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The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

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The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Old 11-22-10, 02:51 PM
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The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

During the past October Horror movie challenge I saw a ton of movies (OK, only 71) and I saw again and again a gag that has been DONE TO DEATH, one that goes for the cheapest of all jump scares. I'm talking about the "hand on the shoulder" scene. You know the one... Character 1 is looking in one direction and all of a sudden from off-screen a hand comes and grabs them on the shoulder, there's some loud music or sound effect to jolt us and then the camera pans and it's revealed that it's only Character 2 which seeks to get Character 1's attention by sneaking up to them and grabbing their shoulder - WHO THE HELL DOES THAT ANYWAY? I've never done it, nor have I ever seen anyone else do it in real life. And what's worse is that IT'S STILL USED TODAY. The latest example that I saw was in the Christina Ricci film After.Life.
Anyway, the oldest film I saw with this gag was The Ghost (with Barbara Steele), 1963. My request is that anyone post an older film than this one that uses this gag so that we may find the original culprit of this oft-repeated scene.
Old 11-23-10, 12:53 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

probably the first version of Cat and the Canary from the 20's. It is certainly in many movies from the 40's. Not able to research them now however
Old 11-23-10, 04:30 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Came in looking for a proctologist joke, leaving disappointed.
Old 11-23-10, 07:42 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Originally Posted by pagefrance View Post
WHO THE HELL DOES THAT ANYWAY?
I do that all the time. My wife LOVES it. Well, maybe not as much as I do. Or at all. But I certainly do it all the time.
Old 11-23-10, 11:42 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Mod note: Since this is more about a generic movie gag than a specific DVD/movie I'm moving it to the Movie Forum.


BTW I've done that (grab someone on the shoulder) occasionally when I think it'll "get" them
Old 11-24-10, 10:49 AM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Originally Posted by pagefrance View Post
I've never done it, nor have I ever seen anyone else do it in real life.

I sit in an office with my back to the door and people do that to me all the time. And I often JUMP when they do. One girl has figured out how to enter and get my attention without making me jump, God bless her. She makes a kind of soothing siren song as she enters. It's kind of sexy, actually. (And she is, too.)
Old 11-24-10, 01:26 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

There is an early film reel (1890) from Thomas Edison's oeuvre , where he is working at his table and Tesla grabs his shoulder from off camera. Edison was quoted as saying it "Scared the holy shit out of me at the time. I never forgave him for that."

Edison's very slow and angry turn is credited as being the inspiration for the Dramatic Prairie Dog Internet meme in the 21st century.
Old 11-24-10, 03:26 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

1890! I belive we have found the origin of this gag. Thank you.
Old 11-24-10, 03:36 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

But in most horror movies it is done innocently, not designed to scare someone. I wonder when it was first shown that way in a movie?
Old 11-24-10, 03:52 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

Originally Posted by pagefrance View Post
1890! I belive we have found the origin of this gag. Thank you.
(Said with a straight face, no doubt. )
Old 11-24-10, 06:36 PM
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Re: The old "hand on the shoulder" gag - help me find its origin

video of film reel please...

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