Created By: Indalecio on July 27, 2011 Last Edited By: Indalecio on September 11, 2011

Sliding Off Clock Hands

People slide off the hands of an enormous clock

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Trope
People slide off the hands of an enormous clock. Can add a moment of drama if someone is hanging on for dear life as the hands slowly turns until they'll have no choice but to fall off.

Safety Last is both Ur-Example and Trope Maker.


  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Quantum Boogaloo" the band "Bowling for Soup" slide off a giant clock during a music video.
  • Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!. The Other Wiki link has a photo for the trope as well.
  • The 1978 version of The Thirty Nine Steps, in which the hero Richard Hannay attempted to halt the clock's progress (to prevent a linked bomb detonating) by hanging from the minute hand of its western dial.
  • The movie Shanghai Knights.
  • In one episode of Monk a body was placed on a hand of a clock, falling off the tower when the killer had an alibi.
  • The finale of The Great Mouse Detective.
  • Parodied in Futurama, wherein Fry ends up hanging from a number on a giant digital clock. He's fine until the time changes.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • July 27, 2011
    Fanra
    Ur Example: Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!. The Other Wiki link has a photo for the trope as well.

    Modern examples tend to use a larger clock.

    The Clock Tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, incorrectly called Big Ben (Big Ben is just the name of the bell, not the clock) has been used in:

    • The 1978 version of The Thirty Nine Steps, in which the hero Richard Hannay attempted to halt the clock's progress (to prevent a linked bomb detonating) by hanging from the minute hand of its western dial.
    • The movie Shanghai Knights.
  • July 27, 2011
    Aielyn
    These are almost always a homage to Safety Last! - at the very least I know that the Shanghai Knights example was, as Jackie Chan has specifically said so, and that movie was filled with other, similar references.
  • July 27, 2011
    JonnyB
    Pretty sure there was an episode of Doctor Who that had someone dangling from Big Ben. I think it was the episode where Captain Jack Harkness was introduced.
  • July 27, 2011
    LeeM
    ^^FYI, the official name for the "Big Ben" clock is the Great Clock of the Palace of Westminster.
  • July 27, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In one episode of Mank a body was placed on a hand of a clock, falling off the tower when the killer had an alibi. Also, I am pretty sure that most tower clocks would jam if you add 90 kilograms to the hands.
  • July 27, 2011
    EmbracingShadows
    ^^^ Actually, the episode Jack was introduced, Rose was dangling from a German dirigible. But that probably did happen in another episode.
  • July 27, 2011
    Indalecio
    Can't seem to get the formatting for the caption right. It should be
    Harold Lloyd shows us how its done.
    , but it doesn't seem to show up correctly when I put it in.
  • July 27, 2011
    Fanra
    Can't seem to get the formatting for the caption right.

    Don't worry about getting the formatting right for the YKTTW. It doesn't use the same code as the article will. When you do the article you can get it right then.

    Also, don't forget to mention that Safety Last! is the Ur Example.

  • July 27, 2011
    Aielyn
    I would suggest making specific mention of Safety Last! in the description, as it's not just the Ur Example, but also effectively the Trope Codifier and Trope Maker. Heck, it's so significant, it probably deserves to be the Trope Namer, too. Although, I think I'm partial to naming it Stock Clock Hand Hang, or something like that.
  • July 27, 2011
    Indalecio
    I'm against Stock Clock Hand Hang. I also want to make the trope about when the hands are big enough to sit or stand on, but as the clock hands move, persons can slide off of them.
  • July 27, 2011
    Miragician
    • Monk had this as a central point of a murder in one episode.
  • July 27, 2011
    TheTroperSaid
    The pilot of Moonlighting had Maddie sliding off the clock hand and accidentally kicking the panel around 9 o'clock(containing some stolen diamonds) with her high heel.
  • July 27, 2011
    Aielyn
    Indalecio, is the case where they slide off the hand after sitting on it, etc, related outside of involving falling off a clock hand? If not, then it's a distinct trope. If you honestly think they're more extensively related, then I'd suggest something like Clock Hand Plummet. It sounds more colourful, that way.
  • July 28, 2011
    Koveras
    Happens in an episode of Batman The Animated Series, I think, where the Clock King tries to use this as retribution against the Mayor.
  • July 28, 2011
    Topazan
    • Parodied in Futurama, wherein Fry ends up hanging from a number on a giant digital clock. He's fine until the time changes.
  • July 28, 2011
    Indalecio
    How about Clock Hand Antics? It'd cover both tropes.
  • July 28, 2011
    c0ry
    IIRC, this happens to 1955!Doc Brown in the first Back To The Future
  • July 30, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
  • July 31, 2011
    DaibhidC
    Subtrope of Clock Tower.

  • August 1, 2011
    TonyG
    The climax of The Castle Of Cagliostro. In a variation, the villain is crushed to death by the clock hands as they strike twelve.
  • August 1, 2011
    Aielyn
    Here's an idea - play off the old "stop, drop and roll" advice for people on fire, and go with Clock Drop And Roll, which covers both dropping (hanging) off a clock hand and rolling off a clock hand.
  • September 11, 2011
    foxley
    Happens to daffy Duck in the Looney Tunes short Skyscraper Caper.
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