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King Midas

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Midas touch

Kermit the Frog as King Midas in Muppet Classic Theater.

KingMidas

King Minus, from Sesame Street.

King Midas is a figure from Greek mythology who is popularly remembered for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold -- the Midas touch. The story of King Midas was recorded in Ovid's Metamorphoses XI, completed in 8 A.D. In Ovid's version of the story, King Midas discovers the satyr Silenus, who has been missing after a night of drinking. Midas entertains Silenus and then returns him to Silenus' son Dionysus, the god of wine. Grateful, Dionysus grants Midas the magical power to turn everything that he touches into gold. Midas is pleased with the gift, until he finds that he can't eat or drink without the food turning into gold in his hands. In a version told by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Midas turns his daughter into a golden statue as well. Midas prays to Dionysus for relief, and washes his power away in the river Pactolus.

References

  • Kermit the Frog plays King Midas in the 1994 direct-to-video special Muppet Classic Theater. King Midas finds a satyr (played by Gonzo) sleeping on the royal roses, which is punishable by death. However, the satyr offers to grant King Midas one wish in exchange for his life. King Midas intends to wish for peace in the world, but Queen Midas (Miss Piggy) overhears and interrupts, wanting money instead. The satyr mentions several options, and the queen chooses "the golden touch," which will cause anything Midas touches to turn into gold. Though the queen and the peasants rejoice in the new power and the kingdom's wealth (singing "The Midas Touch"), Midas wearies of it, and accidentally turns himself into a gold statue. In order to restore her spouse, the queen must renounce her interest in gold.
  • In a 2008 "Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures" sketch, Ernie and Bert visit an Arabian town, where Ernie finds a dusty old lamp. He rubs it and a genie waitress comes out and grants them three wishes. Ernie wishes for a "Duckie Touch", where everything he touches turns into Rubber Duckies. (This sketch mixes the One Thousand and One Nights story of Aladdin with the King Midas story from Greek mythology.)
  • An early 70s Sesame Street cartoon tells the story of "King Minus", who develops a subtracting touch. This proves helpful when he makes rampaging dragons disappear, but ultimately backfires on him. (EKA: Episode 0666)
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