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Surprise Slide Staircase

Crying "weeeeeeeeee" is optional.

This a classic gag often seen in silent films and cartoons: a staircase with hinged, pivoting, or collapsible steps turns into a steep ramp or slide. Often used in sequences where a character climbs the Stairway to Heaven, only to be turned away at the Pearly Gates and sent whizzing down to Hell (compare with Hellevator).


Examples

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Film

Literature
  • In the Harry Potter series, a staircase in Gryffindor House does this to prevent boys from entering the girls' dormitories. The boys' stairs have no such trap.
    • In the final battle of Deathly Hallows, Hermione turns a staircase in a Hogwarts secret passage into a getaway slide to escape from a pair of Death Eaters. Of course, the Death Eaters simply go sliding down after them, so she turns the tapestry covering the entrance at the bottom to stone. CRUNCH.
  • The Hand of Thrawn duology has this built into secret passages in Thrawn's fortress, which causes considerable inconvenience to Luke and Mara.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Dragonlance module DL12 Dragons of Faith. One of the traps in Chafka's Tower is of this type.
    • The Judges Guild modules The Caverns of Thracia and Verbosh each have one of these.
    • Module I2 Tomb of the Lizard King had one of these. Anyone who fell victim to it would slide down into a flaming pit that would kill anyone without fire resistance.
    • Module A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity. The last room of the dungeon (where the Boss Battle takes place) has a long descending stair into the center of the room. If the PCs don't detect and disarm the trap, the stairs will become a slide and the party will slip down it into the room, automatically losing surprise and initiative for the first round of combat.
    • Ravenloft module Adam's Wrath. In Schloss Mordenheim there are two staircases that lead down to the Reception Hall. If a knife switch behind a painting is thrown, the left-hand staircase turns into a slide.
    • The 3rd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide mentioned a sliding staircase trap as a possible dungeon feature.
  • Flying Buffalo's Grimtooth's Traps supplement. The "Slider Spiker" trap uses this trick.
  • Rolemaster Arms Companion. One of these is given as a "Maiming" type trap.

Video Games
  • In Chrono Trigger, Crono, Lucca, and Frog can encounter one in a dungeon located underneath a chapel. There are two stairways to choose from, but the first one taken will always become this, forcing you to go all the way around to get back to the other.
  • A couple of times in the Super Mario Bros. series you have to ascend a flight of stairs within a time limit, or they'll turn into a ramp and return you to the bottom.
  • Wario Land: Shake It! has switchable stair/ramps that can be used to build up momentum.
  • Occurs briefly in LEGO Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy ("Escape from Cloud City" level) and LEGO Indiana Jones ("Well of Souls" level).
    • Actually, LEGO Star Wars contains several of these, in the form of slides that the player must turn into stairs (or build stairs on top of) in order to pass
  • One of those things are present in That One Level in Loco Roco 2.
  • The "Lonesome Ghosts" level of Mickey Mania has a bunch of these.
  • Dragon's Lair has one of these.
  • The Lode Runner clone Wizard uses this as a standard level design mechanic.
  • Near the end of Psychonauts, you run into one of these, with the switch being manned by a bird.
  • Luigi's Mansion 2 has one in the first mansion. Expect a slide when the candles are burning purple.

Western Animation
  • Mickey Mouse encounters one in a 1933 animated short, "The Mad Doctor."
  • Super Friends (1973) episode "The Baffles Puzzle". Wonder Woman is walking down a staircase leading underground when the stairs fold and she slides to the bottom. Watch it here.
  • Occurred in the Scooby-Doo Where Are You! episode "Never Ape An Ape Man". Fred has the rest of the gang run up some stairs while the Ape Man chases them. When the gang reaches the top Fred presses a button, the stairs fold down and the Ape Man slides down them and into a trap.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart Gets Hit By A Car": Bart's escalator to Heaven turns into a slide to Hell after he spits over the side.
    • Played with in the "Bart Simpson's Dracula" segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV." In this case the "surprise" slide actually has a switch that must be pressed from the top of the stairs. Even though Bart realizes that pressing it would be a terrible idea (since the vampiric Mr. Burns has just woken up and the staircase is the only way away from him), he can't resist the urge to press it anyway.
  • Futurama:
    • Played straight in the episode, "Hell is Other Robots", when Fry and Leela are sent down a chute onto a surprise slide.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender season 2 episode The Earth King, Toph collapses the giant stairs leading to the palace into this. She then proceeds to use it as an elevator all while Sokka apologizes to the earth kingdom soldiers.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "The Crystal Empire" has an odd example. When faced with an impossibly tall spiral staircase, Twilight Sparkle pulls off an impressive Dungeon Bypass by casting a spell to invert her gravity, and sliding up the the slope on the bottom of the stairs.
  • In the animated Around the World in 80 Days, one figures into an attempt by Mr. Fix to trap Fogg in a carnival funhouse.
  • One of the traps which Lion-O and Wilykit encounter in the Thundercats episode "The Tower of Traps" is a flight of trick stairs. When Lion-O attempts to pull himself and Wilykit up to the landing, he triggers a surprise slide which sends the two Thundercats right back to the bottom. The only way they can get past this staircase is to vault over it using the Sword of Omens.