Saturday, December 20, 2014

CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR - The Fleischer Brothers (1936)

It's time for the Saturday Night Yuletide Special down in The Dungeon, and the classic Max Fleischer cartoon from 1936, "Christmas Comes But Once A Year!" Classic cartoons like this are addictive, and once you get started, it's hard to stop, and why would you even want to?

I will never cease to be amazed that these Fleischer cartoons only have credits for 6 people. Producer Max Fleischer would make seven! The voices of Jack Mercer and Mae Questel would make nine! Brother Lou Fleischer as music supervisor would round it all to a very cool 10 people!

It's a cold and lonely Christmas night at the orphanage!

Even the Christmas tree is pathetic!

But the misery and despair is lost on the orphan kids who have learned to make the best of the worst type of situations!

When the poor kids get their toys, they're overjoyed at first, and then almost immediately all the cheap junk falls apart, and the joy of Christmas is over before it even got started!

All together now, "WAAHHH!"

Lucky for these kids, Professor Grampy the Inventor just happens to be passing by on his homemade sleigh and hears the collective crying!

Grampy gets a BIG idea!!

Grampy crawls through a window, and gathers up everything he can get his hands on, and proceeds to go to work creating toy after toy out of a bunch of junk! Grampy is a genuine genius!

He makes a toy train out a French press and some dinnerware!

This popcorn stringing thing made out of a sewing machine and a hot plate is beyond brilliant!

Grampy decks the halls with those strings of popcorn!

Then he puts himself together a Santa Claus outfit utilizing some stove pipes and a red and white tablecloth!

Grampy dumps a real big box of cotton on the stairwell to create a ski run!

Then he paints a snowy Winter mural on the wall to complete the effect!

The last step is to take a bunch of umbrellas, and stuff them all into each other so that when you open them all up, they fan out like one big Christmas tree, and then place the tree on a portable record player on low speed so that it rotates to reflect the light!

That Grampy is some kind of Rube Goldberg, and although nobody has ever come out and said it, he's so incredibly talented, I have no doubt that Grampy's last name is Fleischer too!!!!

For the closing seconds of this last scene, it changes from a flat animated cartoon to a fully realized live scene! Max, Dave, and Lou, what a trio! Life would have been so boring without them! "Christmas Comes But Once A Year," and a whole bunch of other holiday treats can be viewed for free on Youtube at Xmas Flicks.com! 
Ho, Ho, Ho!

5 comments:

Dr. Theda said...

We found this cartoon the other day on you tube and posted it... had not seen it since childhood (watching old cartoons on TV before school) the "train set" was the one thing that had stuck in my mind since way back then...
a good post...

Ben Faltinowski said...

I think the pathetic Christmas tree, the terminally worn/blighted toys, and even the absence of the orphanage care givers are all related. Which ever caregiver was responsible for watching the kids Christmas eve and Christmas day embezzled the money needed to get good toys and a good tree and decorations. Knowing what was coming their way, that caregiver then scrambled to get any type of tree or any cheap gift even if it was worn out to in vainly cover it up and then fled the orphanage at night leaving the kids alone with no fire in the fireplace or no food in the morning. Given that Grampy was able to get all kinds of appliances, furniture, and dishware to make the new toys, the orphanage was not too desperately hurting for money. Also although the orphanage walls and floors and some of the furniture look a little bit older, the place still seemed pretty clean so it's not like the orphans food and dwelling were not being overlooked at least up to that point. They looked plump and well fed, but their appearance and clothing needed more attention, given they had undesirable Dutchboy haircuts and lacked any clothing other than one single undersized girls nightgown each (girls and boys included) and had no pants or socks. I'm going to stick with the orphanage care giver embezzling Christmas decoration and toy money. Thank heavens Grampy came through and made the grim outlooked Christmas a lot brighter for these poor orphans.

Ben Faltinowski said...

I think the pathetic Christmas tree, the terminally worn/blighted toys, and even the absence of the orphanage care givers are all related. Which ever caregiver was responsible for watching the kids Christmas eve and Christmas day embezzled the money needed to get good toys and a good tree and decorations. Knowing what was coming their way, that caregiver then scrambled to get any type of tree or any cheap gift even if it was worn out to in vainly cover it up and then fled the orphanage at night leaving the kids alone with no fire in the fireplace or no food in the morning. Given that Grampy was able to get all kinds of appliances, furniture, and dishware to make the new toys, the orphanage was not too desperately hurting for money. Also although the orphanage walls and floors and some of the furniture look a little bit older, the place still seemed pretty clean so it's not like the orphans food and dwelling were not being overlooked at least up to that point. They looked plump and well fed, but their appearance and clothing needed more attention, given they had undesirable Dutchboy haircuts and lacked any clothing other than one single undersized girls nightgown each (girls and boys included) and had no pants or socks. I'm going to stick with the orphanage care giver embezzling Christmas decoration and toy money. Thank heavens Grampy came through and made the grim outlooked Christmas a lot brighter for these poor orphans.

EEGAH!! said...

Interesting thoughts Ben! Have you ever considered seeking professional help?

Ben Faltinowski said...

I wasn't insulting any of the kids. I was talking about the hard situation they were in, and how they were not cared for by anyone other than Grampy. It was scary the kids were left alone probably because they were disliked by their caregivers. But Grampy cared enough to brightened an otherwise doomed to heartbreaking Christmas.

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