Neon Hotel Sign
When the character looks out the window, they'll always see the hotel sign
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-19 10:27:01 sponsor: NateTheGreat edited by: Quatic (last reply: 2014-09-13 21:46:04)

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In the movies, most hotels are dumps. Not only will at least one letter of the word "HOTEL" be burned out, but the character will always have the neon sign visible from the window.

The sign could be shorthand for the character's internal conflict, or simply a method of telling you he's down on his luck. That is, the guy must be poor because if he wasn't he'd be in a better hotel, right?

Neon hotel and bar signs are a staple of the Drunken Montage, representing the places the montage's subject has gone. This may signify a No Tell Motel and/or Hell Hotel, and is related to Eiffel Tower Effect and Signs of Disrepair.


Examples

Films — Live-Action

Literature
  • In Guards! Guards!, the tavern next to Sam Vimes's lodging house has a magically illuminated sign where the magic is wearing off, right outside his window. The E is burnt out, and the T sizzles when it rains, just like Hot l Baltimore.
  • In Joan Hess's Maggody mystery novels, the neon sign for Ruby Bee's Flamingo Motel is frequently described as having letters from its "VACANCY" notice burnt out. In addition, its pink neon flamingo regularly loses feathers when they burn out, making it look like it's molting.

Live-Action TV
  • Done in the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice." David is in such a hotel, playing his trumpet, with the "HOTEL" sign flashing in the background. As the angle changes, it just flashes "HOT". See it here, at about 7:24.
  • In ITV's 2006 Production of Agatha Christie's The Moving Finger (starring Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple), the troubled war veteran Jerry Burton is first depicted in a hotel bed with the neon sign's light coming through the window.

Theatre
  • The play Hot L Baltimore is about the Hotel Baltimore. The "e" in the sign is burned out, hence the title.

Video Games

Real Life
  • Aerosmith did a concert tour where the stage was set up as a motel roof — complete with the back of a blinking neon motel sign.

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