Progressive Era Montage

A Montage where a character or a scene shifts from one era to era. A "Mister Sandman" Sequence may or may not occur on a particular era, may it be a person, a place, or an item. The one thing that this montage is very prevalent of is that the atmosphere of the setting, architecture and art styles, technology, clothing and hairstyle, and occasional background music sequentially changes.

Often employed to make the point that "X has been around a lot longer than you, so you'd best respect it, son."

Doesn't necessarily have to do with the actual Progressive Era, which was from about 1900 to 1920.


  • The 2009 Pepsi Commercial "Pass" transcends from The Gay Nineties to the present day focusing the said product consumed by young people as it is passed on through various generations.
  • The 2008 Hovis Bread Commercial, "Go On, Lad!" focuses on a boy who, in 122 seconds, walks down on history lane from the Victorian Era to the present day as he walks down through significant events on British history.
  • The Mercedes-Benz SL commercial "Timeless" focuses about the said car as it drives through the 1950s up to the present day while the style of the car, the music, and the fashion of the woman driving it all change with the times.
  • Frigidaire's "More than 90 Years of Innovation" commercial shows the company's innovations through the years.
  • This Super Bowl Special for the Audi A6 has Jason Statham stealing a succession of cars dating from The '70s up to the present day, presented in the manner of an action movie of each era.
  • The "Pass It Along" promotional video for American Girl's BeForever revamp shows girls from the present passing things along to characters from the Historical lineup, the latter of them showing their new meet outfits.
  • Sony's "#4ThePlayers" video, in which a group of British teens grow up playing PlayStation consoles from 1995 to the present day. All the while, the artists whose posters adorn their walls and magazines change from blur to Kasabian to Tinie Tempah, the fashion goes from "Fresh Prince" to '00s "chav" fashion and beyond, and the London Eye, the Gherkin, and the Shard emerge on the London skyline outside their window.
  • A 1992 Miller Lite ad directed by James Cameron (!) uses then cutting-edge morphing to transform a couple from late '60s hippies through '70s disco to '80s punks in one smooth dance. They revert to present day (early 90s) as they sit back down at the bar— and then hint at a cute Zeerust future when the girl is shown wearing a "necklace" of shiny stones that orbit her neck...
  • This Gilette body razor commercial does this with the changing facial hairstyles as the era progresses.
  • The Cherry Ripe "Feeding the Soul" ad does this in reverse, starting with a woman eating a Cherry Ripe in the modern day and gradually moving back through various era to the 20s.
  • A 2015 advertisement for Lloyds Bank does this with the black horse from the bank's logo, being foaled in 1765, then being ridden or pulling a load throughout the next 250 years.
  • This Nike ad for the 2004 World Series, showing two brothers watching the Red Sox from 1918 to 2004.

  • The opening montage in Watchmen depicts the evolution of Superheroes from the 40s up to the 80s, with important historical scenes shown in between.
  • The opening credit sequence of the film The Jackal showed a montage of images from Russian history set to pounding Industrial music, starting with the Bolshevik Revolution, through Stalin's industrialization and The Great Patriotic War, and on up through the fall of the Soviet Union toward the present day.
  • The Title Sequence of Wing Commander does an audio version of Mankind's history of space exploration up until the declaration of war with the Kilrathi.
  • Detention does this in reverse to highlight Elliot's time warp from the present day (2011) back to 1992. In order, the music jumps from the Pussycat Dolls in 2008 to The Bravery in '05, 50 Cent in '03, the Backstreet Boys in '98, Hole in '94, and finally ending with Public Enemy in '92, while his classmates' fashions go from modern-day to hip-hop to boy-band to grunge.
  • In Cavalcade, the years between 1918 and 1933 are portrayed rather negatively in a single montage that shows drinking, dancing, strident political demagoguery, and—horrors!—gays and lesbians.
  • In The Time Machine (2002), the time travel through the 20th and 21st century is in effect portrayed in this form. At first it's from the viewpoint of the protagonist in the time machine, from where he witnesses the development of automobiles and via a nearby shop window also the changes in female fashion. Then the scene segues into an Astronomic Zoom, showcasing the development of airplane flight and finally space flight.
  • The opening titles in Soylent Green play under a photo montage showing technology advancing through the 20th century, getting bigger and more environmentally destructive, ending in the mess that is the movie's setting.

  • Edward Rutherfurd's novels, such as Sarum, Russka and others, goes on like this, where every chapter goes to a new era and a new generation. Sometimes a single object or locale links the two sides of the transition, as when a medieval artisan completes a painting that he's proud to think will forever grace a chapel ... only for his Reformation-era iconoclast descendant to righteously smash it to bits in the next scene.

Live-Action TV
  • The episode "Fragments" of Torchwood has a montage of Capt. Jack's personnel file being copied into newer technology (first written with a pen, then typed on a typewriter, then copied onto progressively more advanced computers) through the entire 20th century.
  • The Big Bang Theory opens with a rapid-fire montage showing nothing less than the entire history of the universe, the lyrics to the theme describing a hot, dense globe of matter exploding and expanding, the planets forming and congealing, humans evolving and civilization developing. (The rarely heard second verse goes into more detail, describing prehistoric animals.) It ends with the sitcom's five main characters sitting on a couch and staring at their TV.


Web Original
  • This 2011 video of the East London Style does much, where the background music and the dancers' clothes changes over 100 years in just 100 seconds.
  • 100 Years of Fitness, a video progression showcasing 'fitness fads' from the 1910s stretching exercises up to 2010s Zumba.
  • Cut Video's 100 Years of Beauty shows hair and make-up styles for each decade since the 1910s, from the point of view of a single country, except the United States, which is done twice (once for White American fashion, and once for African American fashion).

Western Animation
  • The Cartoon Network Groovies short "Musical Evolution" had Josie and the Pussycats performing in several different time periods (and costumes), including the 1970s disco era, 90s metal, the Wild West (country and western), 80s KISS style rock, and modern disc jockey style. Watch it here.
  • A Simpsons Couch Gag has Homer starting as a unicellular organism, becomes a fish, climbs out of the ocean, evolves into a human, walks through parts of human history, and ends up at his sofa, and Marge asking "Where have you been?".
    • Another couch gag shows the Simpsons as the casts of Sitcoms from different eras.
  • The opening scene of Wreck-It Ralph progresses through 30 years as evidenced by the change of video game platforms.
  • When Fry gets frozen in the cryogenic tube in the first episode of Futurama, time starts slipping by, showing New York being destroyed by aliens, rebuilt, destroyed by aliens again, forests growing and humanity reverting back to the Middle Ages and rebuilding New York again with castles, get destroyed by aliens again, and then finally the New New York of the year 2999 springs up.
  • Phineas and Ferb, featuring Love Handel gives us a little history about rock. Anyone of you can tell where the colours came from...
  • Similar to The Simpsons example above, the opening title sequence of Dilbert starts with the Big Bang, then zooms in to Earth to show the title character as a single-celled organism, a succession of sea creatures, a land reptile, a caveman, and finally a modern office worker.