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It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end.

Any comedy whose set includes an elaborate staircase with a long, swooping banister will inevitably require someone to slide down that banister. Such slides are often rear-end first.

Half of the time, the slider will not realize until it's too late that there's a finial at the very bottom just waiting to hit them in the crotch. The other half of the time, either there is no finial (as is the case in the opening to Wait Till Your Father Gets Home) or it will break off harmlessly when the slider hits it. In either of these cases, the slider then ends up sprawled uninjured on the floor.

Examples of Banister Slide include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yotsubato: Yotsuba does this while racing her dad down the stairs to a shrine.


  • Mary Poppins does this effectively. She also goes up the banister this way.
  • Shrek does this facing forward, and has to deal with the finial problem the hard way. Fortunately, ogres are tough.
  • Magenta does this in the Rocky Horror Picture Show causing the famous Audience Participation line --

 Magenta: You're lucky, he's lucky, I'm lucky, we're all lucky!


  • Utilised by multiple fraternity boys (admittedly, most likely drunk and stoned at the time) during a musical number in Across the Universe.
  • Octopussy: Bond slides down a banister while firing a gun, saw the newel post at the end, and blew it off just in time to avoid a ballistic groin impairment.
  • Chow Yun-Fat's Tequila does a bannister slide of his own with Guns Akimbo in a classic shot from the first shootout of John Woo's Hard Boiled.
  • Sister Act II: Whoopi Goldberg does this dressed as a nun.
  • The Avengers 1998. Mrs. Peel does a short one during her sword duel with Steed.
  • Spaceballs. Colonel Sanders, Dark Helmet and President Skroob do this to get to the Self-Destruct Mechanism's cancellation button.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, Tack and the Thief go down the banister of a labyrinthine staircase in the Sultan's palace.
  • In Starship Troopers, Carmen Ibanez does a short one while running to a shuttle.
  • In the 1982 film Annie, Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily slide down a bannister during the Easy Street number.
  • Toy Story. As Andy is playing with Woody near the beginning, he sends Woody on a banister.
  • Provides an important plot point in Thirteen Ghosts, as it is the place where the money is hidden.

Comic Books

  • Mad Magazine's spoof of the 1991 The Addams Family movie had, in one panel, a disembodied bum sliding down a banister.
  • In Volume 5 of Scott Pilgrim, the hero does this, ending with a flying kick to the face of his own brother, whom he had mistaken for Gideon. The panel even features the word "BUTT-SLIDE" in large text.


  • In the novel version of Ella Enchanted, Ella's father and new step mother walk in on her and the prince enjoying themselves sliding down the giant banister in the castle in which the wedding has just taken place. Her new family members are not amused.
  • A much milder version shows up in the first novel of the Malloreon. Eriond and Prince Kheva set up piles of pillows at the end of their banisters ... but Polgara walks in on their game just as one pillow burst and sent feathers all over. Having had some two thousand years of experience raising little boys, all she does is laugh and tell them they need to clean up the feathers.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Mile Vorkosigan does one near the beginning of The Warrior's Apprentice because he's got two broken legs, and is supposed to stay off his feet. Fortunately his father was at the bottom of the stairs, and managed to catch him.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, the banister slide is weaponized in a fight, when one character uses it to gain momentum before launching himself at their foes.
  • The Queen's Museum and Other Fanciful Tales, short story "The Christmas Truants". The boy Tomtit does one of these while the title characters are trying to escape the castle of a band of robbers.

Live Action TV

  • In The 10th Kingdom, the false Prince Wendell enters his coronation party by jumping on a banister and sliding down into the crowd.
  • Home Improvement: when Tim's mother moves out of the house Tim grew up in, Tim reminisces about sliding down the bannister. His brothers comment that Tim was the only one brave enough to go down facing forward, to which Tim replies that he was able to have kids anyway. Later, he takes a "slide down memory lane," and answers the door with a falsetto voice.
  • In Have I Got News for You, Paul Merton claimed that "sliding down the banister" was the appropriate method before toilet paper was invented. When it was pointed out that this would make the bannister unusable for its intended purpose, he retorted that "of course you had your shit bannister and then you had your hand bannister. You don't see them nowadays because they were all melted down during World War Two to make Spitfires".
  • Red Skelton told a story about his son Richard sliding down the banister. Richard says, "You know that vase with 'Whistler's Mother' on it? The old girl just had a nervous breakdown!" Red goes on to say that Richard told him he wouldn't do that again- "I was going south and I met a splinter going north!"
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai pretends to try/actually tries to persuade Rory to slide down the banister at her debutante ball. Rory doesn't do it.
  • Discussed on QI of course. And, of course, plenty of buzzers went off on the mention of the word 'bannister'. Apparently, the correct term is 'balustrade' for the top part, and 'baluster' for the uprights.

 Jo Brand: When I was in college I slid down a barrister.

Phill Jupitus: Did you hit yourself on the knob at the end?


Newspaper Comics

  • Otto Soglow's The Little King once showed the title character doing this, taking care to have his servants place a cushion in front of the sharp-pointed finial sculpture.
  • Nemo and Flip slide down a very long and winding banister in Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ends up going in zig-zags, wavy bumps, and cork screws. It was later also done in the movie.

Tabletop RPG


Video Games

Western Animation

  • The sharp object variant occurred in the Quick Draw McGraw short "El Kabong": The villain Don Chilada waited at the bottom to jab the banister-sliding Quick Draw with the tip of his sword.
  • The opening sequence to each episode of popular Czech bedtime story Mach a Sebestova shows the boy sliding and blinking with his ear to signal turns.
  • The opening sequence to the Dennis the Menace cartoon showed Dennis doing this. He may have done it a time or two in the live-action TV series as well.
    • Also the case for the other Dennis the Menace, in this case before Dennis reached the bottom of the bannister Gnasher pulled a lever which made the knob at the end of the banister slide down into it allowing Dennis to fly off the end!.
      • He did this in a 1980s The Beano strip, too, but Mum had sewn sandpaper into his shorts (Dennis hadn't noticed) thus sanding the banister down. This was one of several unwittingly helpful things he did in that issue, with a bemused Dennis getting rewarded instead of being punished at the end.
  • Arabian Knights episode "Sky Raiders of the Desert". Both Turjan and Bez slide down a stair banister to attack some guards.
  • Jonny Quest TOS
    • "Monster in the Monastery". Performed by Jonny, Hadji and some yeti.
    • "House of the Seven Gargoyles". Dietrich (Norway's greatest acrobatic dwarf, who's dressed as a gargoyle) does this while following the others to Professor Ericson's demonstration.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Wise-Quacking Duck", Daffy Duck comes down the banister just fine, but then turns a statue holding a spear so that the tip gets his pursuer.
    • In "Napoleon Bunny-parte", Bugs Bunny is being chased by Napoleon (yes that Napoleon) down a banister, while a guard is waiting at the bottom with a bayonet. Bugs gets off early, so it's "Nappy" who gets the point in the end.
  • In the Tex Avery MGM Cartoons "One Ham's Family", a Bratty Half-Pint slides down a banister with a pricey-looking vase on the finial. He comes to a Screeching Stop just millimeters from the vase, then tells the audience, "I've got me good brakes, haven't I, folks?"
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart occasionally slides down the banister.
    • Homer and Marge comment that Shary Bobbins butt waxed the banister, too.
  • Scooby Doo Where Are You episode "A Night Of Fright Is No Delight". As the two green ghosts are fleeing Shaggy and Scooby, they jump on to a stair's banister and slide down in in an attempt to escape.
  • Abby Hatcher episode 'Big Terry' has Abby do it front-first down a small bannister at the start.

Real Life

  • The Vancouver, British Columbia, public transit system is full of plastic speed bumps on escalator dividers and other banisters specifically to avert this trope, or at least make any attempts painful and not worth it. (With good reason, considering how steep some of the ones downtown are.)