Unicycle Legs
Cartoon characters running in place for several seconds before taking off


(permanent link) added: 2011-05-01 22:36:36 sponsor: HawktureShorts155 (last reply: 2011-05-04 14:30:31)

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A while back someone was attempting to compile a treasury of Western animation tropes, and I submitted "Unicycle Legs." I don't know if anyone ever picked up on it.

This was seen a lot in kids' cartoons during the 1960s and '70s, particularly the ones by Hanna-Barbera. A character would see something scary coming after him, become frightened, and....run in place for approximately 4.6 seconds, his legs whirling around until they formed a de facto wheel and "rattle-tattle-tat" sound effect filling the soundtrack as if someone was pushing a dining-cart tray down the stairs. Only after 4.6 seconds would the character actually try to get the hell out of there - and, conveniently enough, the villain or monster would always (well, almost always, as I saw this trope subverted at least once) wait five seconds before actually trying to grab the guy.

The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo were probably the most guilty of this cliche.
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