What's the best way to indicate that an aristocrat or other person of wealth has arrived at an engagement? By rolling out the red carpet, of course! Making an entrance by walking on red carpet is a symbol of both fame and luxury. It immediately identifies a person using it as someone important. Alternatively, it may be used in a Prince and Pauper story to show the Pauper is now being considered a man of upper-class stature after the switch has been made by showing him walking on this.
This trope tends to come in two flavors: either the palace of the King or wealthy man will be decorated with red carpet, or a literal red carpet will be rolled out to mark his/her arrival at some event. The chance of seeing an actual red carpet being rolled out (rather than already being set on the floor when the scene begins) by servants or attendants is increased if watching an animated work. That way it is easier to show a red carpet being rolled out the exact moment the VIP sets his/her foot on the ground.
This is also a luxury trope that has survived many long centuries and can be seen both in works set in older time periods and the modern day. The earliest known reference to this attention-drawing symbol is from an Ancient Greek play.
- In Season 7 episode 3 of Happy Heroes, when Keke first enters the Supermen's classroom, she rolls out a red carpet for her stylish entrance and walks in on it.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the beginning of episode 495, Wolffy arrives at a show well-dressed. He begins walking down a red carpet and waving at everyone, only for him to fall over on a watermelon.
- A Love Like Blood: A very gory variation appears when vampire Lord Karkossa arrives to dine with his followers. The vampires arrange a row of helpless humans and then slit all their throats to create a bloody "red carpet" for their master to walk on.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the door to the factory's all-important Chocolate Room is reached by walking down a red carpet.
- Captian Hook's ship in Hook invokes the trope by having a mechanism installed in the stairs leading to the captain's quarters which, when kicked in the right spot on a nearby post, will flip open a series of hidden panels with red carpeting on it down the stairs. Hook always waits for the carpeting to appear before descending the stairs. It even gets Inverted when Peter shows up and challenges Hook — the carpeting is "un-rolled" back up the stairs in a display of rather petty snobbery by Hook as the whole pirate crew mocks Peter before the latter simply flies up to confront him.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Ayesha makes a Big Entrance with a ridiculously long entourage, including two minions deploying a carpet (albeit a blue one) from a roller so her feet won't get cold in the snow. Then the roller gets jammed.
- Mars Attacks!. One is rolled out for the Flying Saucer, which obligingly rolls out a tongue-like ramp to connect with it. It doesn't do any good.
- Dune (2021). A Spheroid Dropship bearing a herald of the Emperor of the Known Universe and other assorted dignitaries lands on Caladan, where a broad carpet and an honor guard have been arranged on the wet landing pad as befits the Feudal Future of the year 10,191 AG. Even the dropship's ramp has its own carpet! The carpets are of a bluish color, rather than red.
- In The Runaway Carpet, the doorman to the Bellevue rolls out a red carpet in preparation for the Duke of Sultana's visit...and it keeps rolling all the way to the dock.
- Charlie Wilson's War. Lampshaded when Wilson advises President Zia to "roll out the reddest carpet" for Congressman 'Doc' Long, chairman of the Appropriations Committee that doles out foreign aid. Zia obliges. Not only does Long get the literal red carpet, he also gets a brass band, a guard of honor, and even children handing him flowers.
- Doctor Who. Lampshaded in The Timeless Children" when the Master is inviting the Cybermen in to conquer Gallifrey.
The Master: I promise I'll roll out the red carpet. It's red because it's drenched in the blood of our people.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation. In "Code of Honor", Captain Picard and his senior officers wait for Lutan, king of the planet Ligon III, to teleport on board. Instead his entourage beams up first, unrolls a red carpet, and then the king beams up.
- In an episode of Parks and Recreation, Tom reveals that he puts red carpet on the inside of his shoes so he can walk on red carpet everywhere he goes.
- The earliest known reference in history is from a Greek play titled Agamemnon by Aeschylus. A red carpet is rolled out for the returning hero, but he is apprehensive because only the gods deserve such honor.
- One is rolled out in front of the gates to Wonka's Factory in the 2013 stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- If you put in the work to get Aerith her best dress in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Johnny brings a red carpet with him and rolls it out onto the bridge leading to Don Corneo's mansion, revealing her to Cloud in style replete with fireworks and onlookers gasping in awe.
- In Illusion of Gaia, Edward Castle has every room decorated with regal red carpets. This becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker when you visit another location late in the game and learn that these carpets are hand-knit by women since their childhood and each one takes forty years to complete.
- Red carpets are still used for Heads of State when traveling.
- Events marked by the appearances of many celebrities typically feature a red carpet. The Academy Awards are a prominent example.