Stranded in the sand of a Florida beach, a noticeably thin Santa Claus (Jay Ripley / Jay Clark) sweats and complains at length in the first moments of 1972 “Santa and bunny with ice cream“until several local children (as well as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) are telepathically summoned for help. The children try to solve Santa’s problem with various animals – a pig, a donkey and a guy in a gorilla costume – but fail to extract his sled from what appears to be an inch of fine sand.
Trying to rally his unpaid help, Santa Claus tells them a story, and according to which version of “Ice Cream Bunny” that you watch (yes, there are two), the viewer is entitled to a feature film, stage version of “Thumbelina”, or a condensed version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Both were previously films directed by the producer of “Ice Cream Bunny” Barry mahon, which was normally priced for adult-only material, while the footage of Tom and Huck was apparently part of an unfinished project.
For the record, “Beanstalk” is a weak tea, loaded with atrocious songs and primitive special effects, while “Thumbelina” is hopelessly weird and features a scene in which the main character is proposed by a humanoid mole.
Back in Florida, Santa Claus exhausts himself telling the story and falls asleep, only to be awakened by the sound of a fire engine, driven by the Ice Cream Bunny. Its relationship to ice cream is never explained, but the creature, its face locked in a toothy perma-leer, gives St. Nick a lift to the North Pole. Christmas is saved! But not your hold on your sanity.