Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Danny Kaye: The Saturday Morning Cartoon Series?

Kaye's work on Here Comes Peter Cottontail nearly led to his own animated TV series.

In the early 1970s, Danny almost hosted his own animated TV series. Almost.

A Saturday morning cartoon series focused on a classic movie comedian was nothing new. Hanna-Barbera produced a collection of Laurel and Hardy cartoons in 1966-1967, and an Abbott & Costello series in 1967-1968. In 1966, Filmation made an unsold pilot of a Marx Brothers cartoon series and a few years later produced Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down.

By this time in his career, Kaye was amenable to the idea of appearing in cartoons, but not the slapdash, limited-animation of Filmation. He preferred the slightly more refined look of TV specials like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones) and the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Rankin-Bass). Unable to get his own Dr. Seuss show sold in the 1960s, Kaye finally agreed to Rankin-Bass’s offer of $12,500 to host Here Comes Peter Cottontail.

They were so happy with the Easter special, they began pitching a weekly animated series, starring Danny as the narrator, Hans Christian Andersen. The first season was to feature the likes of Rip Van Winkle, Rumplestiltskin, Treasure Island, Raggedy Ann, Jack Frost, Heidi’s Christmas, A Hans Christian Andersen Christmas, Gilbert & Sullivan, Marco Polo, Punch and Judy, Puss ’n Boots, The Road to Oz, The Little Juggler, Johnny Appleseed, World of Toys, and Marco Polo.

ABC was in, at least for the pilot, but demanded it be something intrinisically Andersen. So The Emperor’s New Clothes became the subject of the first episode of The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye. Unfortunately, due to its cost and moderate reception, it would be the final episode, as well.


  1. "Peter Cottontail" was playing on television around Thanksgiving time last year. I remember watching it on a snowy day.. I thought that I would find it corny or something only kids could appreciate,
    but... I loved it ! It was great to hear Danny's voice, and he was so creative, playing 2-3 different characters with different accents and tonal styles. He was GREAT in that animated role. The animation showing his red hair was hilarious!
    Is the "Enchanted World of Danny Kaye" online anywhere (with the Emperor's New Clothes episode)?
    --> "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" is online on YouTube (the whole show! - 50 minutes):

  2. I haven't seen it on YouTube, but you can certainly pick up a cheap copy on Amazon!

  3. Thanks ! I ordered it. :)

    There are still more copies on Amazon from various sellers.
    However, this on VHS cassette, not on DVD. So those of us
    who still have VCRs (a good technology) can play these items..

  4. Another opportunity lost, really, to keep Danny relevant to another generation. Too bad, but at least the idea was there! Thanks for the great information!

  5. I think this would have been a winner!

  6. Ooh look what I found :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjyYiaSvJaQ

  7. Ooh look what I found :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjyYiaSvJaQ