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Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)

Passed  |   |  Animation, Short  |  4 December 1936 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 278 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 critic

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.

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, (uncredited)
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Title: Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)

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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Animation | Short

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Featured in Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas Comes but Once a Year
(uncredited)
Music 'Bob Rothberg' and Sammy Timberg
Lyrics by Tot Seymour
Sung by the Orphans and Professor Grampy, then repeated at the finale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another Christmas classic from Fleischer Studios
27 December 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Both Christmas Comes But Once a Year and 1948's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer have great nostalgic value, and to me still hold up as Christmas classics(as well as classics as cartoons in general) now as a 22-year old. What were especially good in Christmas Comes But Once a Year were the animation and the story. The animation is wonderful and unmistakably Fleischer, not only rich in colour with a real eye for detail and atmosphere but it also looks amazingly real, especially the animation for the inside of the orphanage and the effect of the rotating Christmas tree. The latter was a visual wonder and fairly ahead-of-its-time back then. The characters are cutely drawn too, Grampy comes across quite well in colour. And it is difficult not to like the story too, seeing the children upset over the broken toys was a heart-breaking sight while Grampy's actions are enough to warm up the iciest of hearts, they make for funny stuff and his inventing is quite clever here. It is an adorable story if not quite escaping the inevitable trap of falling into schmaltz and a fun and touching one as well, perfect for Christmas and puts you in a good mood. Grampy- beautifully voiced by Jack Mercer- is a great lead character, he comes across as very kindly and good-humoured and he's also quite lovable. The orphan children are genuinely sweet and not too annoying at all(which is not easy for orphan children in cartoons). The dialogue makes one smile, the pacing is nice and controlled and the music is lusciously orchestrated and lively in tempo. The title song is also irresistible, with a very catchy melody that is easy to sing along to, since viewing the cartoon on Christmas Day I can still sing the song and remember the lyrics. All in all, a Christmas classic that every Fleischer fan should see at least once. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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