Dragons, Wagons & Wax was an Edutainment Show produced by WCET in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a cooperative production from the Ohio Department of Education, and the International Instructional Television Cooperative. It was shown in schools in Ohio during the late 1970's and early 1980's, and occasionally elsewhere on PBS stations.
The show featured Tom Long and Linda Sizemore talking about various educational topics, with a focus on science. The topics usually had Tom and Linda in a two-room set, and sometimes an animation would help illustrate the point. 32 episodes were filmed.
What most children remember though was the Action-Hogging Opening, which was usually the only thing the program had to do with "dragons", "wagons" and "wax".
Episode one is available to watch on YouTube, here.
Tropes on Dragons, Wagons & Wax:
- Action-Hogging Opening: In a smooth animated opening, a silhouette trying to lever a large wheel succeeds. This flies over the silhouette of a large cat and down a mountain, where it picks up a dragon who is eating flowers. The dragon rides along on the wheel, which somehow produces a seat and turns into a wagon as the dragon goes through several different climate zones and into a tunnel. He goes down a waterfall and the wagon turns into the Title Card. Then a slow program with Talking Heads happens.
- Animated Credits Opening: The titular Dragon rides a wagon and lights a candle.
- As You Know: Tom and Linda discuss topics that frankly most adults would not find an interesting topic without children around, like several minutes of discussing why a ceramic lion is not alive and will never grow in episode one.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: See Action-Hogging Opening, above.
- Credits Montage: The end credits for the show were stills of the opening animation, set to the same music with credits rolling over them.
- Fun with Acronyms: CREFT (Cleanliness, Rest, Exercise, Food and Teeth)
- Inevitable Waterfall: The dragon goes over one at the end of the opening credits.
- Left Hanging/Riddle for the Ages: We never learn the connection -if any - between the opening and the show proper. Nor do we ever learn more about the reason the wheel was rolling or what happened to the poor dragon.
- Loud Gulp: The dragon utters one in his predicament.
- Mundane Utility: The dragon uses his fire breath to light a candle.
- No Fourth Wall: At times, the viewer is addressed directly.
- Nonindicative Name: Only the opening always has a dragon, a wagon, and a wax candle - the opening has nothing to do with the actual show.
- Our Dragons Are Different: In this case, it's little more than a fire-breathing Chew Toy and a ...
- Pinball Protagonist: The dragon in the opening.
- Talking Heads: Tom and Linda do little more than talk slowly for the viewer.