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A Sub-Trope of Hollywood Density, common in cartoons, characters will inflate a balloon (or another person) with their breath and automatically it starts to float. A bubblegum-based variant exists.

See also Balloonacy for when the same balloons, inflated with human breath, actually can lift something else up. Related to Rule of Funny, They Just Didn't Care, and Critical Research Failure.

Examples with actual balloons:

Advertising

  • There was a very old McDonald's ad where Ronald inflates his clothes (apparently a jumpsuit) with lung power in order to fly.

Asian Animation

  • The title character of Kuang Kuang can blow into a condom to make it float like a helium balloon.

Film

Literature

  • In the first Winnie the Pooh story, Pooh uses a balloon to pretend to be a cloud. I'm not sure whether it was already inflated (in which case it could be filled with helium) or whether it got inflated via lung power during the course of the story.
    • It's not 100% clear, possibly because this story is very specifically being told by AA Milne to Christopher Robin (with interruptions etc.): on the one hand, Christopher Robin had brought it home from a party; on the other hand, the illustration shows him blowing it up and the text also says "and when the balloon was blown up as big as big". It's also notable that the balloon conveniently rises so it's exactly level with the top of the tree.
    • In the Russian animated version, it's definitely inflated by lungpower. What's more, Piglet tries inflating it first, and only succeeds in inflating himself -- and nearly floats away before Pooh catches him.
    • One episode in the TV series when Pooh, feeling guilty that he broke Christopher Robin's balloon when only the string came out. Christopher later re-inflated it with his breath and tied the string and it carried Pooh and his friends vertically to the air.

Live Action TV

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Both averted and played straight in the "Golden Age of Ballooning" episode. When Barry Zeppelin blows up balloons they immediately fall to the ground when he releases them. However, when he tries to blow up a large balloon, the air rushes back into his body and inflates him, and he floats away.

Music Videos

  • The Killers inflate and release balloons in the video for "Read My Mind". Mocked in the literal video version. "How'd we make these fly?"

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

  • Wario Land 4: Aerodent, the aerial rodent, blows up its own teddy-bear balloon.
  • Lanky Kong can "inflate himself just like a balloon" to float himself places once he buys the potion.

Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes used this frequently. As did Tom and Jerry.
    • Semi-averted when Wile E. Coyote is blowing up a large balloon to use as a lighter-than-air device - the air rushes back out and inflates him, but he merely bounces along the ground (he does get airborne when, hanging onto a large bomb for ballast, he suddenly expels all his air and flies around madly like a deflating balloon.)
  • The Golden Age throwback Who Framed Roger Rabbit? does this in the opening cartoon with Roger himself.
  • In the Soviet cartoons about Winnie-the-Pooh, the balloon was already inflated, but then Pooh blows even more air into it to make it bigger and only then he manages to fly up with it. Fun.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, Orson Whales gave a lecture on this after an inflation scene, pointing out that "any old gas will do" for making an object float in cartoons. He also said that a can of baked beans would've been funnier.
  • In at least two episodes of Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly's schemes involved these kinds of balloons. One was an inflatable version of the Mean Machine, which Dastardly inflated from inside once it got large enough. An exception occurs in "The Baja-Ha-Ha Race", where Dastardly and Muttley use inflatable cows and bulls as a roadblock.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "London Town Treachery": After Penelope is kidnapped, Pockets blows up a balloon with his breath and it floats up into the air for use as an observation balloon.
  • Happens in the second season credits for Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Happens in Peppa Pig in the episode Mummy Pig's Birthday
  • In an episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford inflates a balloon, which floats.
  • An episode of the Beetle Bailey cartoon had Sarge eat so much that he got a literal Balloon Belly and floated away. Makes even less sense than normal examples of this trope, as he's stuffed with food, not air.
  • Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons; a child photographer tries to get Maggie to smile by increasing the pitch of his voice, only to dejectedly realise that the balloon just contains air.

Examples with bubble gum balloons:

Advertising

  • There was a commercial for a Skittles gum where, after refusing to share said gum with someone, a man blows a bubble with it, grabs hold, and floats away.

Comic Books

Newspaper Comics

  • In Peanuts, Lucy has been known to chew bubble gum and blow bubbles that make her float.

Video Games

  • The Bubble Monkey in Earthbound has the ability to levitate himself with bubblegum.
  • In Sonic Heroes, blowing gum is Vector the Crocodile's chosen method of hovering.
  • The hero of Skuljagger uses a variety of gum as power-ups. The cherry gives him hovering abilities.
  • In Sid & Al's Incredible Toons and The Incredible Toon Machine, a pack of bubble gum is one of the objects in the game and may be used by Sid or Al to take flight.
  • The Curse of Monkey Island has a puzzle whose solution is to inhale a helium balloon and then chew some bubble gum so that it floats out of a window. Besides this being physiologically impossible without Guybrush passing out from lack of oxygen, one wonders how both helium and bubble gum were accessible in the 17th Century.

Western Animation

  • Chalk Zone used the bubblegum variant of this trope in one episode where Rudy is telling a story of one of his escapades in the titular ChalkZone; while ChalkZone is a different dimension with things that make little to no sense in the real world, the trope still applies. Penny hangs a lampshade on this implausibility.
  • The Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode For Your Ed Only starts off with Edd showing the two other Eds some type of chewing gum he made, Ed uses this to blow a bubble and is then lifted away by it.

 Edd: Ed, are you blowing a bubble? Heavens, I don't have data for this!

Eddy: HEY! Get back here with my gum!

  • The DuckTales episode The Big Flub centered around a bubble gum-like substance that was marketed as Pep. It allowed its user to float using the bubbles that were blown. The advertising campaign and its effect made it incredibly popular until its horrific side-effects were discovered.
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