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In many episodes of The Simpsons or Futurama, a character (usually drunk or sad) walks in the dark with neon signs moving in the background; where does this come from?

A few examples:

  • The Simpsons S17E12: Homer cannot find a shop that sells his favourite blue pants.

  • The Simpsons S05E08 Bart and Milhouse get "drunk" on an all-syrup Squishee sold by Apu and have one of these moments.

  • Futurama S01E03 Bender doesn't drink alcool for a while and has one of these walks:

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I believe the earliest example is the 1945 film "The Lost Weekend".

"The film also made famous the "character walking toward the camera as neon signs pass by" camera effect."

You can find the relevant scenes in the film here, from 01:05:00 onwards

Purely as a matter of interest, There's an entire tropes page devoted to the genre of 'Drunken Montages'

  • This is also confirmed by The Infosphere: theinfosphere.org/I,_Roommate – DisgruntledGoat Nov 26 '15 at 19:05
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    @DisgruntledGoat - Is that website three times larger than two normal wiki sites? – user7812 Nov 26 '15 at 19:34
  • what on earth do you mean? – DisgruntledGoat Nov 27 '15 at 0:02
  • @DisgruntledGoat - I thought you'd spot the reference :-) – user7812 Nov 27 '15 at 0:38
  • I would say it's a nod to old noire films, myself. Even in Taxi Driver, which is self-consciously noire-ish, there's plenty of great scenes where Travis is driving through the night with neon signs garishly punctuating the darkness of the city. – user27684 Nov 30 '15 at 5:35

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