Trope Workshop:Anyone Got a Light?

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"But... who's got a match?"
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A trope associated with (although not exclusive to) the Golden Age of Hollywood: An important person or an attractive woman (or someone who is both) pulls out a cigarette (often in a long, elegant holder). But rather than lighting it themselves, an army of onlookers (usually in a show of lickspittlery) will all thrust forth a hand to offer their own lighters or lit matches. Regardless, there's almost always an element of Smoking Is Glamorous to it.

Sometimes the one whose light is accepted is marked as having the smoker's favor; sometimes in a bizarre case of We All Do It Together, all the offered lights are merged together into a single torchlike flame from which the smoker lights his cigarette, without singling out any particular one.

The smoker may or may not actually have their own light available but it's irrelevant; the point here is having all the flunkies ready to offer one, making use of them, and enjoying the implications of their "service".

Contrast Couldn't Find a Lighter.

Examples of Anyone Got a Light? include:

Film

  • During the Hollywood party scene early in Singin' in the Rain, Lina Lamont holds out a cigarette on a holder and a half-dozen or more strapping young men in tuxedos immediately offer lighters. Unlike most examples of this trope she tosses the cigarette away and laughs.
  • A promotional photo for the 1935 film Goin' To Town shows Mae West with an unlit cigarette in her hand and a five men offering her lighters.
  • A somewhat smaller-scale example can be seen in the original 1932 Scarface, where there is a scene in a speakeasy during which Tony (Paul Muni) and Johnny (Osgood Perkin) offer lights to Poppy (Karen Morely) when she breaks out a cigarette.

Live-Action TV

  • In "Three of a Kind", a sixth-season episode of The X-Files, Dana Scully is in a bar in a drug-induced haze, surrounded by men. When one gives her a cigarette and she asks, "Who's got a match?" they all present lit lighters.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Western Animation

Other Media