I first became aware of the story, The Velveteen Rabbit, through coming across seeing a copy of another version of this story on VHS at a now defunct Blockbuster years ago. I hadn't watched that, this, or any other rendition, neither on T.V. nor through renting/buying any of them. I never even read the book. But it wouldn't be until earlier this year, which was after Easter, when I decided to check out Rankin & Bass's retelling of the tale, The First Easter Rabbit, on Youtube. I caught a clip of a second adaptation on the same video site later and I just viewed this one (Hanna-Barbera's) on Youtube earlier this month. I can't say which I like best out of the three for sure (partly considering there is one I still have yet to see in full), but what I have seen of them, I enjoyed them all equally.
What more I've got to say is after some researching and examination of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio's history, this is among some of the animated projects done outstandingly and perfectly in the '80s, after it's slump of most of the '70s T.V. series. I think this is the decade when the animation company gradually (and finally) began picking up quality-wise, especially with the movies and T.V. specials not featuring the already well-established, regular characters like this one, more so than the T.V. series. And they're what I like the most from H-B, as I find them to be the most interesting and when it was really at its best.
As some who may read my review may already know, the basic premise is a boy receives a stuffed rabbit made of velveteen named Velvee for Christmas. The boy soon becomes attached to his new toy, who soon becomes his favorite and is even considered his best friend. Unfortunately, the boy later comes down with scarlet fever and it's advised by a doctor that Velvee and several other toys will have to be destroyed via torching. Velvee is devastated by the fact that this will be the end for him and desires to be a real rabbit. But he is rescued from his horrific fate, thanks to a fairy who grants him his wish to be brought to life. After meeting a couple of real rabbits twice, first as a plush doll, then as a real rabbit himself, Velvee notices the kid looking for him. Unbeknownst to him, the boy finds Velvee as a real rabbit and is allowed to pick him up and pet him briefly before the formerly stuffed rabbit leaves his old home for a new one in the forest.
I'd describe this story, regardless of the version, as bittersweet and enchanting. Although I wonder just how Velvee and the other toys were able to hear each other's thoughts. Other than through telepathy, I guess? But still, just how were they able to gain that ability to communicate that way? Anyway, a well-done ABC Weekend Special as always. I'd say this is for anyone who is into watching things that are more salutary and like their cartoons that way. However, others may find it too boring for them due to lacking any stupidity and gross-out humor, therefore, being unable to appreciate it. For those who are in the former, I'd say it's a recommendation. For those who are in the latter, I'd say to just look elsewhere.
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