That's right. Vincent Price.
Known for his frightening voice and looming stage presence, Vincent Leonard Price Jr. has contributed to at least two major Easter past times, for which he receives little praise. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, educated at Yale, discovered in 1938 and dead in 1993 from smoking too much, Vincent Price did everything from acting, writing, speaking, and teaching the art of fine gourmet from around the world. Of all of his major film contributions (such as House of Wax, The Fly, House on Haunted Hill), two stand out as lasting contributions to the Easter Holiday.
The Ten Commandments (1956)
|(Right to Left) Lillian, Baka, Dathon.|
Vincent Price plays Baka as insidiously as his character demands. Lecherous and excessive, the role of Baka was perfect for Price. Despite the film's Academy Award, very few of my generation who bother with such classics are actually aware that Price was even in it. Vincent Price deserves credit for his short life and death in The Ten Commandments, and his contribution to a non-secular Easter tradition.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
A Bass/Rankin (Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Christmas in July) clay-mation special, Peter Cottontail is a family favorite around this time of the year. It tells the tale of a young Easter Bunny in training, Peter Cottontail, who must defeat a rival bunny, January Q. Irontail, in delivering the most Easter eggs. Irontail is a rotten, mean bunny whose name is derived from a clanking, horrific, top-of-the-line iron replacement prosthetic tail. Irontail's motivation is that in defeating Peter, he will be made the official Easter Bunny, after which he will effectively dismantle the holiday and turn it into some disgusting villain's clichéd anti-holiday. Of course, Irontail cheats, and succeeds in delivering the most eggs (just one). Peter has go back in time with his French caterpillar friend and try to give them to people throughout the year. To make matters worse, Irontail uses magic to turn all of Peter's eggs green, making his task virtually impossible. Of course, Peter prevails against his adversary and takes back Easter for the secular middle class.
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...He even looks like Vincent Price
Even as a child, I was a huge Price fan. His death in 1993, though vaguely remembered, came as something of a shock to my small mind. This year, while the secular and non-secular alike keep Easter their own ways, I will keep Easter the Nerd way, by poking my nose down a rabbit hole for a green Easter egg and toasting Pharaoh's new treasure city with a handful of Jelly-Belly's.