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The Tale Of The Bunny Picnic
Directed by Jim Henson
David G. Hillier
Produced by Jim Henson
Written by Jocelyn Stevenson
Starring Steve Whitmire
Music by Philip Balsam
Distributed by BBC / Jim Henson Home Entertainment
Release date(s) 1986
Country U.K. /U.S.A.
Language English

The Tale Of The Bunny Picnic is a 1986 TV special directed by Jim Henson and David G. Hillier. In the United States it was shown annually on HBO in the spring, usually during Easter time. It was later released on VHS in 1993. The film focuses on the Muppet character Bean Bunny (Steve Whitmire), who makes his first appearance in this special, and would later appear on additional projects featuring Jim Henson's Muppets. It was screened only once in the United Kingdom, at Easter 1987 on the BBC 2 network, and has nor been repeated since.

When the special originally aired on HBO, it opened with a live-action introduction that showed Jim Henson walking through a park. In the introduction, he explains the inspiration for the story. In a park one day, he saw a large gathering of bunnies and had the thought that it looked like a bunny picnic. All of a sudden, a dog came running up and the bunnies scattered. This incident led to the creation of the television special. This introduction was not included in either of the VHS releases.

The story is actually told by an elderly Bean Bunny to the younger bunny children. The story opens with a community of Muppet Bunnies celebrating their annual Bunny Picnic. Bean wishes he could help in the preparations for the festival, but he is told by his older brother Lugsy (Richard Hunt) that he is too small and will only get in the way. Feeling very disappointed, Bean wanders off alone and imagines himself as the king of the bunny community. "Long live the king!" shout the bunnies in Bean's daydream. As he is out he encounters a wicked farmer's dog (Jim Henson). Bean runs away and eludes the dog and warns the village, but none of the other bunnies believe him. They conclude that there is no dog and that Bean is simply making up the story for attention. The bunnies soon discover that the dog is indeed real and out to get them. At first, it seems that the farmer's dog is a villain in the story, but it is revealed that it is his master the farmer (who is allergic to bunnies) that wants him to destroy the bunnies. The dog is only trying to protect himself from the wrath of the farmer by hunting the bunnies.

After much debating and futile attempts to rid themselves of the farmer's dog, the bunnies finally listen to Bean, who claims to have a solution to their problem. Inspired a by a story about a giant hedgehog, they all hide inside of a giant bunny costume to frighten the dog. The dog, being threatened by the farmer to catch the rabbits or starve, sets out to pursue the bunnies. When he enters their village he is confronted by the "giant bunny". The dog is frightened and begs for mercy, which the giant bunny grants to him:

Because those who hurt others, hurt themselves!.

However, Bean goes into convulsions upon being told of the farmer's intent to stew any captured rabbits, and his spasms cause the costume to fall apart, revealing the bunny tribe to the dog. The dog is now infuriated by this deception, but before he is able to attack the bunnies the farmer appears. The dog balks as his angry master approaches. The bunnies, feeling sympathy for the obviously petrified dog, decide to forgive the dog and help him against the vicious farmer. They run at the farmer singing an empowering song. The farmer, with his allergy to bunnies acting up, begins sneezing uncontrollably and runs off never to return to the bunnies' village again. The bunnies then welcome the dog into their village.

The film then goes back to the elderly Bean who finishes telling the story to the young bunnies (one of whom refers to him as "Grandpa Bean"). The dog, by now aged as well, is with him as he does. The film ends with the bunnies singing the special's theme song ("Hello sunshine. Hello birds of a wing...").

Animals featured

  • Bunny (Bean, Lugsy, Twitch, etc.)
  • Dog (The Dog)
  • Butterfly
  • Bird
  • Duck
  • Human (The Farmer)
  • Chicken (seen at the farm)
  • Snail (told the dog a secret)
  • Frog (seen at the Bunny Picnic)
  • Turtle (seen at the Bunny Picnic and as Father Bunny's new hat)
  • Hedgehog (seen at the Bunny Picnic rolling into a ball of fear, also one of the Storyteller's puppets)
  • Fox (one of the Storyteller's puppet)
  • Owl (nighttime scene)
  • Dragonfly

External links



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