problems but it’s a lot of fun to watch. Danny Kaye is our narrator (and three other characters) while Casey Kasem plays Peter. The plot makes no sense, I will admit. In a contest to be Easter Bunny Peter is supposed to deliver all the eggs on Easter Sunday but oversleeps, letting the villain Iron Tail win the contest. Peter is shunned, until he runs into a man with a time machine. He gives Peter a chance to go back and deliver the eggs all over. This makes sense, but then the story kind of goes wacky. He goes forward, hitting various major holidays. Of course no one wants the eggs and Iron Tail is out to sabotage him. How does that make sense if he is going forward and not backward? I don’t know but it doesn’t matter. I won’t spoil the ending (I actually thought it was clever) but the special is a lot of fun. It makes no sense and sometimes Danny Kaye can get on your nerves, but at the same time it is nice to see all the holidays that Peter visits. And Vincent Price plays Irontail which good enough for me to watch! By the way be sure to avoid the attrociously bad sequel movie that came out a few years ago.
#1.It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown!
Duh. The one and only Easter special that can still be seen on TV. And why not? It’s fantastic!! This may be one of my favorite Charlie Brown specials of all time. The story is simple. Ok, recycled is probably a better word. I mean, The Easter Beagle? Even Sally isn’t buying that after the whole Great Pumpkin fiasco. But the characters are all good here, even Peppermint Patty who gets somes real laughs while she struggles to teach Marcie how to color eggs. I guess I do have one complaint, and I can sum it up in one word. FILLER! There are at least two boring scenes of just music while characters dance. And it’s SO BORING! But hey, unlike the Thanksgiving special the story is pretty good and makes up for those slower times. It’s also nice to see a happy ending, well except for good ole Charlie Brown of course. That kid can never catch a break! There isn’t much else to say, one of the best Peanuts specials and is a MUCH WATCH every year.
Thank the lord for DVD’s so that we can still enjoy our favorite holiday specials that the TV execs are too afraid to show. So, Happy Easter to those who celebrate!!!