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Midas Touch

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Conspicuous Consumption has never been so literal.

A character is given a special ability so that everything they touch turns into a certain substance of superficial value to the character that gets it, such as gold or candy. However, that character soon finds out that this ability is actually undesirable. At the very least, the side effects of their ability are just plain annoying, but at worst, something Goes Horribly Wrong with this new ability and they have to reverse it. The lesson is often that Greed is bad.

This power can turn a person or creature into Brown Note Being, if the touch is harmful.

Subtrope of The Magic Touch, Made O' Gold, and Blessed with Suck. Compare Magical Counterfeiting, Touch of Death.


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  • In a Chuck E. Cheese commercial during the Avenger era, Chuck E. shows his "Chuck Touch" which involves turning anything he comes into contact with into something fun.
  • McDonald's and The Hamburglar Touch, in which Hamburglar can turn anything he touches into a burger. It all goes well for him at first, until he touches his face! Thankfully, it's all just an Imagine Spot.
  • Skittles: A man in "Touch the Rainbow" has a hands-only touch that turns objects into piles of the rainbow candy. He is unwaveringly clear about the fact that it makes his life hell.
  • In an ad for Meineke Car Care Center, the known as Meineke Muffler, while advertising their low prices, a woman's voice (from a nearby competitor) can be heard exclaiming, "How much? I don't want a muffler made of real gold!!:

    Comic Books 
  • Art Ops: When recruiting Juliet into the Art Ops, The Body decides to grand her an ability to help her in combatting rogue artworks. She's initially excited... until finding out it's the ability to turn anything she touches into velvet.
    Juliet: You're kidding me, right? The Ink Spot gave me the power of drapery?
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, the reason Magica De Spell is after Scrooge's #1 Dime is that it's the final ingredient for a spell to obtain it. Magica being far smarter than most people on this list, the Touch would be the effect of a removable charm, neatly bypassing the usual downside - that, upon believing she had found an adequate substitute, she tried to weaponize in The Treasury of Croesus by shaking hands with Donald as soon as she had completed and put on the charm.
  • The comic book series The Midas Flesh carries this to an extreme level. Not only does anything Midas touch turn to gold, but anything that touches something he is touching turns to gold as well. This causes him to suffocate when the air in his lungs turns to gold, but his body continues to affect everything, slowly turning the entire world, even the atmosphere, into gold. Then a few thousand years later, aliens show up, figure out how the "touch" works, and try to use parts of his body as a weapon.
  • In Shazam! Volume 1 Issue 12, Doctor Kilowatt demonstrates a ray that can turn any object into gold. Unfortunately, due to a miscalculation, every object that is turned into gold has the Midas Touch, meaning anything touching it turns into gold as well. Fortunately, Captain Marvel comes up with a solution by crushing all the transformed objects into a tiny nugget and wrapping the nugget in gold foil made from Dr. Kilowatt's fillings, thus rendering the Midas gold harmless, since it can't transform natural gold.

    Fan Works 
  • Everything Turns to Gold: Scott occasionally turns random things to gold just by touching them, including a blanket, his sword, and the rope used to tie up his hands. Unfortunately, this ability also carries over to his own body and those of his friends, but turns out to be incredibly effective against those under Exor's control, like Xornoth. To note, the fic is Titled After the Song "Gold" by Imagine Dragons (see the Music folder below).

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the band of thieves is after a legendary artifact, the "Hand of Midas" which can turn things to gold. The villain Saluk is turned to gold when Aladdin's father tosses the artifact to him and he catches it barehanded. When escaping the ruins, he is also forced to leave behind his turned-to-gold cape because the weight was slowing him down. Eventually, he decides the hand was not the ultimate treasure he truly wanted, and throws it into the ocean...but not before it lands in the boat of the other thieves first, turning it to gold and causing it to sink. Fortunately, it does not affect water.
  • The page image is from The Golden Touch; an early Walt Disney film (directed by the man himself) retelling the traditional King Midas fable.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: Jack Horner, a collector of fable-based magical artifacts, has a Midas finger among the other goodies in his collection. When he promises a pair of mercenaries payment worth its weight in gold, he means that literally.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Aladdin (2019) A deleted scene has the Genie explain that one of his previous masters wished for this. Unfortunately, in their excitement, they rub their hands together, causing them to be turned to gold themselves!
  • In Muppet Classic Theater Kermit plays King Midas and Miss Piggy rushes him into wishing for a golden touch, but when he realizes he can't eat anymore he accidentally turns himself to gold in frustration.

  • A car mechanic receives the Midas Touch. Now everything he touches turns into a muffler.note 
  • King Midas and Medusa goes on a date. Her gaze turns him into stone and his touch turns her into gold. It was a very brief affair.

  • The Chocolate Touch is a story about a boy who loves chocolate more than anything, and receives an enchantment so that everything which touches his lips or mouth turns to chocolate. He quickly becomes sick of chocolate, then sick in general and a laughingstock at school. Things get worse when he kisses his mother...
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the heroes' voyage takes them to a Midas Location — Deathwater Isle, which contains a magical pool that transforms things to gold. At the bottom of the pool is the golden statue of the poor soul who dove into it, thinking it was ordinary water.
  • Discworld:
    • Lords and Ladies has the Lancre Morris Men discuss the legend.note  When the one of them asks how the king went to the lavatory, the others say that's the point; you could be holding a fortune in your hands and have nothing to spend it on.
    • An ancient Klatchian ruler was once cursed by a dyslexic deity - instead of making it so that everything he touched was turned into gold, the ruler was cursed to turn everything he touched into Glod, which turned out to be a bad-tempered dwarf whose temper was not helped by being summoned to the Disc's equivalent of Arabia and magically duplicated a few thousand times. To this day, "Glod Glodsson" is a very common name among the Disc's dwarves.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bassie & Adriaan: In "De Verzonken Stad", which is set in Greece, Bassie hears about the legend of King Midas, and proceeds to have one of his daydreams in which he imagines himself as the king (though in a modern day setting). At first he enjoys his ability to turn everything to gold, until he finds out that it prevents him from eating anymore cream pies (they too turn to gold the moment he touches them). And to make the nightmare complete, he accidentally turns Adriaan to gold as well.
  • In one episode of Mystery Hunters, Christina investigates whether King Midas' suppose ability to turn everything he touched into gold was true.
  • In the first-season finale of Trust, Fletcher Chace recounts the story of King Midas as he discusses the upheaval in J. Paul Getty's life following the failed opening of his museum. Having alienated much of his family with his stingy behavior, disowned his grandson (the only person who still looked up to him), and wrecked his reputation as a connoisseur of the arts with his gaudy museum, Getty finds himself still one of the richest men in the world, but also incredibly isolated.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys used the Midas story as the backstory for "All That Glitters" when Hercules pays his old friend a visit. We're told that (much like the myth) Midas was excessively greedy and eventually obtained this ability, but Hercules helped him undo it when it got out of hand and taught him a lesson about greed. In the episode proper, Hercules worries Midas has lapsed into old habits by opening a casino (dubbed The Golden Touch, of course) and reminds him what happened before, but the kingdom has actually fallen on hard times and been taken advantage of by villains of the week.
    Salmoneus: I bet people travel from far and wide to shake the hand of the man with the Golden Touch!
    Midas: Ex-Golden Touch.
    Salmoneus: I'm so sorry about your loss.
    Midas: No, don't be. If I still had it, you'd be a golden statue!
  • Wishbone adapted the story in the episode "The Entrepawneur," but turned Midas into an Adaptational Nice Guy by realizing what he did after accidentally turning a servant into gold when the latter was trying to feed him grapes. He starts praying to the gods, but it's not until his wife and daughter are turned as well that the gods take mercy and give him a solution.
  • Hey You! What If...: "Everything You Touched Turned to Gold?" shows what would happen if this literally was the case. Needless to say, the downs considerably outweigh the ups.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder: In the trailer, Roy wishes that everything he touches would turn to gold. This backfires when he attempts to high-five his mom and turns her into a gold statue.
  • On Haven, the former Class Princess of Nathan and Duke's high school has a Trouble that turns everything she eats into cake. She is now overweight, much to the surprise of her classmates.

  • Discussed in the the Imagine Dragons song "Gold", which is about how the blessings of fame are actually curses.
    When everything, everything
    Everything you touch turns to gold, gold, gold
  • Also discussed in Florence And The Machine's song "Rabbit Heart", which is about the dangers of fame in the music industry.
    Midas is king and he holds me so tight
    And turns me to gold in the sunlight
  • Switchfoot's song "Faust, Midas, and Myself" combines this trope with Deal with the Devil. The singer dreams about meeting a old man with "a crooked smile" who offers him, "You could have your pick of pretty things." The singer wakes up as a golden man, in a world completely made of gold, and quickly comes to hate it. Eventually he wakes up for real, back in the normal world, with a greater appreciation for his routine life of before.
    As my reflection passed
    I hated what I saw
    My golden eyes were dead
    And a thought passed through my head
    A heart that's made of gold can't really beat at all

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Game 
  • Res Arcana: The Ring of Midas is a nod to the Midas touch — it can be turned to make gold, but also references the downside of Midas's power with its ability to turn life essences into gold.

    Video Games 
  • Afterlife (1996): A variation of this is used as an Avarice punishment: "Jerky City", where everything any of the souls touches immediately turns into processed meats. The most valuable objects are those that one one's yet touched, but given these are Avaricious souls this never really lasts. Plus, this being Hell and thus being hot all the time, the smell is horrible.
  • In Balatro, the Midas Mask turns every played face card into gold cards, which each give you $3 if they're kept at the end of the round.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • The aptly named Midas Touch causes any enemies the player touches (even bosses!) to turn to gold, freezing them in place and causing them to drop coins when they die, as well as negating most of the damage scaling on Ultra Greed, allowing the player to kill them much easier.
    • Ultra Greedier, being a statue made of gold, turns the entire boss room into gold when he dies.
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta references the fable with one level where King Midas is a minor Puzzle Boss wandering alone in the mountains, driven to complete and oblivious insanity after having turned his only daughter to gold. The player is required to use Midas's ability to cross a river of lava without getting turned to gold in the process.
  • Referenced in the first Tomb Raider I game in "Palace Midas", where turning bars of lead into gold is the level's central puzzle. Although the game doesn't allow the player to turn other inventory items to gold, they can climb on top of Midas's hand and watch Lara herself be turned to gold. Oops!
  • In Leather Goddesses of Phobos, King Mitre is under a curse that causes everything he touches to turn into a 45 degree angle.
  • in The Sims 3, the Supernatural expansion has an elixir called Midas Touch that either gives the drinker this power for a few hours, or - if thrown at someone - turns the target into a gold statue for a while.
  • Dragon Quest XI has a magical necklace that allows its wearer to turn anything into gold. That includes themselves, which Erik's sister Mia found out the hard way after trying to take it off. Erik has been journeying to find a way to turn her back ever since.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken: One of the recruitable characters is a Midas-themed superhero. Unfortunately, he's not as young as he used to be, and his ability with the power is slipping. You can hand him useless items and have him transform them, but they never come out as gold. This is necessary to complete the game, as you need the muffler (as in scarf) he'll create after a few tries.

    Web Animation 
  • Kurzgesagt has a video examining what would happen if King Midas tripped and accidentally turned the entire Earth into gold. Everyone on Earth would die, although how it happened would depend on the exact rules of his gold-transforming powers:
    • If the Midas touch transforms individual atoms into gold, Earth would become super-dense and explode.
    • If the Midas touch rearranged atoms into gold without adding any mass, then Earth would implode with enough speed for everyone to enter free-fall and splatter across its surface, then the resulting shockwave would convert the [1] ample amounts of blood and gore into a white-hot plasma. This would make Earth glow brighter and hotter than the Sun for a short time before finally cooling down into a small, shiny sphere of pure gold.
    • If the Midas touch completely replaces Earth with a solid gold replica, then surface gravity would grow 3.5 times stronger, and compression of the atmosphere would raise the air temperature. Anyone who doesn't get crushed would bake to death, and then the oceans would run over the land, creating indeed, a near-perfect gold replica of the Earth, but covered in perpetually boiling water.
  • ETU - Animated Stories:
    • Henry helps an old lady and she gives him a wish. He wishes that everything he touches turn into diamonds. At first it improves his life but soon discovers how unpleasant it is and uses gloves. He eventually accidentally turned his wife into a diamond. He regrets his wish and begs the old lady to reverse it but she couldn't do it.

    Web Comics 
  • Exaggerated in this comic of Dinosaur Comics, where Midas the dinosaur king gets the ability to transform everything he touches into gold. The planet he's standing on turns into gold, and then the air he breathes turns to gold, and the air molecules around him turn to gold.
    • This concept would be used in The Midas Flesh (see the Comic Book listing), written by the webcomic's author.
  • In Nukees, Dionysus applies the Midas curse to Gav, which turns everything one touches into the thing they desire most. In Gav's case it's Guinness, which impresses the alcoholic god enough to rescind the curse.
  • Warcraft III: The Goblin Alchemist's ultimate ability Transmute instakills a target enemy and gives the alchemist the unit's gold cost.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures from the Book of Virtues: One episode adapted this story when Zack got into a fight with his mother when she refused to buy him a game he wanted. In Plato the bison's version, Midas quickly realizes he made a mistake on seeing that he made his daughter Marigold cry on turning her flowers into gold. (He also left a caterpillar in And I Must Scream mode.) When he accidentally changes her, he runs to the gods and begs them to remove the curse, to save his daughter. Once he gets the water that is the curse, he changes the flowers and Marigold back, apologizing to her. Plato explains that he learned about the little things to appreciate, like a sunny day, roses to smell, and playtime with the one person you love.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: "Operation C.H.O.C.O.L.A.T.E." features Henrich von Marzipan, who after falling into chocolate lava got turned into a chocolate monster that turns everything he touches into chocolate. This turned out bad for him when he got sick of chocolate and wanted a cheeseburger. Ironically, up until that point, Heinrich considered himself blessed, as he's basically characterized by his enormous Sweet Tooth.
  • The series finale of DuckTales (1987) involves a cursed artifact called the "Golden Goose" which could turn anything to gold. Scrooge comes to his senses after the Beagle Boys steal it and turns his three nephews to gold, then races to return the duck to its hidden temple when the duck's curse starts spreading, turning everyone and everything to gold.
  • In the Ducktales 2017 episode "New Gods on the Block!", the children use Zeus's laurel to prove they can become a god. Louie wishes to have the Midas Touch (or the "Louie Touch" as he calls it) to give people gold at the park, except he accidentally causes chaos turning people into gold and is disqualified for the mess he caused.
  • Family Guy: In Fat Man and Robin, a segment in Viewer Mail 2, Peter is struck by lightning after being angered by a televised roast of Robin Williams (and apparently not getting that the point of a roast is good-natured mockery), and discovers that he now has the ability to turn anyone he touches into Robin Williams, or different incarnations of his various characters. While Peter first enjoys slowly turning all of Quahog into Robin Williams, he wakes up one morning and discovers to his horror that he's accidentally turned Lois into Robin Williams, and in his ensuing panic, transforms the rest of his family as well (with the exception of Stewie, who just dresses up as Robin and pretends to have been transformed). Even suicide can't save him, as any method he tries just turns into another Robin Williams, and Peter ends up chopping off his hands just to make the nightmare stop.
    Stewie: I guess Disney wouldn't let us do the Aladdin one.
  • The episode "Goldfingers" of the animated adaptation of Iznogoud revolves around Iznogoud meeting Karat of the Black Mountains, a distant descendant of King Midas. He still carries the curse of his ancestor, but over the course of many generations it has degraded from turning everything into solid gold to merely covering it with a layer of fake gold. Iznogoud tries to get Karat to do this to the Sultan, but in the end Iznogoud himself suffers this fate.
  • In one episode of Olliver's Adventures, Olliver gains the ability to turn things to chocolate by touching it and saying, "Chocolate, chocolate, my favourite treat, the only thing I'll ever eat." Later on, he loses control of it, and anything he touches turns to chocolate whether he wants it to or not.
  • The Yogi Bear episode "Touch and Go-Go-Go" sees Yogi given the ability to turn anything he touches into a pik-a-nik basket, including (by accident) Boo-Boo and Mr. Ranger.
  • Jay Jay the Jet Plane has an episode in which Tracy can turn anything she touches into candy. It's All Just a Dream, though.
  • Hercules: The Animated Series: "Hercules and the Golden Touch" is a parody of James Bond movies, in which an agent approaches Hercules about stopping Midas from using this ability to accumulate enough wealth to buy Athens outright. However, the agent is actually working for Midas and helping him with a larger plan. Once Herc is subdued and at risk of being turned to gold, Hermes is blackmailed into giving Midas his sandals, which he will then use to turn the entire world into gold. Ultimately, Marigold (the king's daughter) helps free Hercules and foil the plan, but Midas vows he'll just try again. When Marigold tries to reason with him, he thoughtlessly clasps her mouth shut and realizes too late what he's just done to her. At the suggestion of Hercules, a reformed Midas sincerely begs Bacchus to remove the Golden Touch and restore everything to normal, and Bacchus grants this request.
    Hermes: Y'know, I told Bacchus the whole golden touch thing was a little too out there.


The Louie Touch

Louie uses his god powers to turn anything into gold until things get outta hand.

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