The best way to begin telling a fairy tale. It implies that the tale takes place long ago, in a far-off land, back when we were more innocent and when the world was more full of magic, mystery, and wonder.

The phrase can be used to begin telling any story, including news reports, Aggie jokes, fishing tall tales, and Everything2 writeups.

Once Upon A Time is a storytelling card game by Atlas Games. Players are dealt a hand of cards containing typical fairy tale story elements, such as witches, keys, fights, towers, or evil. Each player also gets one ending, such as "They were blind to the end of their days for their wickedness and falsehood." or "And for I all I know, they may be dancing still". The goal of the game is to use all cards, and then the ending card, while telling a story.

The best part of Once Upon A Time is the about 10 blank cards that come with the game. We filled our set with with "D&D reference", "snow monkey", "spam", "12 inches long", "toothbrush", "bluda" (an element of our personal mythology), "clam", and others which I can't remember right now.

Once upon a time

Once upon a time
There was a girl
And the girl was quiet
She didn't have any friends
She wore her hair in pigtails
She was ten

Once upon a time
There was a dog
And the dog was quiet
It was a frightened dog
It lived with a frightening man
It feared the man

The man beat the dog
Every day

The girl had no one
Every day

In the morning
The girl's mother would leave for work
The girl would go to school
The school day would pass
A blur

In the morning
The man would beat the dog
For the mess it had made
He wouldn't go to work
He'd sit in front of the TV
Drinking beers

In the evening
The girl would make her own dinner
Her mother still at work
She never asked what her mother did
She knew not to

In the evening
The man would beat the dog
For making a small noise
While he watched wrestling shows
Drinking beers

At night
The girl would sleep
Her dreams would be empty
The night swallowing any colour they might have had
Until she woke
And did it all over again

At night
The dog would sleep
Starting awake at every slightest noise
And wake in the morning
To more of the same

The days went by

If this was a happy story
The dog would run away
And find the girl
And they would play
In a field somewhere
Where dandelions grow
Under a bright blue sky
And they would run away together
And live
Forever after

But no such luck

The girl lived her life in the same way
And grew
And became just like her mother

The dog finally snapped
And bit the man's hand
And he beat it to death

The end

"Once Upon a Time" is the thirteenth episode of the third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in December of 1961. It starred Buster Keaton as disgruntled janitor Woodrow Mulligan, and featured Stanley Adams as his comic relief, Rollo.

Mulligan is a janitor living in the late 19th century, who is incensed by modern times, with its fast-moving bicycles, unruly youths playing trumpets, and expensive food. Luckily, Mulligan is also the janitor for an inventor who has devised a time helmet, a device that allows the wearer to travel through time. Mulligan visits the 1960s, where he meets Rollo, and after some unusual incidents, learns that he would rather be back in his own time.

There is nothing very original about this story, since The Twilight Zone has dealt with temporal dislocation in stories such as "Walking Distance", "The Trouble with Templeton", and "The Execution". What is different about this story is that it stars one of the great slapstick actors of the silent age, Buster Keaton. Also, the scenes set in the 19th century are silent movies, complete with odd frame rate, piano music, and intertitles. The comic pratfalls are about what the viewer would expect: Keaton spends most of the episode running around in his boxer shorts and falling over. It is hard to describe good slapstick, and this episode has to be seen to be believed.

It is a testament to the daring and innovation of The Twilight Zone that they could make an episode in the style of a silent movie, starring an actor whose fame had waned. It also something about the range of the program--- this episode aired only a few weeks after the darkest, most serious episode yet shown, "Deaths-Head Revisited". At the rate that Rod Serling is going, the next episode might as well be a tribute to Jean-Paul Sartre.

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