main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Western Animation: Once Upon a Time
Once Upon A Time... is a series of educational cartoons released by Procidis.

There are eight installments for this series:
  • Once Upon a Time… Man (1978), a series concerning the history of humans, starting in pre-history and progressing to World War II. In the final episode, it branches slighty as part of future predictions concerning pollution and warfare, by presenting an optimistic path.
  • Once Upon a Time… Space (1982), a science-fiction cartoon
  • Once Upon a Time… Life (1987), conerning the human body and how it works
  • Once Upon a Time… The Americas (1991)
  • Once Upon a Time… The Discoverers (1994)
  • Once Upon a Time… The Explorers (1996)
  • Once Upon a Time… Planet Earth (2008)
  • Once Upon a Time... Music (2007; Released only in Spain)

This series contains the following tropes:

    Once Upon A Time... Man 

  • Ascended To Carnivorism: Edmontosaurus was shown eating Triceratops eggs.
  • Bubbly Clouds: A pilot in World War I dived out of the plane, landed on a cloud to catch breath, before using the parachute to reach the ground.
  • Bungling Inventor: While Maestro does show inventions, there are plenty of episodes where they break down. In some cases, the mechanical devices explode.
  • By The Hair: A variation, where the pre-humans pulled their desired women by the hair. The women offered no resistance, as if they wanted to be dragged along.
  • Conscription: There's at least two means of conscription shown. The eleventh episode shows a man dragging two to the volunteer booth for the crusades. Later episodes use thugs to force signatures, and an even later one has them sign while drunk.
  • Cranial Eruption: Damaging head injuries result in one.
  • Down in the Dumps: The final episode shows attempts to clean up a junkyard that's become aggressive.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The guillotine is only shown chopping the head off a cigar, to symbolize an execution.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The English version plays the trope straight. However, the original French version has Caesar saying "Toi aussi, mon fils" (You too my son).
  • Fat Girl: The episode concerning trains had a minor obese character having trouble squeezing in through the train's doorway.
  • From Beyond The Fourthwall: The clock at the corner of the screen sometimes reminds characters of an error they're making. For example, Maestro using modern numbers in 350 BC, or a viking woman upset that her lover isn't monogamous.
  • Hammerspace Hair: Maestro tends to hold large objects in his hair, and in one episode, merges two small boards into a longer board.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The Vikings had difficulty assaulting a fortress. Because of the failure, they approached the castle to parley, saying that their chief was killed in battle- and as such, they wish to convert to Christianity; the chief is to be buried with his weapons as per their tradition. Once inside, the chief jumped out of the coffin, passed the weapons the allies, and started the rampage.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Depicted as originally described. Then, a later episode spoofs the judgement with two men fighting over ownership of a pig, with a suggestion to cut the pig in half.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Early episodes had the humans with a breast drawn and uncovered - usually when the woman was carrying her baby. However, there were one or two Discretion Shots or Scenery Censor mixed in.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: During the Storming of the Bastille, a child cheering on the attackers.
  • No Sell: Jumbo shrugs off any attack. Even weapons used against him break, whether they're clubs, swords, or whips.
  • Pillow Pistol: Shown in the French revolution episode. As an artistic licence in gun safety, Maestro kicked the bed when he saw bed bugs approaching.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 was used as the introduction theme. You may sometimes hear other classical StandardSnippets as well.
  • Raptor Attack: Archaeopteryx incorrectly has four fingers on its wings, with the feathers attached at its wrist.
  • Regular Character: The same characters are shown in each episode - with each episode being a different section of history.
  • Right on Queue: Episode 14, where assassins burst into a house, having the door slammed after the third one. The first three are hung from the window above. The door then opens, asking for the next in line to enter.
  • Road Sign Reversal: In the episode with the 1910-era automobile racing, one group was ahead of the pack, and decided to mess everyone behind by adjusting a road sign to Bordeaux. However, the previous scene showed the sign being spun by a breeze, and the cheaters actually corrected the sign before going down the wrong road.
  • Science Marches On: The first episode's segment on prehistory features almost every outdated stock trope present in pre-Dinosaur Renaissance works, such as swamp-dwelling sauropods, tail-dragging herbivorous dinosaurs, upright-stanced and water-fearing theropods (no tail-dragging, though), bendy-neck plesiosaurs, and Archaeopteryx evolving out of "thecodonts" through the hypothetical "Proavis" phase — confusingly, the narration mentions that birds (and crocodiles!) also evolved from dinosaurs.
  • Slapstick: A lot of humor is based off of Amusing Injuries.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Archaeopteryx, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus (called Brontosaurus), Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Pteranodon, Elasmosaurus, Tylosaurus, Edmontosaurus (called Anatosaurus and is incorrectly depicted with a crest), Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus rex all appear in the first episode.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The second episode had two children use a grass skirt to look taller.
  • Walk This Way: The episode for Louis XIV had one drill sergeant try to train new recruits. The instructor tripped over a rock, tossing the rifle into the air, and hitting the other instructor. The three recruits did the exact same thing, landing their thrown rifles on the same instructor.

The Mysterious Cities of GoldFrench SeriesOn n'demande qu'à en rire
OliviaWestern AnimationOOglies

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy