A resident Mad Scientist, Dark Lord or Evil Sorcerer is seeking to Take Over the World, but first he has to practice small scale. How about his hometown? Or maybe the nearest city? Some of the time, most of the plot happens in his small-scale practice (possibly in Cardiff or a similar location), making him an insignificant, yet amusing, force. Sometimes he succeeds and becomes a very serious threat to the world.
Can result in a Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot situation for the good guys.
The Trope Namer is the song "Es zittern die morschen Knochen" ("The Decayed Bones Tremble") by Hans Baumann (1914—1988). Strangely enough, he wrote it in 1932 when he was still a member of the Catholic youth organization Neudeutschland (New Germany). The following year, he became a member of the Nazi party and the song was sung by the Hitler Youth and other party organizations, and in 1935 it became the official song of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front), the Nazi trade union surrogate. The line in question came in two versions, about one-third of songbooks preferring Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt ("For today Germany belongs to us and tomorrow the entire world") and two-thirds the slightly less controversial Denn heute da hört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt ("For today Germany listens to us and tomorrow the entire world"). The trope has, unsurprisingly, often been misattributed to Adolf Hitler.
- An ad by Stan Freberg for Sunsweet Pitted Prunes. "Today the pits, tomorrow the wrinkles!"
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: From the end of Valuable Art: Mukrezar, after having taken down the powerful cult of Crowned Death:
Mukrezar thrust a fist in the air. Today, your cult. Soon, the Avatar!
- The villain in Tomorrow Never Dies says, "The front pages today, tomorrow the world!"
- In "Batman: The Movie", the United Underworld has a wall mural in their headquarters depicting an octopus squeezing the globe. Underneath are the words "Today, Gotham - Tomorrow, The World".
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again: After Dreyfus destroys the U.N. building:
Charles Dreyfus: Today, the U.N. building. Tomorrow, who knows?
- Mr. Freeze said this ("First... Gotham... then... the world!") in Batman & Robin.
- In The Rocketeer, the alleged Trope Namer appears at the end of a Nazi propaganda film demonstrating their plans for the rocket pack. Oddly enough, it depicts an invasion of America, not Europe, although it may be hinting that Germany would have already taken over Europe. It helps that the phrase, in German, reads, "Heute Europa, Morgen die Welt".
- In the VeggieTales movie "The Rumor Weed", the titular weed says, "Today Bumblyburg, tomorrow the world," but she's attributing it to Alfred, whom she's rumoring about.
- Tagline for the 1972 movie Frogs: "Today the Pond... Tomorrow the World!"
- Yellow Submarine: A variation on this is spoken by the Chief Blue Meanie: "Let us not forget that heaven is blue... TOMORROW THE WORLD!!!"
- In Jetsons: The Movie, Mr. Spacely says, "Today Spacely Sprockets, tomorrow the universe!"
- In The Borrowers, Ocious Potter sets his sights awfully high for a lawyer.
- In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, the bad guy announces his plan to "annihilate Angel Grove, and then, the universe!"
- Franz Leibkind in The Producers, at the opening of "Springtime For Hitler": "Today Broadway, tomorrow.." (makes a globe-shaped gesture with his hands.)
- One of The Illuminati's creeds in the Illuminatus! trilogy is "Heute die Welt, Morgens das Sonnensystem" (today the world, tomorrow the solar system).
- A character in Secret Valley once exclaimed "Today Secret Valley, tomorrow the world!"
- When the wizards get Drunk with Power in Sourcery, one of them shouts, "Today the city, tomorrow the world!" Cardingthen calculates that this means "on Friday the universe!" and Speltzer reflects that this will leave the weekend free.
- This same trope is likely what Pterry had in mind in a scene towards the end of Night Watch, when newly-appointed Patrician Lord Snapcase points out that Sergeant John Keel of the aforementioned Night Watchnote has managed to all but take over the entire city in a single day, and "Who knows what he might do tomorrow." This serves notice that he's not going to be as big an improvement over the outgoing Winder as his backers had hoped.
- The Tagline for Bunnicula was, "Today, vegetables... tomorrow, the world!"
- When a member of a "community-of-the-future" called Tomorrow Town is revealed to have been plotting to use a Master Computer to take over the country, the protagonist quips, "The day after tomorrow, the world?"
- The Governor and Mandragora's plan in the Copper-Colored Cupids short story The Resurrection of the Wellsians boils down to "today, the Earth, tomorrow, the world!".
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Spare That Rod!", Miss Brooks' criticizes Mr. Conklin's choice of adages decorating the walls of his office by asking what happened to the one that read "Today Madison, tomorrow the world!". Mr. Conklin states that the janitor ripped it cleaning.
- Doctor Who
BOSS: I am now self-controlling, I am self-sufficient, I am the greatest being this planet has ever seen. I am the BOSS!Doctor: Today Llanfairfach, tomorrow the world, eh?
- In "The Green Death", the Master Computer controlling a factory in Wales turns out to have greater ambitions.
- In "Mind Warp" we have BRIAN BLESSED exclaim, "Today prudence shall be our watch word, tomorrow we shall soak the land in blood!"
- Double Subversion in "Robin of Sherwood". The Sheriff boasts that after Nottingham he'll take...Derby! Then Lincoln. Clara Oswald suggests Worksop next, but he eventually gets to the rest of world.
- The Goodies: Played for Laughs when Graham Garden goes Drunk with Power in "Radio Goodies".
Graham: Today...the post office...tomorrow...the worrrld.
- Also done by Graham Garden in the British Sketch Comedy show Broaden Your Mind. A scientist with a noted German accent is on TV describing a disease.
Scientist: Turgonitis is just another of the new and exciting diseases developed here at the British institute of Applied Science and Technology and Not Germ Warfare. Today, turgonitis...tomorrow, the world!
- A character in Secret Valley once exclaimed, "Today Secret Valley, tomorrow, the world!"
- Said by Freddy when he decides to cause a nuclear war in the Freddy's Nightmares episode "The End of the World".
Freddy: Today Springwood, tomorrow the world!
- The Prisoner (1967). Number Two's famous New Era Speech in "The Chimes of Big Ben".
Number Two: What in fact has been created is an international community — a perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realize that they're looking into a mirror, they will see that this is the pattern for the future.
Number Six: The whole world as the Village?
Number Two: That is my dream. What's yours?
Number Six: I'd like to be the first man on the moon.
- In Peanuts, Linus once spent a morning building a crowd of snowmen so that he could declare from an upstairs window, "Today, the neighborhood, tomorrow the world!"
- In The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which is a roman à clef about Hitler's rise to power, but set in Gangsterland Chicago, Ui (Hitler) gives a New Era Speech at the end that alludes to the Hitler quote. It's all about how he's now "protecting" Chicago and Cicero (Germany and Austria) and now he plans to "protect" other cities across the country as well Take Over the World). One translation/adaptation of the speech actually concludes something like "Philadelphia (one of the cities on his list) today, the world tomorrow!"
- Parodied in Evil Genius : "Today your PC, tomorrow the world !"
- The Rat King in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time says, "Today the sewers..."
- In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Badia the Free, after Strong Bad conquers Strong Sad's Bleak House, the former proceeds to crow, "Today, Blecch House; tomorrow, the world!", but doesn't quite finish when Strong Sad interrupts to ask if he can at least be Strong Bad's cultural advisor.
- Subverted in Girl Genius where a would-be usurper of the Master of Paris has a helpful sign in his lab reading:
Today ParisTomorrow ParisDon't get greedy
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- The Nostalgia Critic says something to this effect while listing the reasons for invading Molassia in Kickassia.
- On his "Top 11 Villain Songs" review, as he compares the goose-stepping hyenas in "Be Prepared" to a Nuremberg rally, a film clip of Adolf Hitler appears with the subtitle "Today: Pride Rock; tomorrow: the world!"
- Superman: The Animated Series: The Daily Planet crew is watching Livewire on TV, bragging about how she controls all the media like TV, phones, Internet, radio...
Perry White: Typical. Today the airwaves...Lois Lane: ...Tomorrow the world.
- Voltar from League of Super Evil has said, "Today the neighborhood, tomorrow the world!", at least in the episode "Full Throttle".
- Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb originally intended to take over the world, but received advice from an ex-girlfriend (Linda) stating that he should settle on the more reasonable Tri-State Area. Appropriately, he occasionally states "Today the Tri-State Area, tomorrow the world!"
- Duke Inghorn in the very first episode of Adventures of the Gummi Bears: "Today Dunwyn, tomorrow the world!", just before realizing that the Gummi Berry Juice gives super strength to a human for just one minute.
- Negaduck from Darkwing Duck: "Today St. Canard, tomorrow the world! I Always Wanted to Say That."
- Mojo Jojo when he was the host in Cartoon Cartoon Fridays: "Today, Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, tomorrow, the world!"
- Don Karnage from TaleSpin.
- Queen Chrysalis in season 2 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses a variation:
Chrysalis: First, we take Canterlot. And then, all of Equestria!
- In Walt Disney's WWII-era propaganda short, "Education for Death", the Nazi teacher is heard yelling, "Heute gehört uns Deutschland — morgen, die ganze Welt!", which the narrator loosely translates as, "Today we own Germany, tomorrow the whole world!"
- Dr. Robotnik from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: "Today, Mobius. Tomorrow....THE UNIVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRSE!!!!!!!!!
- In the "Spud Dud" short on The Huckleberry Hound Show, the sapient potato's first utterance is, "Today the potato field, tomorrow the world!"
- Played with in an episode of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero. After Rippen spouts this phrase, Larry comments that he should give himself at least a week to conquer the entire world.
- Benito Mussolini makes this declaration during his fight on Celebrity Deathmatch: "Today, I conquer the Deathmatch ring! Tomorrow, the announcer's booth! The day after that, the world!"