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Alice wants Bob for something, whether because she wants to talk to him face-to-face, kill him, or she's just leaving and is looking back over her shoulder. Suddenly a bus or large truck comes out of nowhere between the two, and in the split second it takes to pass, Bob has mysteriously disappeared.

This may happen when Bob is apparently not looking, and therefore wouldn't know when to duck out of sight; alternatively, Bob may be standing there, grinning and staring at Alice, right before he disappears.

If Bob really wants to show off he'll do this with a single person walking past, rather than a vehicle.

Related to the Stealth Hi Bye, but with large noisy wheeled props. See also Train Escape.

Examples of Vehicle Vanish include:

Anime and Manga


  • The Trainman disappears behind a train this way, in the beginning of The Matrix: Revolutions.
  • Subverted in National Treasure. Nicholas Cage is being tailed by the villains. A bus passes in front of him... and when it's finally passed, we and the villains both see him high-tailing it.
    • Played straight earlier when Riley is waiting for a kid he's been bribing to write down specific letters from a museum display. Ian is in the museum as well and sees the kid writing down individual letters, which he knows are for a clue. In the meantime, Riley saw what he was writing (now in full) inscribed on the Liberty Bell in an ad on the side of a bus. By the time Ian and the kid run outside, the bus has passed and Riley is gone.
  • In Spider-Man 3 Peter leaves a confrontation with Harry in a diner, then once he's across the street glances back; Harry gives him a sinister smile, then a truck passes and Harry is gone from the diner. How he achieved this is unclear, as there's nothing in his goblin powers that suggest super speed. Perhaps he just ducked under the table?
  • In Billy Elliot, Billy's friend vanishes like this after they have a conversation. A strange use of this trope, as it happens randomly in the middle of a gentle family comedy about a boy's dreams of being a dancer.
  • Used extensively in Entrapment, with trains, cars, and crowds.
  • Inverted in the first Blade movie, when we see the titular hero latch onto a train as it passes by, and he dislocates his shoulder in the process.
  • Charles Bronson's character in Once Upon a Time in the West makes his first appearance this way.
  • The kid in Cop and a Half disappears this way.
  • Unusual variant in the Buster Keaton film Cops-- to get away from a pursuing crowd of policeman, Buster does a one-armed grab on a fairly fast-moving truck and is yanked away! Strong shoulders!
  • At the end of Wanted, Wesley Gibson is seen, battered and bleeding, checking the ATM to see if he still has a fuckload of money sitting in the bank for him, his account is pretty much empty, and Wesley collapses in front of the machine. A truck passes by, and suddenly...
  • True Lies
  • Chow Yun Fat does this alot on The Replacement Killers
  • Inverted in the film version of Harry Potter: Harry is waiting for Dumbledore at a tube station, and looks across at the deserted platform opposite. A train goes past, and Dumbledore only appears once it's gone.
  • Used early on in Home Alone 3.
  • Reversed in a scene from Killer Klowns From Outer Space with a little old lady sitting alone on a bench. A bus passes through the shot in front of her at full speed. When the bus is gone, one of the killer klowns is mysteriously sitting beside her.
  • Clint Eastwood in The Western Pale Rider does this with a train, one of several Stealth Hi Bye scenes that suggest he's a supernatural figure. However the train is moving slowly so there's plenty of time for him to have simply ridden away, leaving the whole question ambiguous.
  • Like so many other tropes, 1941 takes this to the extreme with three Vehicle Vanishes in a row, one of which we see from behind the vehicle, demonstrating how the trick works.


 She stepped into the street. A bus pulled into the crosswalk behind her, concealing her from Mayland Long's sight. A black Lincoln stopped at the corner parallel to her path, then turned right into the crosswalk.

The light changed as Mr. Long reached the corner. He raised his eyes over the roofs of the cars, seeking the blue dress along the next block.

She was not there.

 As though the future was flashing before my eyes, I felt a sudden conviction that when the train had finished going past, Kuyou would no longer be standing on the other side of the line. Somehow she would be standing right behind me instead, reaching out her pale, ghost-like hands...

A terrible delusion. The train went past. The red warning lights, relieved of their duty, stopped flashing. And the black figure of Kuyou was standing, as ever, on the other side of the gates.

Live Action TV

  • Used in the title sequence of Bottom as Richie disappears behind a fast moving bus.
  • Occurs near the end of X-Play's "Passion of the Christ 2: Judgement Day" parody. Jesus is standing on a sidewalk, a car passes by and he's gone. Watch it here.
  • Deliberately invoked in the Mission Impossible episode "Leona" in order to convince a mobster that he is seeing visions of his dead wife. Casey, disguised as the dead wife, is pulled into the van as it passes, causing her 'vanish' in the moment she she is out of sight.
  • White Collar: While it's done for the viewer's benefit rather than a character's, Matthew Keller does this at the end of "Payback".
  • Justified in an The X-Files episode with a shapeshifting alien, who simply changes his face while being interviewed by a detective when a truck passes between him and the security camera. The detective looks up from his notepad and sees an apparently different person, who casually walks away.
  • Happens in the third episode of Wild Boys. Butler vanishes during a gunfight with Jack, when the gold coach and its escort of troopers passes between them.
  • MacGyver: In "For Love or Money", Mac and Pete are watching a pair of defectors at the zoo who disappear when a crowd of pedestrians temporarily blocks the view.
  • The Observer of Fringe has done this once or twice, in addition to more mundane vanishing.
  • In Season 9 of Smallville, Major Zod realizes that Tess has played him. He looks across the street, and sees Tess raising her coffee cup in a sarcastic salute to him. A truck passes and in that split second, Tess is somehow gone. Unless she somehow jumped onto the side of the truck and rode away with it, one wonders exactly how Tess did this, considering the fact that she has no superpowers.

Real Life

  • Artist Ryan Estrada just recently made a blog post indicating he made a mad dash into a shop, so that it would appear he did this to the people who were watching him watching them.

Video Games

  • In The Last Remnant, a guy who's so badass that he is only known as "The Conqueror" managed to pull this off with a passing SOLDIER.
  • Similar to the above, Thane the Drell assassin from Mass Effect 2 manages to this when two bystanders cross between him and the camera. One of them even looks back, as if wondering where he went.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in an episode of American Dad, when Stan and Roger try to transport Jeff to Florida to claim a bounty on his head. Stan and Jeff are on opposite sides of a train track, and Stan yells to Roger to "chase after him! He's getting away." The train passes between them, and Jeff is still standing next to Stan's car.
  • Likewise subverted in Family Guy: missing their flight, Brian and Stewie have to improvise a cross-country trip back to Quahog. They find the cops investigating a car they stole, a semi passes by, and they're gone... until the camera pans over and shows them standing just a few feet to one side. "Maybe we should've jumped on that truck..."
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