This 50-minute compilation cartoon was originally released in 1977 as a TV special, running 50 minutes. Granny tries to enlist Bugs Bunny as a substitute Easter rabbit when the original is sick. But Bugs is filming a picture, so she has to work to convince him to take the Easter Bunny job, while Daffy wants it and auditions for it.
The scenes from the movie they’re “filming” are excerpts from other cartoons. Bugs wears Daisy Mae drag for a hillbilly square dance, for example, or winds up in the middle of a bullfight, or is part of a Yosemite Sam cartoon where Sam’s pet dragon keeps sneezing, which burns Sam’s butt. I have no idea why these particular sequences were chosen, since by subject they seem pretty random. They certainly don’t have anything to do with the holiday.
After that, other stars are considered for the Easter Rabbit role, allowing the inclusion of a couple of Sylvester and Tweety animation bits, some Foghorn Leghorn, and a Pepe Le Pew cartoon. The classic “Rabbit of Seville” has a clip, as does “Robin Hood Daffy” (with the immortal quarterstaff sequence).
The more modern animation looks of the time, simpler lines and jerkier movements (taking more shortcuts) than the older cartoons. At its worst, it’s flat and off-model, although my favorite part of the newer material is the set of ridiculous costumes Daffy dons, especially when he’s a walking Easter egg. And other characters than Bugs get the punchlines, showing how he’d gone from a trickster character to a “star” to protect. The older cartoon clips are much funnier to watch, and better done.
The special features are minimal. There’s another cartoon, the 1950 “His Hare Raising Tale“, in which Bugs tells a nephew about when he was a baseball pitcher, a vaudeville star, a boxer, and a jet pilot. Like the main movie, this cartoon was assembled from others, reusing previous footage through the storytelling gimmick. It doesn’t appear to have been restored, so it’s dark, with speckles and scratches visible.
When I saw the package, I couldn’t figure out why another cartoon was the bonus, but this was a very nice choice. I like the baby bunny; he’s not as smart-alecky as the later Buster, although he does take Bugs to task (and he’s very cute when he’s grumpy). There’s also a ridiculously simple puzzle game that was frustratingly slow to react on my (admittedly older) player. I found myself mashing the controls multiple times to have my action register. At first, I thought it was defective, and a kid wouldn’t have my patience, I’m guessing.
The package makes a nice holiday gift (although I could have been much more timely in pointing that out), although anyone who cares about the cartoons as more than a kid-occupying time-waster will want one of the complete collections instead. (The studio provided a review copy.)