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As a child, I had a collection of cassette tapes with audio versions of some retold fairy tales. I don't remember any of the particular stories, although I imagine they were classics like Snow White and Goldilocks and Sleeping Beauty and so on. What's most memorable for me is the intro to each story, which was always the same and evoked ideas of a world of wonders and magic suitable for fairy tales. It began "Long ago and far away" in a booming man's voice, and proceeded to list various character archetypes typical of the genre, each one represented by an adjective and a noun and spoken in a different type of voice (the same man's voice throughout, but changing pitch, volume, and style to suit the different types of characters).

I know this isn't very much to go on, and I can't remember specific examples of those two-word archetypes (which would make this much easier to search for), but I know I'd recognise that intro clip instantly if I heard it again. There were a lot of these cassettes, all with the same intro making them clearly part of the same series. They were bright yellow with black writing on them. I had them in the 1990s in the UK.

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This appears to be Fabbri Publishing's Once Upon a Time series. From Wikipedia:

Fabbri's Once Upon a Time series was based on the popular Story Teller series. It also had a slogan which was "The world of Traditional Fairy Tales & Fables." Like its predecessor, it was a collection of storybooks that came with cassette tapes. Story Teller regulars like Carole Boyd and Nigel Lambert lent their vocal talents to this collection. Actor John Shrapnel introduced each one and told one of the stories himself.

The intro of each cassette always started with this:

"Long Ago and Far Away in Enchanted Lands across the seas lived Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Good Fairies and Wicked Witches, Ferocious Giants and Gentle Dwarfs. Their Adventures and Stories have been told for Hundreds of Years. Open the pages and listen to the words and you too can join the magical world of Once Upon a Time."

You can find the audio files on YouTube.


Found by searching for "long ago and far away" cassette tapes.

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  • Good find! My search skills failed me - I was searching for "audiobook", but I guess that's a more modern term to describe essentially the same thing (an audio version of a story), and variations of this search weren't throwing up anything useful. Can you figure out the dates of this series and add them to the answer? Wikipedia doesn't say, oddly.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 12:26
  • This reseller says 1990, but I'm not coming up with much else.
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 12:29

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