This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Cameo Prop

Many writers are fanboys, just like us. That said, it is not unreasonable for them to want to throw in some reference to one of their favorite works. Sometimes, however, said element is a bit more blatant, and a lot more physical. This is the idea behind a Cameo Prop. It originally has nothing to do with the work of fiction or the series it is appearing in, but, usually, for sake of novelty, someone throws it in.

Let's say an episode of a show involves Bob going to an auction and winning the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland when filming The Wizard of Oz. The rest of the episode might involve Bob wearing them (much to everyone's amusement), and even reenacting scenes from the movie. Almost always, he'll end up losing them in the end.

A cameo prop is specific: Having a Red Stapler or (especially) Aluminum Christmas Trees does not make it a cameo prop. Here's some examples to help make the difference clear.

  • Example A: A DMC DeLorean appearing in a Die Hard movie. This model of car is famous for being that of the car from Back to the Future, however this is an ordinary DeLorean. Not a Cameo Prop.
  • Example B: The DeLorean from Back to the Future appearing in a Die Hard movie, complete with all the gear on the back, flux capacitor between seats, time gauge, everything. A Cameo Prop.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover miniseries includes a scene where the villain informs the heroes that they are not the first time travelers to attempt to thwart his schemes. He shows them a huge room with at least 20 different impounded time travel devices, including a Stargate, a modified DeLorean, and even a Hot Tub Time Machine. The full two-page spread can be seen here. There's also a copy of the image with annotations further down the page, if you can't identify them all.
  • In one Jon Sable, Freelance story, The Maltese Falcon (the actual prop used in the 1941 film) is a literal example, and the MacGuffin.

    Film - Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In Real Life, nearly any time David Hasselhoff appears in something just to show off, he'll be accompanied by K.I.T.T. K.I.T.T itself has often shown up in various works of fiction, mostly for Rule of Cool.