|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.