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Once Upon A Time…Life

ENDLESSLY REPEATED French animation epic purporting to make plain the workings of the human body through cheery-faced cartoonery. In shocking defiance of all known physiological findings, the brain was revealed to contain a thousand white-coated bug-eyed blokes operating a thousand computers (with big reels of tape and flashing lights), watched over by a gaffer with a giant white beard prone to falling asleep. In fact pretty much everything in the entire body was revealed to have a face, including red blood cells (here depicted as gung-ho proto-warrior upstarts), platelets (St John Ambulance emergency tykes) and white blood cells (crack troops a la the Desert Rats), while muscles and bones were built and maintained by cloth-capped working class hordes. Hugely entertaining and shockingly vivid, especially the very last episode where the gaffer fell asleep for ever and, yup, the “body” died.

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  1. Applemask

    August 10, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Repeated on Channel 4 c1989, along with “Il Etait Une Fois…L’Espace”. Completely great as far as I’m concerned, although the “Death” episode was depressing. To this day I naturally assume the inside of my body looks precisely like this programme

    It and the other six Il Etait Une Foises were the work of Albert Barillé, who also brought Colargol (ie Barnaby the Bear) to life.

    Actually, “Man” came first, then Space, then Life. After that they flailed a bit, making one about “The Americas”, one about “The Discoverers”, and one about “The Explorers”, (as presumably distinct from “The Discoverers”) before finally getting bored and giving up until 2008’s “Il Etait Une Fois…Notre Terre” (ie Planet Earth) which is so new it hasn’t even been poorly dubbed yet. His work complete, Braille died in February.

  2. gracol

    March 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Apparently Thomas Edison believed in the “little men in your head” hypothesis.

    Thank goodness he was a physical scientist.

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