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I think he's taking "whistle while you work" too literally.
The iSophagus is any instance where, by swallowing a musical device or instrument, the swallower no longer speaks but emits music. Sometimes, the person who swallows said item can magically control what is coming out of their mouth. Barring that solution, the person must inflict bodily harm to themself to "change the channel." Oddly enough, all that is required to make no noise is to shut their mouth. It stays in the person until it is expelled by either a cough, hiccup, belch, sneeze, or pretty much anything except going out the back door. Otherwise it's simply forgotten about.

Additionally, a character may receive radio transmissions on their dental fillings, often citing that the vibrations from the sound wave vibrate the skull and ear drum. However, this is based on the misconception that radio waves, a form of light, work in any way whatsoever like sound waves. They don't. It also only picks up one frequency, effectively giving the afflicted the ability to listen to one perfectly tuned radio station. Again, this is often brought on by some grievous injury to start or stop it, and to change the frequency.

Sister trope to The Croc Is Ticking.

This item is available in the Trope Co. catalog.


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  • There is a pair of Italian commercials, the first showing a man trying to find his new tiny cellphone when it rings, realizing the sound is coming from his small dog. He picks it up, pokes it in the tummy and holds it to his ear, and says 'Hello?'. The second one shows the same dog blurring and buzzing across a coffee table back and forth. "Now with vibration!"
  • One cell phone commercial shows a man at the vet with his dog, the dog having swallowed his phone. However, the phone is still on, and he's being charged by the call (which the vet hears through the dog's stomach via a stethoscope). The man then snaps on a glove, saying "I'm going in!" Cut to the dog whimpering.
  • Non-device example: In one of Stephen Colbert's pistachio commercials, his eagle mascot keeps crying "Pistachios!" in a squawky voice. Stephen steps into view and explains that it's just eaten a parrot.
  • An Australian ad for Wallet wizard—a short-term loan service—has a doctor examining an x-ray and telling the patient in the bed "You've swallowed a trumpet". The patient replies "Are you sure?", accompanied by the blare of a trumpet.

    Comic Books 
  • Batwoman: Kate Kane] has a variant of the dental filling version. Before becoming Batwoman, she suffered a serious head wound during her aimless years that was stitched closed with gold thread. It gives her the ability to detect electromagnetic fields from a short distance, though she can only sense them, not decipher them at all.
  • Lobo once swallows a harmonica during a fistfight without noticing. His subsequent wheezing and the dark spot that shows up on the X-ray chart ends up being mistaken for lung cancer and promptly Played for Laughs as a desperate Lobo tries to quit smoking.
  • In a Spirou & Fantasio album ("Qrn pour Bretzelburg"), the Marsupilami once swallows a state-of-the-art miniaturized transistor radio (it is the Seventies), which somehow ends up stuck in its nose and starts working intermittently, initially startling Fantasio in thinking it can speak, then depriving him of sleep when it refuses to shut up, before picking up a distress radio signal and starting the plot.

    Comic Strips 
  • There is a Spy vs. Spy short where White tricks Black into swallowing a miniature speaker, then shouts profanities through the speaker when Black is in the presence of his boss. The boss thinks Black is cussing him out and has him executed.

    Film — Animation 
  • Happened in A Goofy Movie when Goofy tries to make the baby smile in a photo room with a rubber duck squeaker. He accidentally swallowed the squeaker making only squeaking noises out of his mouth and made the baby smile.
  • Lilo & Stitch does a variation of this trope. Stitch doesn't swallow Lilo's record player. But if you put his claw on the record, it works as a needle, and if you open his mouth, he becomes a phonograph.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The 1912 Silent Movie Arthème avale sa clarinette (Artheme Swallows His Clarinet).
  • Brutally done in Cabin Fever where at a party a guy playing a harmonica gets it shoved down his throat after getting smashed in the face with a guitar. Cue to falling to the ground gasping for air complete with harmonica sounds
  • The Charlie's Angels (2000) movie used dental fillings.
  • Charlie Chaplin's City Lights did this bit with a whistle.
  • The satellite phone gets eaten by a Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III. The characters then know they're in trouble whenever they hear the Nokia jingle... until they're eventually able to retrieve the phone from the monster's dung.
  • In The Little Rascals short Bored of Education, Alfalfa's already Hollywood Tone-Deaf singing is made even worse when he swallows a stopper valve. When he sings his song every line is punctuated by a high whistle.
  • Played straight in The Three Stooges short Disorder in the Court, where Moe accidentally swallows a harmonica and Larry and Curly respond by making him play "Ach Du Lieber Augustine" by pumping his arm and squeezing his stomach.
  • A variant of this occurred in Transformers (2007), where Bumblebee's damaged vocal processors forces him to communicate by mixing various audio clips from TV, music, and films.

  • The protagonist of Fat Men From Space by Daniel Pinkwater has a dental filling that can act as a radio receiver.
    • The problem of changing stations is handwaved by him being able to do so using different pieces of metal as an antenna. The plot of the book gets kicked off when he tries using a chain-link fence as one huge antenna and picks up a transmission from the eponymous aliens.
  • There's a Paul Jennings short story that combines this with a little bit of Body Horror when a boy gets a haunted harmonica stuck in his mouth.
  • Singenpoo, a series of Australian children's books about a cat so named because it ate a radio.
  • In the Discworld novel Soul Music, mention is made of a kid with a penny-whistle whom the Musician's Guild "dealt with" for playing unlicensed music, who now plays a chord whenever he hiccups.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Petes' mother in The Adventures of Pete & Pete could pick up Mexican radio stations from the plate in her head.
  • In an episode of El Chavo del ocho, El Chavo throws a radio at Quico, who swallows it, and whenever he opens his mouth he emits radio music. They manage to get him to a medic that makes him spit it out, but later La Chilindrina throws an alarm clock at him...
  • Eerie, Indiana: A boy who could hear the thoughts of the neighborhood dogs through his headgear.
  • A Get Smart episode had a country singer (guest star Carol Burnett) swallowing a KAOS radio receiver shaped like a martini olive. Siegfried abducts her and tries listening to the broadcast in her stomach, but her nervous hiccups end up trying his patience.
  • Something similar happened on Gilligan's Island, when Gilligan's fillings start picking up radio waves after he gets hit in the head with a coconut. Inverted in another episode where the castaway's radio transmitter ends up getting swallowed by a fish, resulting in them shouting into the mouths of various fish to see which voice comes out the receiver so they know which fish to cut open to get it back.
  • The Goes Wrong Show: In "There Is No Escape", Sandra Wilkinson swallows a harmonica after being bumped by Annie Twilloil. She is forced to continue to speak her lines, accompanied by the instrument for the remainder of the play. The harmonica plays over the end credits also.
    "You said it, Mick!"
  • The Goodies:
    • In "Lighthouse Keeping Loonies", the fog is closing in around the Jolly Rock lighthouse. Graeme switches on the foghorn, startling an over-sensitive Tim who yells at him to turn it off. Graeme does so but the foghorn continues to blare, even after they repeatedly flick the switch, pull out the power cord, rip the foghorn to bits and jump up and down on it. Finally in desperation Graeme swallows the part emitting the most noise, whereupon silence ensues. Until he opens his mouth to speak. Graeme then sticks his head out the window so he can blare out a warning, but then ends up emitting an electronic squawk until a glass of water washes it down completely.
      Bill: (rushing in) Quick, the fog's closing in! Where's the foghorn!
      Tim: He ate it!
    • The Goodies ended up in the stomach of a preserved dinosaur and were forced to manipulate its vocal cords to broadcast a plea for assistance.
      "Send help! And if you can't send help, send a good ventriloquist!"
  • Green Acres: A cow swallows the transistor radio right before one of the characters is listening in for his chance to win on a radio show. The station changes whenever the cow burps and hilarity ensues.
  • The Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "A Man with a Tape Recorder up his Nose". Naturally followed by "A Man with a Tape Recorder up his Brother's Nose."
  • The Muppet Show: In one of the At The Dance sketches, Gonzo asks a dancer if it's the monster who ate his harmonica. The monster responds with a musical note.
  • Mythbusters: The gang explores an urban legend about Lucille Ball having a tooth filling which worked as a radio receiver. They deemed the results "Busted".
  • Probe's "Computer Logic": Mickey tells Austin about being able to hear voices in her head as a child that nobody else could hear. His response is to shine a flashlight in her mouth to examine it. He concludes that she must've had braces at that age and asks if she lived near a radio tower (actually, it was a airport). Accourding to Austin, it's a well-known phenomenon for retainers to pick up radio waves.
  • Occurred in the classic The Three Stooges short "Disorder In The Court" where after doing a demonstration of the previous night's musical entertainment, Moe accidentally swallows the harmonica he was playing. Upon hearing how he now "speaks" music, Larry and Curly proceed to use his belly like a bellow, and crank his arm to play different notes.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): In "The Escape", Laszlo Cravensworth swallows a harmonica after failing to lure The Sire with its sweet tunes. Every time he speaks for the rest of the episode, the harmonica also plays.

  • From the Barenaked Ladies' song "Light Up My Room" (which earlier brought up that they live near a hydro-field):
    There are luxuries we can't afford
    But in our house we never get bored
    We can dance to the radio station
    That plays in our teeth

  • An African folktale about why Cat hates Rat explains that Rat played on Cat's precious family drum. When Cat chased and cornered Rat, Rat threw the drum at Cat, who accidentally swallowed it. While Cat was at first distressed, he found that he could recreate the drum's unique sound of "purrum, purrum" by stroking on his stomach. This is why cats purr only when stroked, so the tale goes.


    Video Games 
  • Deltarune: After Queen gives you her mixtape, Lancer - who is sitting in your inventory - eats it. Selecting him in your inventory plays snippets of the tape.

    Web Comics 
  • Sluggy Freelance: This strip makes it the Trope Namer. Interestingly, though, it averts the usual ending of such a sequence. Rather than being coughed or spit up by Torg, it — well, let's just say "The problem has passed."

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has an odd variation; Finn accidentally swallowed a computer, so when he tries to sing, he (almost) always sounds auto-tuned.
  • The Tex Avery cartoon Bad Luck Blackie has the villain swallowing a whistle, and the whistle blasts every time he hiccups. The whistle summons the black cat, and with the black cat comes the bad luck, and with the bad luck comes large things falling from the sky to land on the dog.
  • Episode 5 of Baymax! features the titular robot attempting to help a stray cat that swallowed a wireless earbud while stealing its owner's sushi. It keeps trying to escape, but Baymax keeps tracking it when the bud activates, often with a song or commercial all too fitting for its situation or emotional state.
  • Sharon's braces in Braceface have been somehow electrified while being installed, and sometimes interact with metal or electronic environment around her—receiving radio, for instance, which manifests as Sharon hearing radio in her mouth.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: One episode's Main Event takes place between Courtney Love and Dave Grohl (and, technically, Billy Corgan) inside the Dome of Devastation. The dome is lined with various musical instruments and, during the fight, Love manages to force an entire electric keyboard down Grohl's throat. Grohl's voice briefly turns into a distorted mess of garbled keyboard noises while Love remarks that this is why "Kurt never let you open your mouth."
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Steamboat Willie", a goat eats Minnie's guitar and sheet music. Turning its tail like a crank caused it to play "Turkey in the Straw".
    • "Donald's Ostrich" has Donald Duck come into possession of an ostrich. The ostrich swallows a radio and begins playing music.
    • In "Pluto's Blue Note", Pluto becomes obsessed with music. When he sits down in front of a radio, his butt hits the start lever on a gramophone, and when his wagging tail touches the spinning disc, music comes out of his mouth. The short ends with Pluto wowing the lady-dogs by playing a Frank Sinatra single.
  • Clone High: In one episode, Joan of Arc's retainer picks up a Christian radio station, leading her to believe that she is finally hearing God like the original Joan of Arc.
  • Told by Trent as an Urban Legend in the Daria episode "Legends of the Mall". The high school shop teacher (who eerily resembles Mr. Demartino...) grinds his teeth at night from the stress of dealing with his dumbass students. Once he's had the stumps pulled, he makes himself a set of metal dentures capable of biting through solid wood doors. Unfortunately, they pick up radio signals and periodically play "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Lampshaded when Daria and Jane point out how improbable it is... that it would always be the same song.
    • Not really. Ever notice how if you never watch a certain show, when you ever do watch it, it's the same episode every time? Mr. Not-Demartino probably didn't listen to that station normally.
  • In the Droopy cartoon "The Three Little Pups", the laconic dogcatcher wolf tries to catch the dogs by sucking them into an enormous soda straw, but instead swallows the tv they're watching. He lifts his shirt to see the live-action Western still playing through his stomach, and switches it off via a button on his pants, drawling "Doggone - I seen that one last week!"
  • On an episode of Family Guy, Peter is talking on his cellphone while driving when his car hits a pothole. The impact knocks the phone out of his hand and he accidentally swallows it while fumbling to recover it. It stays in him for the rest of the episode and he operates it by punching himself in the gut. In one scene, he gets put on hold and Lois tells him to open his mouth so she could hear the song that was playing.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Squeakerboxxxxxxx", Bloo wins his friends another squeaky elephant, but accidentally swallows it. All of his friends then take turns squeezing Bloo, which makes him make the squeaking sounds.
  • The traffic cop from the Frosty the Snowman Christmas Special. His whistle may only be capable of one note, but he still swallowed it.
  • In the Grojband episode "On the Air and Out to Sea" Trina's braces picks up radio frequencies from her little brother's radio station.
  • An animated short from Disney's House of Mouse was about Donald Duck accidentally swallowing a numeric keypad at an information kiosk.
    • Another House of Mouse short actually ended with Louie the Mountain Lion accidentally swallowing Goofy's radio.
  • At the end of the Invader Zim episode "Dark Harvest", Zim replaces one of Dib's organs with a mooing can, with expected results.
  • It's Got Me Again!: The cat eats the cuckoo from the cuckoo clock. This backfires when he hiccups cuckoo noises, alerting the mice to his presence.
  • A variation happens on The Jetsons: Astro swallows Elroy's anti-gravity toy and everybody believes Astro can fly. In the same episode, after they get him to cough up the toy, Astro swallows Elroy's handheld speaking computer, leading Mr. Spacely to believe the dog is a genius.
  • In the Johnny Test episode "Johnny Goes Viral", the titular character has a chip implanted in his brain that allows him to access the internet at all times. Guess what happens when he tries to download some mp3s.
  • The trope was parodied in an episode of Kaeloo where Quack Quack the duck, who can only say the word "quack", accidentally swallows a spoon and gets the ability to sing actual words in a marvelous voice with no explanation of how that works.
  • The character Good does this in The Little Island without the aid of any swallowed instrument.
  • Misterjaw: In the short "Transistorized Shark", Misterjaw accidentally swallows a portable radio belonging to one of his victims and really freaks out Freddie the Shark Hunter when it broadcasts at terribly inopportune moments.
  • Oggy and the Cockroaches: In "The Laugh Box", Oggy has been watching old sitcoms. Joey records some of the laughter, then tags behind the cat, hitting play when Oggy does the slightest move. Joey then makes Oggy swallow the tape recorder, and makes it look like Oggy is laughing by a remote connected to the tape. The whole neighborhood now thinks Oggy is rude, because he laughs when he's not supposed to.
  • In the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon "Rival Romeos", like his successor, Mickey Mouse, a goat eats Oswald's guitar and music sheets, so Oswald turns the goat into a phonograph.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode has a bit where Santa's Little Helper eats the remote and changes the channel by barking.
    • Also, Mr. Burns swallowed a cell phone, apparently mistaking it for a lemon drop. It's set to vibrate.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Inverted in "Band Geeks": Patrick's head gets stuck through a trombone, essentially giving him a long brass neck and causing him to make trombone sounds with every step he takes.
      Patrick: Whoever's the owner of the white sedan, you left your lights on.
    • In "Squidtastic Voyage", Squidward accidentally swallows his clarinet and starts making clarinet noises.
    • In "Squeaky Boots", Mr. Krabs eats Spongebob's boots because he couldn't stand the constant squeaking. This backfires at the end of the episode when he gets the hiccups and makes the same squeaky noises.
  • Happened to Sylvester in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries when he swallowed a portable radio, and a broadcast of a police drama scared crooks Rocky and Mugsy, who had kidnapped him, into thinking their getaway shack were surrounded by cops.
  • Tom and Jerry have several occasions of this happening.
    • One occasion has Tom changing the station on the radio he swallowed every time he hiccoughs.
    • In "Mouse Trouble" he accidentally swallowed a robotic female mouse programmed only to say "Come up and see me sometime." It becomes a Running Gag throughout the rest of the short that every time Tom hiccups you hear the same female voice saying "Come up and see me sometime."
  • Late in the Van Beuren Studios "Rainbow Parade" short "Bird Scouts", the cat that's attacking the birds ends up getting one of their bugles stuck in its throat, which unintentionally rallies the young scouts against it.
  • Willie Whopper: In "Viva Willie", Willie accidentally swallows his harmonica while riding his horse. For the rest of the cartoon, he speaks only in a string of strangled harmonica notes. At the end, his girlfriend gives him a passionate kiss and ends up with the harmonica stuck in her throat.

    Real Life 
  • A seven year old swallowed a duck whistle and got it lodged in his windpipe. He made squeaking noises whenever he breathed until it was removed.
  • If you stick an earbud into both of your nostrils and open your mouth, the sound will be amplified, and come out of your mouth. This is because your sinus cavities are a pretty good natural amplifier. Part of the training opera singers go through is in the proper use of their sinus cavities to amplify the sound they make.
  • Lucille Ball may have been the originator of the "radio via fillings" myth, when she claimed in an interview that she started hearing music coming from her teeth when she drove past a radio station.
  • Laurie Anderson would put a small speaker in her mouth playing a recording of violin music as part of her "United States" multimedia performance.


Alternative Title(s): Tooth Transmitter


Goat phonograph

A goat transforms into a living phonograph after eating Minnie Mouse's sheet music and ukulele.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ISophagus

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