"Don't worry boy, another girder always swings in for you to walk on when you get to the end."A common stock setting, the construction zone, normally pictured as the skeleton of a sky scraper made up of steel beams, tends to be the place that every sleep walker or escaped baby inevitably wanders into, giving way to crazy slapstick antics as their pursuer tries desperately to catch up with them and keep them out of harm's way. Said constructions zones almost always have No OSHA Compliance, so when our bumbling protagonist gets a job working at one, there's bound to be trouble. Things to watch out for include super-heated rivets, malfunctioning elevators, wooden beams or steel girders dangling from cranes (which have an eerie way of positioning themselves at just the right moment to prevent someone from falling), or spilled grease upon a high steel beam threatening to send a character sliding off a ten-plus story drop. Also, expect to see a Literal Cliff Hanger, though if someone actually falls, they're likely to just safely land in liquid cement and become statues when they try to climb out. It doesn't show up very often today, but Western Animation kept it alive long after it mostly fell out of use in Live Action Film.
— Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, "The Fool Monty"
open/close all folders
- In one commercial, a granny walks into a construction site and into the path of an out-of-control steamroller. Chevy Chase comes to the rescue!...but it turns out he only wanted to save the bag of Doritos Tortilla Thins she was carrying. An alternate version depicts the commercial being interrupted (complete with Letting the Air Out of the Band) by the news that Chevy got cancelled out of it. Chevy manages to keep the Doritos bag, but the granny steals it back from him the same way he took it from her in the original commercial.
- In a commercial for Energizer batteries, two construction workers on their lunch break are seen on a skyscraper, talking about Vintage Farms Deli Loaf, the fictional product being advertised. Just then, the Energizer Bunny (who is dressed in a hard hat) interrupts the commercial by marching across the skyscraper. As the Bunny does this, he falls off the skyscraper, but lands on a steel girder being lifted by a crane, much to the bewilderment of the two workers.
- The Three Stooges' short How High Is Up? has the Stooges taking jobs as construction workers and ending up working on the 97th floor. Hilarity Ensues.
- Harold Lloyd was the Trope Codifier, and probably the Trope Maker, in Never Weaken, in which his character ends up being whisked away by a steel girder whilst attempting suicide, and is carried onto a building still under construction.
- Charlie Chaplin's Pay Day features the Tramp's zany antics as a construction worker.
- The Laurel and Hardy silent short Liberty climaxes with the duo getting stranded atop an unfinished skyscraper...with a live crab in Ollie's pants, no less.
- The film Baby's Day Out makes use of this trope after two crooks chase a kidnapped baby into a construction zone.
- No Deposit No Return. Jay, Bert, and Duster end up on one of these after accidentally sliding off the roof of their apartment.
- The climactic fight between Holmes and Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes takes place on London's half-built Tower Bridge.
Live Action TV
- Soap: Burt owns a construction company and brings stepson Danny into the business. At one point they're up on the high iron talking and accidentally knock over a bucket full of rivets.
- The 1990s Cult Classic Game Sleep Walker, which was Exactly What It Says on the Tin had a few levels centred around this.
- In Elite Beat Agents, the Bonus Level using "ABC" by the Jackson 5 where the Agents have to help a cat keep its owners' baby from getting into trouble as it wanders through a construction site.
- The Popeye short "A Dream Walking" has Olive Oyl sleepwalk into a construction site, as Popeye and Bluto try to stop her from killing herself.
- A Recycled Script short "Nix on Hypnotricks" has Olive wander into a construction site after being hypnotized.
- In "Child Shockology", Popeye and Bluto chase an escaped Sweet Pea, who wanders into a construction site.
- The short "Bridge Ahoy!" has Popeye, Olive and Wimpy building a bridge to compete with Bluto's ferry business, and Bluto attempts to sabotage them. A rare non-skyscraper example.
- The Tom and Jerry short "Tot Watchers" has the duo try to protect a baby who wanders into a construction zone.
- The Donald Duck short "The Riveter" has Donald work as a construction worker, and incurring the wrath of his boss after his jackhammer goes out of control.
- In the short "Clock Cleaners", Goofy unknowingly wanders into one after being hit on the head and put into a daze.
- The early Mickey Mouse short "Building a Building" has Mickey working at a construction site.
- And before Mickey, there was the Oswaldthe Lucky Rabbit short, "Sky Scrappers", with the same concept.
- This was also used in The Garfield Show episode "Jon's Night Out".
- The Animaniacs Buttons and Mindy short "Cat on a Hot Steel Beam" has Mindy chase a kitten into a construction site while Buttons chases after her, as shown in the above screenshot. Eventually, some actual workmen find her and take her to safety, leaving Buttons to take the blame as usual. In fact at one point, both Popeye and Tom and Jerry make a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo chasing after babies in homage to their respective shorts that used this trope.
- "Slappy Goes Walnuts" begins with Slappy watching an old cartoon of her working a skyscraper.
- The Looney Tunes cartoon "Homeless Hare" features a battle between Bugs Bunny and a burly construction worker on a building site, including a dazed Bugs, after taking a girder to the face, walking through a harrowing series of moving girders and other objects.
- Chuck Jones' "Cat Feud" takes place at a construction site, with a dog trying to rescue a kitten.
- The late '60s short "Skyscraper Caper" has Daffy Duck sleepwalking into a construction site, and Speedy Gonzales trying to rescue him.
- 1941's "Rhapsody In Rivets" has a construction team assembling a skyscraper to the ubiquitous Liszt Rhapsody.
- The Fairly Oddparents has an entire short tributing this trope. Pappy describes to Timmy how one can wander into a construction site almost by accident and be saved from falling off it by a moving girder.
- A little later on in the series, Timmy is watching Poof while Cosmo and Wanda go out to eat at a fancy restaurant. They up the ante with 3 construction sites, the last one being in space where Dark Laser is building a brand new Death Ball.
- On The Penguins of Madagascar the penguins chase a baby into a demolition site, with Kowalski Lampshading it all the way through.
- The climax of Mr. Bug Goes to Town has the bug characters scrambling up a skyscraper under construction on the vacant lot where they used to live, staying within a hairsbreadth away from being crushed by bricks being laid or shaken off by riveters.
- The 2 Stupid Dogs episode "Seeing Eye Dogs" have the two dogs leading a mostly-blind Hollywood on a "shortcut" through a construction site.
- In The Simpsons episode "The Fool Monty", Homer leads a dazed and amnesiac Mr. Burns to a construction site in the hopes of bumping him off via this manner.
Homer: Hmm...Probably better that didn't hit me.
- In "King Size Homer", Homer wanders into hardhat area in an attempt to deliberately injure himself so he can be put on disability at work. After he tries and fails to get hit with falling construction tools, a worker gets crushed by a wheelbarrow full of cinderblocks.
- In the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, the titular mystery heroine saves construction workers from a collapsing construction site.
- This happens in Fluppy Dogs while Jamie is taking Stanley out for a walk, not realizing that he is actually a sentient being. When Stanley escapes and leads Jamie to a construction site, Jamie tries to climb up a ladder to a support beam, only for the ladder to give away, leaving Jamie dangling off the beam, prompting Stanley to reveal his true nature by saving Jamie.
- In their ABC debut, Scooby-Doo and his teenage pals encounter a spectre haunting a construction site in "Hi-Rise Hair Raiser."
- In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Last Train to Cashville", Dale is sleep-deprived as the rangers try to foil Fat Cat's plans, and begins to sleepwalk, right into a construction zone, narrowly avoiding death several times thanks to his friends chasing after him and conveniently-placed girders.