Il était une fois... la vie (English: Once Upon a Time...Life) was a French animated television series which tells the story of the human body for children. The program was originally produced in France in 1987 by Procidis and directed by Albert Barillé. The series consists of 26 episodes and originally was aired on the French channel Canal +, and then on the state owned chanel FR3.
The series combined entertaining story lines with an enormous amount of factual information, presented metaphorically. The series "Once Upon a Time... Life" is the third season within six seasons that were produced to the "Once Upon a Time" animation series.
The series "Once Upon a Time... Life" taught about the human body and about the different systems in it with the same characters from the other Once Upon a Time seasons. "The good Characters" represent the body's defense mechanisms, whereas "the bad Characters" represent the viruses and bacteria that threaten to attack the human body.
The depiction of human body is made with the help of animation of the different agents in it such as the Red blood cell, Bacteria, Viruses, the Nervous system etc. Every episode of the series featured a different organ or system within the human body (like the Brain, the Heart, the Circulatory system, Childbirth, etc).
In the original version of the series, the opening theme song "La vie" was performed by Sandra Kim, the winner of the 1986 Eurovision contest.
The series was aired in Arabic, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
The series makes use of recurring human characters originally from the series "Once Upon a Time... Man". Every character in the series appeared in a number of versions. One of the versions was as a real person (the old intelligent doctor, the dedicated blonde mother, the boy and the girl, their obese friend, and the pair of bullies) whereas in the other versions the same characters appeared anthropomorphically as cells and cellular functions within the human body:
The manager of the brain - represented by Maestro, the bearded old man.
The manager of the Cell nucleus - represented by Maestro (who is usually asleep in his chair).
Enzymes - The human body's workmen, shown usually as a man in a bib overall and a baseball-type cap.
Hormones - messengers for the body, represented as humanoid robotic outboard motors spray-painted according to function; those representing thyroxine are given life by iodine.
Red blood cells - represented by a red humanoids including a family group: Professor Globus (old, he tells a lot about how the body works), Hemo, and his inquisitive and mischievous little girl Globin. They carry oxygen bubbles or carbon dioxide bubbles in a back pouch. They become dark red when carrying carbon dioxide.
Platelets - represented as red disks with a face on and two legs and four arms.
The White blood cell - The Body's Police force.
Neutrophil granulocytes - represented by foot-patrol "policemen" which are completely white in color, and wear a yellow star badge. They carry batons and swallow any body parasites that they find. They can clone themselves. Most of the time they function as traffic cops. Their commander is the same but with a European-human-colored head, and is named Jumbo or Jumbo Junior (a version of Jumbo).
The Lymphocytes - represented by:
Lymphocytes B as marshals in small one-man round flying craft with two aimable side-mounted hydrojet propulsors; two of them are a version of Peter (male) and Psi (female) (named Captain Peter and Lieutenant Clair). Some other (unnamed) B-cell pilot characters each appear more than once, for example a spotty-faced teenage boy. They can drop antibodies from an underbelly bomb-bay. They can divide; this duplicates craft and pilot. Their uniforms are very light blue with shoulder pads. (Those uniforms appear in the outside world in a few futuristic scenes as spaceman's uniforms/undersuits.)
Lymphocytes T: the same sort of craft but with a big uppercase T on the underbelly at the bow. They can discharge a smoke that kills bacteria.
Another sort of leucocyte: hovering spherical craft with several large suction tubes coming out of them. A pilot's head can be seen through a small canopy on top. They can emit smoke which kills bacteria.
Basophiles: plump women who carry a basket of "histamine grenades" and throw them to attack bacteria.
Macrophages (as big yellow ground vehicles shaped like frog heads with big front scoop grab and three wheels; each "eye" is a small canopy revealing a pilot's head), "the cleaning services of the body". Most of the time they function as removing the waste of the body and during emergency times they eat the bacteria and viruses.
Immature leucocytes: teenage humanoids with the same uniform as the lymphocyte B pilots: seen in the bone marrow, which is represented as a police training college.
The antibodies - as small white insect-like characters which after being launched at infectious agents, fly around the bacteria or viruses and paralyze them. The commander of the antibody battalion is an antibody character named Metro.
The Bacteria (represented as blue bullies) - the big bad bully.
The Viruses (represented as yellow worms with hands) - the little bad bully.
Biomolecules, which are represented in two cases as characters.
Fats/Fatty Acids : Represented as yellow ponies
Proteins : Represented as a tall,strong muscular orange character in overalls, with a head and antennae like those of Maestro
Sugars : Small green and purple hexagons and pentagons
Amino Acids : Similar appearance to antibodies, generally invisible until the episode dealing with protein synthesis
DNA/RNA : Represented quite accurately, and in detail when explaining protein synthesis
Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (March 2009)
3 Regional releases
5 Broadcast Information
6 See also
7 External links
In some copies of the English version, in the introductions of all episodes, is a conspicuous misspelling "Once Apon a Time - Life".
Most biological terminology is translated with care, but a few mistakes were made and there are some anachronisms - the heart chamber now known as the atrium is called the 'auricle' in episode 7, a term correct at the time of production, but which is now used for another structure in the heart.
A book version was produced, in 50 hardback volumes, each with about 30 A4-sized pages, described as "an Orbis play & learn collection". In it, some of the characters have other names from the television series: The Professor for the Maestro; Captain Courageous (male) and Ace (female) for the lymphocyte B crafts' pilots; Globus (old), Plasmus (adult), and Globina (child) as erythrocyte characters, Corpo for Jumbo; Toxicus and Germus and Infectius for the bacterium characters; Virulus for the virus character.
A DVD box set of all the episodes of the series has been produced by the French production company Procidis, and distributed locally by various distributors their website. The DVD series was produced in French, English (not sold in UK, US or Canada), Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Hungarian and Swedish.
1. Cells - Their Amazing Story
2. The Beginning of Life
3. The Body's Sentries
4. The Bone Marrow
5. The Blood
6. The Platelets
7. The Heart
9. The Brain
10. The Neurones
11. The Eye
12. The Ear
13. The Skin
14. Tastebuds and Teeth
15. The Digestion
16. The Liver
17. The Kidneys
18. The Lymphatic System
19. The Skeleton
20. Muscles and Fat
21. Toxin Wars
23. The Hormones
24. The Chain of Life
25. The Night Shift
26. Life Goes O