18 user 2 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)




Uncredited cast:
... 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:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This cartoon used a process called the Stereoptical Camera or Setback created in 1934 as a variation on the multiplane camera. Three-dimensional sets were created so that animation cels could be placed in a realistic background allowing the characters to move about an actual miniature stage. The scenes were shot with a horizontal camera and the set was rotated on a turntable for background motion. The opening shot of the orphanage and the final shot of the umbrella tree were completed using this process. See more »


Edited into Santa's Magic Book (1996) See more »


The First Noël
[Sung at the beginning]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great short!
28 November 2012 | by See all my reviews

This is a 9 min shorts, did not get time to watch a whole movie yesterday,

This was about kids waking up in an orphanage and the toy have after playing with for few seconds all the toys start breaking, Leavings kids crying there eyes out

As then Grampy who going by then try to cheer them up, buy using every day item in toys.

This was really good short, there really creative what made with every day items,

the animations was not bad all, for very early Cartoon. I thought it might feel bit out dated now , it feel aged well, even kids today should enjoyed this.

Great short for kids and Adults and tune will stuck in my head all day. 8 out of 10

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