Had an odd thought today. I remember a scene from Felicity where one of the characters gets suddenly run over by a bushttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wisMigONTek&t=15
You know this scene now. Music is generic or there is no music at all. Shot is fairly wide on the subject and static. With little or no warning, subject is knocked offscreen by an oncoming vehicle.
This is a scene that has been used so many times since that it is pretty much impossible to do anymore. I was watching a bit of the movie "One Day" and the scene was telegraphed so badly that is was almost comical http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nkN_g-KoDk
So, it turns out that the Felicity scene aired in early 1999.
Prior to this, there is this scene from Meet Joe Black (1998), although it is a little different.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDdN_b6TjYo
There's actually a tv tropes page on this, although they are very loose with the definition, and they include comedy when this is specifically the dramatic version of the accident.
Can anyone remember a scene like this from prior to 1998-1999?