Apparently, nothing sparks the imagination of a TV writer stuck for an idea quite like an elevator. When you start to think back over your favorite shows, you almost inevitably find that it will contain a scene that takes place inside an elevator. With so many to choose from, these great moments in TV history involving elevators may not quite be your own favorite. But that’s just it: you wouldn’t possibly be willing to read all the way through an article discussing every single scene involving an elevator in a TV series.
The Bob Newhart Show
Bob Newhart played a psychologist and he had a patient named Mr. Carlin who is a definite contender for most neurotic character on TV. In fact, Mr. Carlin very nearly had an appointment with Dr. Hartley every day of the week. How the man managed to survive the world is beyond me. One of Mr. Carlin’s neuroses is indecisiveness and in one episode Bob is leading Mr. Carlin to the elevators and soothing his psyche by telling him that he’s really improving on the issue of making decisions. At that moment, the doors to both of the elevators in the building simultaneously open. Carlin, unable to decide which elevator to take, storms off in frustration.
Deep Space Nine
The crew of “Deep Space Nine” gets tossed back into the same time period in which the episode of “The Trouble with Tribbles” took place on the original “Star Trek” series. Captain Sisko and find themselves on the Starship Enterprise in the midst of Kirk, Spock and the gang. Keep in mind that the original “Star Trek” took place long before the events portrayed on “Deep Space Nine.” What makes DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” a great moment in TV elevator history is the way it directly references an aspect of science fiction series rarely directed: the advancement of technology. The Deep Space Nine crewmembers are used to voice-activated technology inside an elevator and when they try to replicate this within the much older elevator on board Capt. Kirk’s Enterprise, nothing happens. What is especially funny is that one of the crewmembers is the guy in charge of fixing technology on Deep Space Nine and he can’t figure out how to get the old-fashioned elevator to operate.
Mad About You
The great moment in TV elevator history that occurs in “Mad About You” is also one of the most uncomfortable moments in TV elevator history. Helen Hunt’s character has admitted to husband that she kissed a man. The next day wife, husband and the man who kissed the husband’s wife all find themselves together inside elevator. So prickly is this unexpected domestic situation Paul Reiser, the actor playing the husband, asked with perfect timing if anything could possibly be more awkward. Later, Hunt’s wife exits, leaving Reiser to confront the type of man who would kiss another man’s wife
The Dick Van Dyke Show
In one of less pointlessly constructed as a flashback episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” Rob Petrie is relating to his co-workers a story that happened back when his wife Laura was pregnant. They get onto an elevator with a character played by Don Rickles who promptly presses the stop button and proceeds to hold them up for money. Only problem is, nothing happens when he presses the button to get the elevator moving again. Only on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” could this moment in TV elevator history have been the impetus for a two part episode about a talent show in a prison.
The Adventures of Ellery Queen
“The Adventure of the 12th Floor Express” presents a great moment in TV elevator history that poses a dilemma for amateur detective Ellery Queen. How did the express elevator used just for the newspaper publisher go directly to the 12th floor and open with nobody inside only to open a few seconds later on a lower floor with the publisher lying dead of a gunshot on the floor? Leave it to Jim Hutton’s idiosyncratic writer Ellery Queen to solve the conundrum.