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 twice in the United Kingdom, first on March 29, 1986 on BBC One, then again on December 13, 1986.

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 (Steve Whitmire) 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 festival preparations, 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. As he is out, he encounters a 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 the story antagonist, but it is revealed that it is his master the farmer (Martin P. Robinson) wants him to get 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 seems 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 bunnies 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 cowers 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 threaten 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...").


  • Producer: Jim Henson
  • Co-Producer: Martin G. Baker
  • Designer: John Bristow
  • Lighting Director: John Wiggins
  • Musical Director: Don Gillis
  • The Muppet Performers: Steve Whitmire, Richard Hunt, Camille Bonora, Ron Mueck, Karen Prell, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Martin P. Robinson, Mike Quinn, David Rudman, Jim Henson
  • The Additional Muppet Performers: Robbie Barnett, Alistair Fullarton, Kevin Bradshaw, Nigel Plaskitt, Simon Buckley, Judy Preece, David Bulbeck, Dave Showler, Richard Coombs, Ian Thom, Geoff Felix, Francis Wright
  • Conceptual Designer: Diane Dawson-Hearn
  • Based On An Idea by: Cheryl Henson
  • Puppet Staging: Richard Hunt and Kevin Clash
  • Puppet Design: Polly Smith, Jane A. Gootnick, Rollin Krewson, Cheryl Henson, JoAnne Green, Edward G. Christie, Jan Rosenthal, Ross Hill, Connie Peterson, Marian Keating, Norman Tempia, Jerry Gum, Will Morrison
  • Creative Advisor: Bonnie Erickson
  • Mechanical Design: Larry Jameson, Leigh Donaldson, Thom Flowers, Fred Buchholz, Tom Newby
  • Associate Producer: David Leonard
  • Production Manager: Christina McMillian
  • Production Assistant: Jenny Doe
  • Assistant To Producers: Jill Colley
  • Cameras: John Pilbald and Chris Eames
  • Engineering Manager: Colin Widgery
  • Video: Dave Jennings
  • Graphics: Peter Wane
  • Video Tape Editor: David Hambelton
  • Audio Supervisors: Barry Hawes and Peter Mann
  • Executive In Charge Of Production: Duncan Kenworthy
  • BBC Producer: Ben Rea
  • Executive Producer: Diana Birkenfield
  • Transportation Furnished by: Pan-American World Airways
  • A Henson Associates, Inc. Production
  • In Association With BBC TV
  • Henson Associates, Inc.

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


Muppet Performers

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.