Drinks. The men order a bunch of drinks and sit down at the table. There's twenty seconds of conversation for plot development: "How do we know Rocky's out East?" -- "So that means the girl was lying" -- etc. Then the chief says "Let's go", and they all troop off, drinks untouched, dropping a $20 note on the table.

Phone book pages. They're in the phone box, they find the number they want, then they circle it with a thick marker and rip out the whole page.

Rubbish in long lines of rubbish bins. So that the people chasing you stop outside the one you're hiding in, look around trying to decide what direction you went, and finally rush off. (Mainly in cartoons but I bet they do it in Hollywood too.)

The trail of wrecked and useless phone books also leads to other behaviour, such as picking up the phone in Connecticut and saying in an emphatic tone, "Operator, I want to make a person-to-person call to Salvatore Rustiguzzi of 4327 West 415th Street, Molokalani, Hawaii... (two seconds' pause)... Oh hi, Sal...".

Some of them actually do this, it's not just movies. I was staying with a friend and she had the idea of visiting a church fête. There was a telephone table with a telephone on top and a telephone book underneath. She picked up the phone and said, "Operator, can you get me the number of the Greek Orthodox church on...". I stared at her in amazement, then picked up the phone book (in a city I'd never been in before) (in a country I'd never been in), looked it up, and read out the number as she was writing it down.

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