This is a list of my top favorite Rabbit Ears stories. For those of you who have not heard of Rabbit Ears before, they were stories made during the mid 80s that uses limited animation and were narrated by famous celebrities such as Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Danny Glover, and Jack Nicholson. The most notable ones would have to be "The Velveteen Rabbit" narrated by Meryl Streep, "Pecos Bill" narrated by Robin Williams, "The Fool and the Flying Ship" narrated by Robin Williams, and "John Henry" narrated by Denzel Washington. Anyway, to learn more about Rabbit Ears, visit the Rabbit Ears website at: http://www.rabbitears.com. Also, come check out my website on Rabbit Ears at: http://www.rabbitearsblog.webs.com and you can become a member of this site if you like.
10) Finn McCoul (1991)
"Finn McCoul" is about Ireland's greatest giant and how he tries to defeat the most ruthless giant of all, Cucullin, along with help from his clever wife Una. "Finn McCoul" has everything that you would expect from a popular folktale: humor, thrills, excitement and romance. I love how Una cleverly makes Cucullin think that Finn's baby (actually Finn in disguise) is stronger than Cucullin himself. Not only is this folktale clever and funny, but it is brilliantly narrated by Catherine O'Hara as she uses an Irish accent to bring out the Irish feel to the story and also has music by the popular Irish band, the Boys of the Lough. "Finn McCoul" is certainly one of the most humorous Irish folktales ever created.
9) The Emperor and the Nightingale (1987)
"The Emperor and the Nightingale" is one of the few folktales mentioned in the Rabbit Ears "Storybook Classics" series that takes place in China and is certainly one of the most moving stories from the Rabbit Ears series yet! "The Emperor and the Nightingales" is a wonderful tale about the importance of respecting true friends, in this case, the Emperor with the nightingale. Glenn Close's tender narration is beautiful and fits perfectly with this tale and Mark Isham's Chinese influenced music is beautiful and is from the true roots of Chinese music. Also, Robert Van Nutt's illustrations are beautiful, especially of the images of the flowers surrounding the Emperor's palace.
8) The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Three Little Pigs (1989)
Everyone knows these two stories, so I won't go into too much detail about them. All I can say is that Holly Hunter's narration is sassy and hilarious, especially when she voices the Big Bad Wolf as a hip character and the troll with a proper yet terrifying accent. Art Lande's music is old fashioned yet modern at the same time, especially when there is a bass sound for the theme of the Big Bad Wolf. David Jorgensen's illustrations are extremely beautiful and detailed and they make these two stories worth looking at.
7) The Fisherman and his Wife (1989)
"The Fisherman and his Wife" is a classic Brothers' Grimm tale about the consequences of greed and is brilliantly narrated by Jodie Foster. Jodie Foster's narration is brooding as if something bad will happen if the Fisherman's wife does not stop wishing for so many wishes. Diana Bryan's illustrations are full of black silhouettes, giving the story an eerie feel to the story and Van Dyke Park's sophiscated music gives the story a proper feeling to the characters. This is probably Rabbit Ears' most intense story yet!
6) The Firebird
In this beautiful retelling of an ancient Russian folktale, a young archer named Ivan sets out on a journey to retrieve the Firebird and a Princess for a greedy Tsar after he finds a feather of a Firebird lying on the ground. Susan Sarandon's narration is tender and timid, giving the story an intense yet tender feeling. Mark Isham's Russian influenced music is wonderful and mysterious at the same time and Robert Van Nutt's illustrations are beautiful and brilliantly recaptures the images of ancient Russia. If you love Russian folktales, then "The Firebird" is for you!
5) Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992)
"Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion" is probably Danny Glover's best performance yet! This tale is about a sassy rabbit named Brer Rabbit who goes up against Boss Lion, the king of the village and the terror of the village. Danny Glover is brilliant in this tale as he narrates with such energy, especially when you can hear him screaming when he voices Boss Lion. Dr. John's blues inspired music is extremely catchy and fun to listen to and fits the story very well and Bill Mayer's exaggerated illustrations are delightful.
4) Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin (1992)
"Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin" is truly a moving story about a young Native American girl who sacrifices her most birthday present to save her village from a drought. Geena Davis beautifully narrates this story with such tenderness that the story is extremely enchanting to listen to. Micheal Hedges' Native American influenced music is beautiful along with Karen Barbour's colorful and beautiful illustrations.
3) Pecos Bill (1988)
"Pecos Bill" is Robin Williams' most memorable performance yet! "Pecos Bill" is mainly about a famous cowboy who was raised by coyotes and eventually becomes the West's greatest cowboy in history when he creates the first cattle drive and even wrestles with a tornado. Robin Williams' narration is a hoot as he wildly narrates this story with a western accent and Ry Cooder's Western styled music brings more creativity to the story. Also, Tim Raglin's illustrations are colorful and detailed especially of Pecos Bill himself who wears a read shirt with white furry pants.
2) John Henry (1992)
"John Henry" is the greatest American folktale ever told and is about a man born with a hammer in his hand who goes up against a steam drill to fight for all the steel drivers. Denzel Washington's narration is fantastic and genuine and Barry Jackson's illustrations are cheerful and beautiful especially of the image of John Henry himself wearing a white shirt with blue jeans. The most memorable part of this story is B.B. King's music which is blues influenced and gives this story an upbeat feel making this one of the most unique stories ever created from the Rabbit Ears series.
1) The Fool and the Flying Ship (1991)
"The Fool and the Flying Ship" is the funniest and most original story out of the whole Rabbit Ears series! I put this as number one because the story is very original and hilarious at the same time! Basically, the story is about a country bumpkin who finds a flying ship after the Tsar of Russia proclaims that whoever builds a flying ship will win the hand of his daughter, the princess. Of course, the fool takes with him five unusual superhumans with him on his journey and when the Tsar sees that the Fool is a peasant, he quickly comes up with three impossible tasks that he can never fulfill. Robin Williams narrates this ancient Russian folktale with energy and humor that you will find yourself laughing all throughout the whole story and the Klezmer Conservatory Band's European style music is raucous and jazzy giving a crazy feel to this story. The most memorable aspect of this story is Henrik Drescher's surreal illustrations, especially of the Fool himself who looks like a demented version of Pinocchio. Anyone who loves Russian folktales or simply love Robin Williams, will definitely get a kick out this!
Well, that's my list for my favorite Rabbit Ears stories. Feel free to comment on this list and tell me your favorite Rabbit Ears stories.