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The Tale of the Bunny Picnic first aired on HBO on March 26, 1986 in the U.S, and three days later on the BBC in the UK.

The special was taped in Studio D at England's Elstree Studios, the same studio where The Muppet Show was shot. Filming took place from February 10 to 22, 1986.[1]

When the special originally aired on HBO, it opened with an introduction from Jim Henson walking through a park:

β€œHi there, my name's Jim Henson and I'd like to tell you a little bit about The Bunny Picnic. Now the idea for this started one evening when my daughter Cheryl and I were sitting in a park at twilight. And while we were sitting there a whole big bunch of bunny rabbits came hopping out looking to all the world like they were gonna have a meeting or convention or something. About that time a great big dog showed up on the scene, he saw the rabbits he started barking like mad. The rabbits of course disappeared in a flash. Cheryl and I thought it might be fun to make up a story about what had just happened, and from that notion came 'The Tale of the Bunny Picnic'. And this tale starts with a phrase like many other good stories, "Once upon a time..."”

This one-hour storybook special tells the story of Bean Bunny, who learns that he is worthwhile even though he seems too insignificant to be of much help to anyone. As the story begins, a group of bunnies in a forest meadow make preparations for the annual Bunny Picnic, a special celebration of the first day of spring marked by a visit from the Storyteller Bunny.

Bean wants to help with the preparations, but his older siblings, Lugsy and Twitch, consider him to be a nuisance. When Bean wanders off into the forest, he becomes alarmed when he sees a dog, and goes back to warn the others. But a dog has not been seen in the area for many years, and because Bean has a reputation for daydreaming and pretending, no one in the warren will believe him.

This special was the first appearance of Bean Bunny, who would join the Muppet cast in The Jim Henson Hour, and would take a featured role in Muppet*Vision 3D.


The Tale of the Bunny Picnic was released twice on home video in the US and once in the UK. To date, it has not had a DVD release.

Applause made a set of plush hand puppets based on the Bunny Picnic characters, including Bean Bunny, Twitch, Father Bunny, and Great Grandmother Bunny.

A book based on the special was also published, illustrated by the special's conceptional designer, Diane Dawson Hearn.


TOBP Jim intro

Jim Henson Intro.

Jim Henson & Bean's Family

Jim Henson with Bean & his family.


See also[]