Friday, April 22, 2022

Power Rankings: Episode 10-1: The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town

This week, let's rank the top players in the 1977 Rankin-Bass special The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town, the subject of our season opener this week.  As much as I enjoy the program, it's not rich in vivid characters, in my opinion, so we will limit it to the top 5. Remember, this is based on if these characters competed on a grass field in Lincoln, Nebraska.

1) S.D. Kluger: We rave about Fred Astaire's performance in the podcast, and can you blame us? Kluger steals the show by not only narrating, but performing the best songs AND providing a baffling but fun conundrum by being the only one in Kidtown who (we know) ages.

2) Gadzooks: He starts as a cliched beast in the wild but reveals glimpses of his potential when he gets the classy Easter threads. The romantic subplot with him is discarded, and Gadzooks is underutilized, but I don't blame him for the creative decisions to focus on more Easter-y elements of the story.

3) Sunny: Despite my hang-up about his name, I do appreciate what the bunny himself brings to this special. Some of his quirks are a little bizarre, but his "how to eat an egg" scene tops anything in screen history outside Cool Hand Luke. And of course Over Easy.

4) Chugs: Talk about "can-do" spirit! His inspiring grit and determination makes a perfect combination with Kluger's smooth motivational singing. Chugs is a reminder that the special isn't all jellybeans and hard-boiled eggs. It's about ganas--desire!

5) Burl Ives: Yes, Burl Ives, who isn't a "character" in The Easter Bunny, nor even a performer in it. He still looms large over the whole special. There is his previous performance as Sam the Snowman that makes us yearn for a team-up with Kluger. Also, his underrated turn in The First Easter Rabbit is a key link from that Rankin-Bass effort to this more ambitious Animagic production. "There's That Rabbit" and Ives might have made this an all-time classic.

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