Not content with their stranglehold on Christmas programming, doll-mation kingpins RANKIN & BASS followed their usual holiday recipe when they concocted HERE COMES PETER COTTON TAIL:
- One past-his-prime entertainer as the narrator (DANNY KAYE as Seymour Sassafras)
- One flawed protagonist who must overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to save the holiday (CASEY KASSEM as Peter Cottontail) and a coterie of anthropomorphic animals and/or inanimate objects to assist said protagonist in his quest
- One disfigured and/or misunderstood villain who wants to prevent children from enjoying the holiday (VINCENT PRICE as Irontail)
- A quantity-over-quality quota of songs to move the action along
When all the elements come together, R & B can really knock it out of the park with an instant classic like RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER or SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN. As discussed in these very pages before, following the formula doesn’t always ensure fireworks, and R&B delivered a real dud with HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL.
Thankfully, VINCENT PRICE makes the most of a mediocre script as January Q. Irontail, resident bad ass and hindquarter amputee of April Valley. Perpetually embittered after losing his original tail to a child’s roller skate, Irontail mounts a vicious campaign against Peter Cottontail in his bid to be the chief Easter Bunny. Aside from having a metal tail that clanks every time he wiggles it, the sharply dressed Irontail gets around on his trusty bat Montresor, and is best friends with the ghouls that populate Halloween town. Sadly, R&B chose to devote more screen time to the boring Peter Cottontail, his French caterpillar sidekick, and a shrill Easter bonnet named Bonnie.