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Banister Slide
It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end.

Any comedy whose set includes an elaborate staircase with a long, swooping banister will inevitably require someone to slide down that banister. Such slides are always rear-end first.

Half of the time, the slider will not realize until it's too late that there's a finial at the very bottom just waiting to hit them in the crotch. The other half of the time, either there is no finial (as is the case in the opening to Wait Till Your Father Gets Home) or it will break off harmlessly when the slider hits it. In either of these cases, the slider then ends up sprawled uninjured on the floor.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Yotsuba&!: Yotsuba does this while racing her dad down the stairs to a shrine.

     Comic Books 
  • MAD's spoof of the 1991 The Addams Family movie had, in one panel, a disembodied bum sliding down a banister.
  • In Volume 5 of Scott Pilgrim, the hero does this, ending with a flying kick to the face of his own brother, whom he had mistaken for Gideon. The panel even features the word "BUTT-SLIDE" in large text.

    Film 
  • Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins does this effectively. She also goes up the banister this way.
  • Shrek does this facing forward, and has to deal with the finial problem the hard way. Fortunately, ogres are tough.
  • Magenta does this in the Rocky Horror Picture Show causing the famous Audience Participation line —
  • Utilised by multiple fraternity boys (admittedly, most likely drunk and stoned at the time) during a musical number in Across the Universe.
  • Octopussy: Bond slides down a banister while firing a Kalashnikov rifle, saw the newel post at the end, and blew it off just in time to avoid a ballistic groin impairment.
    • And then in Skyfall he and Silva slide down the separator between escalators in the London subway system during their chase sequence.
  • Chow Yun-Fat's Tequila does a bannister slide of his own with Guns Akimbo in a classic shot from the first shootout of John Woo's Hard Boiled.
  • Sister Act II: Whoopi Goldberg does this dressed as a nun.
  • The Avengers (1998). Mrs. Peel does a short one during her sword duel with Steed.
  • Spaceballs. Colonel Sanders, Dark Helmet and President Skroob do this to get to the Self-Destruct Mechanism's cancellation button.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, Tack and the Thief go down the banister of a labyrinthine staircase in the Sultan's palace.
  • In Starship Troopers, Carmen Ibanez does a short one while running to a shuttle.
  • In the 1982 film Annie, Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily slide down a bannister during the Easy Street number.
  • Toy Story. As Andy is playing with Woody near the beginning, he sends Woody on a banister.
  • Provides an important plot point in 13 Ghosts, as it is the place where Cyrus's money is hidden.
  • The Bourne Legacy. Aaron Cross does this on a motorcycle during the final chase scene, because the stairway is blocked by pedestrians.
  • Bullshot. Comedic Hero Bullshot Crummond does this backwards — thus he misses seeing the newel and ends up limping away in great pain.
    "Captain Crummond, are you shot?!"

    Literature 
  • In Ella Enchanted, Ella's father and new step mother walk in on her and the prince enjoying themselves sliding down the giant banister in the castle in which the wedding has just taken place. Her new family members are not amused.
  • A much milder version shows up in the first novel of the Malloreon. Eriond and Prince Kheva set up piles of pillows at the end of their banisters ... but Polgara walks in on their game just as one pillow burst and sent feathers all over. Having had some two thousand years of experience raising little boys, all she does is laugh and tell them they need to clean up the feathers.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Mile Vorkosigan does one near the beginning of Lois Mc Master Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice because he's got two broken legs, and is supposed to stay off his feet. Fortunately his father was at the bottom of the stairs, and managed to catch him. In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan mentions that some earlier point in his life, Miles ended up breaking a leg doing something similar.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, the banister slide is weaponized in a fight, when one character uses it to gain momentum before launching himself at their foes.
  • The Queen's Museum and Other Fanciful Tales, short story "The Christmas Truants". The boy Tomtit does one of these while the title characters are trying to escape the castle of a band of robbers.
  • In Helen Wells' Cherry Ames: Private Duty Nurse, the heroine does this, causing her mother to jokingly remark, "Shocking behavior for a graduate nurse!" Cherry says her brother Charlie used to do it without using his hands.

     Live Action TV 
  • In The 10th Kingdom, the false Prince Wendell enters his coronation party by jumping on a banister and sliding down into the crowd.
  • Home Improvement: when Tim's mother moves out of the house Tim grew up in, Tim reminisces about sliding down the bannister. His brothers comment that Tim was the only one brave enough to go down facing forward, to which Tim replies that he was able to have kids anyway. Later, he takes a "slide down memory lane," and answers the door with a falsetto voice.
  • In Have I Got News for You, Paul Merton claimed that "sliding down the banister" was the appropriate method before toilet paper was invented. When it was pointed out that this would make the bannister unusable for its intended purpose, he retorted that "of course you had your shit bannister and then you had your hand bannister. You don't see them nowadays because they were all melted down during World War II to make Spitfires".
  • Red Skelton told a story about his son Richard sliding down the banister. Richard says, "You know that vase with 'Whistler's Mother' on it? The old girl just had a nervous breakdown!" Red goes on to say that Richard told him he wouldn't do that again- "I was going south and I met a splinter going north!"
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai pretends to try/actually tries to persuade Rory to slide down the banister at her debutante ball. Rory doesn't do it.
  • Discussed on QI of course. And, of course, plenty of buzzers went off on the mention of the word 'bannister'. Apparently, the correct term is 'balustrade' for the top part, and 'baluster' for the uprights.
    Jo Brand: When I was in college I slid down a barrister.
    Phill Jupitus: Did you hit yourself on the knob at the end?

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Otto Soglow's The Little King once showed the title character doing this, taking care to have his servants place a cushion in front of the sharp-pointed finial sculpture.
  • Nemo and Flip slide down a very long and winding banister in Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ends up going in zig-zags, wavy bumps, and cork screws. It was later also done in the movie.

     Tabletop RPG 

    Theatre 

     Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The sharp object variant occurred in the Quick Draw McGraw short "El Kabong": The villain Don Chilada waited at the bottom to jab the banister-sliding Quick Draw with the tip of his sword.
  • The opening sequence to each episode of popular Czech bedtime story Mach a Sebestova shows the boy sliding and blinking with his ear to signal turns.
  • The opening sequence to the Dennis the Menace cartoon showed Dennis doing this. He may have done it a time or two in the live-action TV series as well.
    • Also the case for the other Dennis the Menace, in this case before Dennis reached the bottom of the bannister Gnasher pulled a lever which made the knob at the end of the banister slide down into it allowing Dennis to fly off the end!.
      • He did this in a 1980s The Beano strip, too, but Mum had sewn sandpaper into his shorts (Dennis hadn't noticed) thus sanding the banister down. This was one of several unwittingly helpful things he did in that issue, with a bemused Dennis getting rewarded instead of being punished at the end.
  • Arabian Knights episode "Sky Raiders of the Desert". Both Turjan and Bez slide down a stair banister to attack some guards.
  • Jonny Quest TOS
    • "Monster in the Monastery". Performed by Jonny, Hadji and some yeti.
    • "House of the Seven Gargoyles". Dietrich (Norway's greatest acrobatic dwarf, who's dressed as a gargoyle) does this while following the others to Professor Ericson's demonstration.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Wise-Quacking Duck", Daffy Duck comes down the banister just fine, but then turns a statue holding a spear so that the tip gets his pursuer.
    • In "Napoleon Bunny-parte", Bugs Bunny is being chased by Napoleon (yes that Napoleon) down a banister, while a guard is waiting at the bottom with a bayonet. Bugs gets off early, so it's "Nappy" who gets the point in the end.
  • In the Tex Avery MGM cartoon "One Ham's Family", a Bratty Half-Pint slides down a banister with a pricey-looking vase on the finial. He comes to a Screeching Stop just millimeters from the vase, then tells the audience, "I've got me good brakes, haven't I, folks?"
    • In "Dumb-Hounded", the Wolf is sliding down a banister to get away from Droopy. However, Droopy suddenly appears behind him and comments "Fun, isn't it?", causing the Wolf to to a Wild Take and slide up the banister.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart occasionally slides down the banister.
    • Homer and Marge comment that Shary Bobbins butt waxed the banister, too.
  • The Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Night Of Fright Is No Delight". As the two green ghosts are fleeing Shaggy and Scooby, they jump on to a stair's banister and slide down in in an attempt to escape.
  • In Curious George, the monkey does this while standing up. He jumps off before the end.
  • In Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, Cinderella and two of her mouse friends do this at the palace.
  • Doug does this in "Doug's On His Own".
  • Used many times in Madeline.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Adoptcalypse Now" Coco grinds down the banister then jumps off. Later in "Cuckoo for Coco Cards" Edwardo attempts to go down the banister backwards, going so slowly that the finial isn't an issue.

    Real Life 
  • The Vancouver, British Columbia, public transit system is full of plastic speed bumps on escalator dividers and other banisters specifically to avert this trope, or at least make any attempts painful and not worth it. (With good reason, considering how steep some of the ones downtown are.)
    • The same things are also found on The London Underground, where they are usually seen as opportunities to put alternating advertising and safety/security messages.
  • During a 2013 Buffalo Bills-New York Jets game, a man slid down a stair railing repeatedly before falling off the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium onto a fan below. He was later found guilty of assault.

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alternative title(s): Bannister Slide
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