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An animated short produced by Fleischer Studios and released on December 4, 1936.
You are viewing actual film in this video, with all it's wonderful imperfections, however, I highly recommend getting the DVD boxed set called "Max Fleischer's Color Classics: Somewhere in Dreamland"
The short begins in an orphanage, where the orphans are all asleep, awaiting Christmas morning. Just then, the puppy from the clock slides down a ramp and licks on one of the orphans. The first orphan shouts, "Merry Christmas, everybody!" And all the orphans jump out of bed and head to the hall, singing the title song. They grab the toys from their stockings, and get ready to play with them. However, they are sad to discover that the toys are completely broken and fall apart when they are played with. The orphans can't help but cry.
Meanwhile, Professor Grampy is out riding through the snow in his motor-driven sleigh, singing the title song himself. He hears the orphans crying from inside the orphanage, and he parks the sleigh, runs to the door, peeps through the window, and tries to think of a way to give the orphans a better Christmas. He puts on his thinking cap, and shortly, the lightbulb on the cap blinks. Apparently, he has an idea. He climbs through the window and starts making new toys out of household appliances.
Finally, he dresses up as Santa Claus (with a stove pipes as the boots, a red cloth as the jacket, a pillow for the weight, and potholders as the hat), grabs a dinner bell, and surprises the orphans by ringing the bell and shouting, "Merry Christmas, everybody!" The orphans all rush out to greet him and to play with their new toys. Grampy completes the scene by making a Christmas tree out of umbrellas. At the end, they sing the title song one last time, and a giant stamp appears, showing Santa Claus and a "Holiday Greetings" message.
The babies were all animated based on a template of one of the babies whose toy soldier falls through the sock. Directed by Dave Fleischer, the animated short starred Jack Mercer as the voice of Grampy from Betty Boop fame. Along with many of the other Color Classics, Christmas Comes But Once a Year is today in the public domain. The film was animated by Fleischer Studios and released on December 4, 1936. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures. This film is public domain.
Fleischer Studios, Inc. was an American corporation which originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 as Inkwell Studios (or Out of the Inkwell Films) by brothers Max Fleischer and Dave Fleischer who ran the company from its inception until Paramount Pictures, the studio's parent company and the distributor of its films, forced them to resign in April 1942. In its prime, it was the most significant competitor to Walt Disney Productions, and is notable for bringing to the screen cartoons featuring Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Bimbo, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman. Unlike other studios, whose most famous characters were anthropomorphic animals, the Fleischers' most popular characters were humans.
The company had its start when Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope, which allowed for extremely lifelike animation. Using this device, the Fleischer brothers got a contract with Bray Studio in 1919 to produce their own series called Out of the Inkwell, which featured their first characters, the as yet unnamed Koko the Clown, and Fitz the Dog, who would evolve into Bimbo in 1930. Out of the Inkwell became a very successful series. As the Bray theatrical operation started to diminish, the brothers began their own studio in 1921. Dave served as the director and supervised the studio's production, while Max served as the producer. The company was known as Out of the Inkwell Films, Incorporated, and later became Fleischer Studios in January, 1929.
Throughout the 1920s, Fleischer was one of the top producers of animation, with clever humor and numerous innovations including the Rotograph, an early photographic process for composing animation with live action backgrounds. Other innovations included Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes, sing-along shorts (featuring the famous "bouncing ball"), which were a sort of precursor to Karaoke.
* This film is available in compilations on DVD! *
"Max Fleischer's Color Classics: Somewhere in Dreamland" at