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Dynamite Candle

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They bring some light, alright.

Twitchy: [looks in the back of a mine cart] Hey lookie, I found this box of candles! A big box!
The Wolf: A box of candles? Light 'em up!
[Twitchy holds up what is clearly a stick of dynamite with a sparkling fuse]
The Wolf: Wow that's nice and bright. What kind of candles are those?
Twitchy: [looks at the word "DYNAMITE" on the side] Uh, DEE-NA-MEE-TAY. Hmm, must be Italian.
The Wolf: [gasps] Lose the candle!

A character is in a dark area and manages to grab something candle-like and lights it. As he looks around his surroundings, he doesn't notice he actually lit a stick of dynamite! And the room he is in contains a lot more dynamite!

Alternatively, it can be when a birthday cake has dynamite instead of candles.

Subtrope of Similar Item Confusion. See also Matchlight Danger Revelation and Explosive Stupidity.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist features this; May mistakes a stick of dynamite for a candle, but Yoki, in a rare moment of usefulness, stops her. He also points out the dynamite is old and wet anyways and won't explode unless they do something stupid. You can probably guess what happens soon afterwards.

    Comic Books 
  • Commando. "Hour of Reckoning" involved an Italian general who'd been disgraced after losing a battle in North Africa. When the British general that defeated him turns up on his doorstep during the invasion of Italy, he's determined to get revenge. Under the guise of saluting his Worthy Opponent he has his chef prepare a Fancy Dinner, only the cake has a bomb in it! Fortunately the chef is horrified by this Revenge Before Reason, and so the British have an Oh, Crap! reaction when the chef suddenly charges into the room wielding a cleaver...and cuts the lighted candle which is actually a fuse.
  • In the first Paperinik New Adventures story (Donald's superhero alter ego), the hideout is destroyed when Gladstone Gander lights a stick of dynamite, which he believes to be a candle.
    • It's a little more complicated: it was the first story of the original Paperinik, while the revamp Paperinik New Adventures happened almost thirty years later. Also the example makes more sense than most, since the dynamite was designed to look like a candle (and it was...the top part, at least).

    Film - Animated 
  • Hoodwinked! provides us with the page quote and even the Trope Namers.
    "Dee-na-mee-tay. Hm, must be Italian."
  • Woody's Show Within a Show in Toy Story 2 ended on a cliffhanger with Woody on his way to rescue Stinky Pete and Jessie who are trapped in a mine after Stinky Pete had just lit a huge pile of dynamite thinking it was a candle because the last episode never aired.
    "Sure is a fast-burnin' wick."

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The Goonies: A rare example of combining this with Chekhov's Gun; when the Goonies find Chester Copperpot's body, they pick through his satchel and find a bunch of candles, which the camera lingers on long enough to notice one "candle" has some kind of writing on it. Most of them actually are candles, which are lit as they traverse the maze. In the penultimate scene, they're down to the last "candle", which of course is not a candle. Good thing they lit it in a place where it only caused a small cave-in.
    Data: This funny candle, it sparkling.
    Brand: That's not a candle, it's-
    Everyone: DYNAMITE!!!
  • The New Red Green Show: Duct Tape Forever. Edgar Montrose, the absent-minded demolitions expert, brings the cake for the party at the end of the film, complete with quote-unquote "candles"note . One of the other Possum Lodgers asks why his explosives case is full of candles.
    Edgar: If the candles are in the explosive case, then where's the dynamite?
  • Dreyfuss accidentally lights up a whole warehouse of fireworks with this method in Revenge of the Pink Panther.
  • In Take the Money and Run, Virgil tries to get rid of a blackmailer by giving her sticks of dynamite disguised as candles.
  • In the first Problem Child movie, Junior replaces the candles on Lucy's birthday cake with firecrackers, blowing the cake up and splattering everyone with it.

  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of the Birthday Candles", Nick is hired to steal the candles off of a birthday cake. The reason for the theft turns out to be to allow the client to replace the candles with a set of explosive ones that are intended to go of as the birthday celebrant are blowing them out.

    Live Action TV 
  • During one episode of The Muppet Show, a blackout affects the entire theater. At one point, the Newsman has a segment, but can't read the story given him, and asks for a bigger candle. Crazy Harry provides; destruction ensues. Unusually for this version of the trope, the only indication that this trope is in effect before the dynamite goes off is the fact that Crazy Harry is the one who gives him the candle—there is no obvious bomb fuse.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Hunteri Heroici", the weirdness of the week is being caused by an elderly Reality Warper with a love of cartoons. He's locked in his own mind, unable to think of anything but his favorite cartoons. As a result, his power causes cartoon-like effects to occur in his immediate vicinity. In one instance, the guy is watching a cartoon involving a Dynamite Candle gag while one of the patients in the same nursing home celebrates his birthday, complete with a candle-filled cake. The end result is not pleasant.

  • In The Goon Show (which is, after all, a kind of audio cartoon), sticks of dynamite will frequently get mistaken for candles or cigars. Usually it's Bluebottle who gets hurt by them. Just occasionally they'll invert the gag by having somebody pretend the dynamite is a candle or cigar. Guess who comes off worst in those situations as well.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • How Jasper died in Camp Camp. After lighting the dynamite, he threw it at what turned out to have a pile of dynamite.
  • One RWBY Chibi skit has Cinder teaching Roman, Neo, Emerald, and Mercury about booby-traps, with the cake version of this as her demonstration. After angrily refuting Roman's idea of booby-trapping a flan, Cinder then gets angry when Emerald points out the obviousness of the plan. Thinking that her subordinate doesn't understand the idea, Cinder lights the wick to demonstrate the plan - which proves to be a big miscake.
    Cinder: (after lighting the wick) See? Now when you lean in to blow out the candles -
    The other four silently panic.
    Emerald: Uh, Cinder?
    Cinder: Yes! Emerald! What could you possibly still not understand about this concept!?
    Emerald: (points at the dynamite) Well...
    Neo: Happy birthday.
    Cinder: Oh.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    Robotnik: I wasn't able to find 10-foot candles, so I had to use 10-foot sticks of dynamite!
  • In one episode of Animaniacs, Sid the Squid tries to pull the cake variation off, but Slappy recognizes it.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "Be a Clown", the Joker has a fancy looking explosive candle on a cake for the Mayor's son's birthday party. While most of the guests don't suspect anything, Bruce realizes the danger and pushes the tray holding the cake into the swimming pool, where it harmlessly detonates in there.
    • In "Baby Doll", the eponymous villain uses a dynamite candle in an attempt to kill Spunky actually Robin in disguise. Spunky, tied up and failing to blow the fuse, leans and uses his teeth to grab the dynamite and toss it safely away.
  • Eek! The Cat's owners keep dynamite next to their candles and it almost causes an explosion during a blackout. Fortunately, the lights come back when the mother is about to light a stick of dynamite. She remains oblivious to what she was about to do.
  • Played with in the Futurama episode "Law and Oracle", where Bender lights a dynamite stick then leaves it in his mouth like a cigar... but he does a double-take and realizes IT'S DYNAMITE and uses it to break open an invisible safe.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoons:
    • Road Runner Vs Coyote: Wile E. Coyote, very often.
    • Yosemite Sam.
    • Bugs Bunny.
    • The "Happy Birthday" punishment in the Looney Tunes short "Its Hummer Time".
    • In the Looney Tunes short "Dough Ray Me-ow", the bird gives a birthday cake, with a stick of dynamite for the fourth candle, to the big dumb cat, who insists he's 3 and gives back the dynamite, refusing to take it back. However, when the cat realizes he is 4, he takes the dynamite back, cuing the explosion later.
  • Happened a couple of times in Scooby-Doo, most notably in the crossover with The Addams Family and the episode "Mine Your Own Business".
    • Averted slightly in The Addams Family crossover concerning Uncle Fester's Roman Candles because he had modified them.
  • Happened in one Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on The Simpsons.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In "Slight of Hare" (part of "You Asked For It"), when Buster gets a job as the rabbit for a magician at Montana Max's birthday party, he takes over the magician's job when Monty makes the magician quit. At the end of the short, he bakes a cake for Monty, with a stick of dynamite as the top candle, which explodes when Monty tries to blow out the candles.
    • In "Little Cake Of Horrors" (part of "You Asked for It, Part II), Hamton is tempted to eat a chocolate cake by the cake itself. At one point, Hamton tries to blow the cake up by putting sticks of dynamite in it. The cake points out that if he does, he will end up making a huge mess of his kitchen. Given that Hamton is a Neat Freak, he admits he didn't think about that.
  • Tom and Jerry: Tom Cat, very frequently. It was very often Jerry's doing, setting the Dynamite Candle as a trap. Or Tom got Hoist by His Own Petard.

    Real life 
  • During a blackout, a Connecticut woman tried to use a "candle" left by her house's former residents, only it was actually dynamite.


Video Example(s):


Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Shaggy can't illuminate a dark gold mine using dynamite.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

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Main / DynamiteCandle

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