Real Vaudeville shows would Drop The Cow
on bad or overly long acts with "the hook", a shepherd's crook
extended from offstage to pull away the performer. But in cartoons, you don't even need to be on a stage to get the hook. Any bad performance can get the hook, even if you're performing on top of a fence - it just reaches out from Behind the Black
and drags you offscreen. Wearing a red-and-white vertically striped shirt and a straw boater makes you especially susceptible to this, as does dancing while holding a cane. Spending a while dodging the hook, continuing to perform all the while, before eventually getting snared is a common feature.
Though he didn't originate it, the hook is forever associated with "Sandman" Sims, a tap dancer who would use the hook on bad acts at the Apollo Theatre.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, this happens to Donald Duck and Daffy Duck in the Ink-n-Paint Club. After several minutes of trying to sabotage one another's piano playing, Donald fires a cannon at Daffy's piano, flooring his own and destroying Daffy's. Both of them, along with their pianos, are dragged off-stage with hooks.
- In the new The Muppets movie. One of these is used to grab most of the other Muppets during the montage.
- Used in one of Hal Roach's Our Gang comedies, in which one of the mothers tried to drag her boy offstage with the hook... but kept missing him, first popping a couple of stage lights, then badly electrocuting herself when the metal crook got caught in the live socket.
- A vaudeville performer (complete with fez and revolving bowtie) gets pulled off of an illustration by a vaudeville hook in the Murderous Maths book Desperate Measures for the joke "Why isn't my nose twelve inches long? Because if it was it would be a foot.".
- Garfield: Garfield sometimes gets the hook when he's doing his fence act.
- One Farley strip, when Bruin Hilda was running for mayor of San Francisco, had the beaver sing a campaign song (to the tune of "Saw Her Standing There". Hilda is thinking "Get the hook".
- Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun, when five objects are dropped during the juggling act.
- Peacock from Skullgirls exits the stage this way when switching out characters.
- Referenced in Basic Instructions, when Mullet Boss says that his great-aunt was a professional vaudeville "hook-dodger" — "she started as a bad singer, and the act evolved from there".
- In extras of Shrek 2, there's a American Idol-esque singing contest, and Captain Hook, while playing "Hooked on a Feeling", is removed from the stage in this manner.
- Happens to Donald Duck in shorts like "Orphans' Benefit" and "Mickey's Amateurs".
- Futurama: Zoidberg is doing stand up at the Apollo and gets the hook. He tries to avoid it only to have another one whack him in the head and pull him away.
- In one episode of Batman The Animated Series, a disguised Joker shows up on stage and starts performing at a stand-up comedy competition - right as the judges are about to announce the winner. He gets pulled off stage with one of these on the grounds that since he hadn't registered as a participant, he had no business being there. A year later, Joker steals some mind control chips from the Mad Hatter, uses them to turn the judges into third-rate supervillains, and arranges for himself to be the only contestant in that year's competition - with his henchmen as the new judges.
- In Quest For Camelot's If I Didn't Have You song, there's a part where a line of eggs with dragon feet sticking out dance across the screen. They are promptly yanked off-screen.
- Happens to Batman(!) in Batman The Brave And The Bold just when he's about to be caught and brought to "justice" for the crimes committed by his evil alternate-Earth doppelganger, courtesy of the Joker.
- In one episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Wilt is making a spectacular mess of his introductory speech to a talent show, and gets pulled off in this manner when he's so flustered he can no longer even apologise for his mistakes coherently. Madame Foster then comments how he was much better than last year.