14 user 3 critic

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)

At an orphanage, the children are sad because they received broken toys as gifts. Professor Grampy sees the children while passing by in his sled and has an idea on how to give them a merry Christmas.


, (uncredited)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband's arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them.

Director: Abram Room
Stars: Nikolai Batalov, Lyudmila Semyonova, Leonid Yurenev
Jack Frost (1934)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young grizzly bear, undaunted by his mother's warnings of the coming winter, runs away from home only to be confronted by Old Man Winter himself.

Director: Ub Iwerks
The 3 Rs (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

One-minute short film, used as a trailer for the Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale).

Director: David Lynch
Stars: Mindy Ramaker
Short | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy.

Director: Peter Tscherkassky


Uncredited cast:
Jack Mercer ...
Grampy (voice) (uncredited)
Orphans (voice) (uncredited)


The children at the orphanage are thrilled to wake up and find plenty of new toys on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, all of them break or fall apart within a few seconds. Prof. Grampy, the inventor, passes by in his motorized sled and hears the wailing of the disappointed orphans, which brings him to the door to investigate. When he learns what is wrong, he puts on his thinking cap and quickly comes up with a plan to make everything all right. He sneaks into the kitchen through the window, takes out every pot, pan, plate, spoon, etc., and builds better toys than the kids could have dreamed of. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Short


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Weihnachten gibt's nur einmal im Jahr  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The orphans are all based on the same template except for the baby who tries to reach the toy soldier in his stocking and fails. See more »


Featured in A Hollywood Christmas (1996) See more »


The First Noël
[Sung at the beginning]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Well done, but awfully cutesy.
3 October 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

great 3-D Granoy without BB--and in color

I love Grampy. He was an occasional guest in some of Betty Boop's cartoons and almost all of them were exceptional due to Grampy's wackiness. Here in "Christmas Comes But Once a Year", however, Grampy gets a chance to appear on his own--his one and only chance. And, in another case of an only chance, it's the only chance to see Grampy in color.

The cartoon begins at an orphanage at Christmas. While the kids DID get toys, they all sucked--and seemed like 3rd rate cast-offs. Soon all the toys are broken and the kids are miserable. Fortunately, Grampy is passing by and sees their plight. Using his old thinking cap, he comes up with some ways to make a Christmas for the tykes without spending money. And, not surprisingly, Grampy saves the holiday.

While this film is clever and does features not only Grampy but some AMAZING 3-D graphics, it is also amazingly cute and has no real edge at all---just lots of schmaltz. Because of this, it is watchable but could have been a lot better.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
On DVD redrn
Simply Genius christianirc
Watch Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936) and all Color Classics here brasswindlamp
Discuss Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: