Come with him to a world of pure imagination. The mysterious and possibly malevolent Willy Wonka has captivated readers and film audiences for nearly half a century. Finding a golden ticket is only the first step in your journey...
In 1964, Roald Dahl released Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book was instantly loved by the theoretical 'kids of all ages.' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory introduced the world to Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka is something of a cross between beloved, befuddled confectioner and a demented torturer of small children. Like the later film series Highlander, Wonka's motto seems to be "There can be only one." Wonka's character takes on an almost devilish roles in seeing if each of the children will give into thier base temptations. Whether the weakness is the gluttony of Augustus Gloop or the greed of Veruca Salt, Wonka will give the children exactly what they want to deprive them of the real prize. The prize in all three of the versions is the same. If you win, you will one day inherit the entire Chocolate factory. Losing means a fate generally worse than anything that Survivor or even the sub-genre of Japanese game shows can come up with. The survivor in every case is young Charlie Bucket. With the help of his Grandpa Joe (well Grandpa Joe nearly gets them kicked out altogether), young Charlie proves himself worthy to one day descend into genius as well as the malaise of billionaire madness. Thankfully, Bucket will have his family there to watch him make the transformation from bright eyed child of wonder to suspicious eccentric bent on Biblically punishing children for perceived personality flaws.
One of the truly great tricks of 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the manner in which the movie actually got made. Mel Stuart's 10 year old daughter wanted to see the movie on the big screen. The difference between Mel Stuart's 10 year old daughter and most other people's 10 year old daughter was that Mel Stuart was a director. Mel Stuart also knew David Wolper. Wolper was a film producer who was working on a deal to promote candy for Quaker Oats. Wolper decided that the film would be a perfect vehicle to sell candy. After all, CHOCOLATE was in the title and everything! So. Wolper convinces Quaker Oats (who had never financed a movie before) to put up the money for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. After recruiting Gene Wilder and settling upon the all Ameican city of Munich in then West Germany for filming, Wilder and crew set upon one of the most bizarre film making experiences of all time. Wilder's vision of Wonka was to keep the audience and children in total mystery as to his intentions. To this end, Wilder was not introduced to the children until the first actual scene in which Wonka meets the children. Wilder starts the scene with a cane. Wilder / Wonka then rolls on the ground to stand. Wilder does this so no one will know quite whether to trust him again. The scene works. The children also did not see the famed Chocolate Room before entering it for the first time to get 'real reactions.' That scene where the kids go on a boat ride to madness complete with a film compiliation that looks like Andy Warhol directing saturday morning television? Yeah, the first, last, and only time the kids saw that was when they were doing it. How many drugs they suspected Wilder was on while doing the scene? The world may never know. The twist in the film version (other than the beloved soundtrack) is the introduction of counterpoint character Slugworth. Slugworth supposedly represents a rival chocolate giant intent on taking Wonka's invention "the everlasting Gobstopper.' Initially, even Charlie and Grandpa Joe are eliminated from Wonka contention by drinking floaty drinks. However, when Charlie proves his honestly by giving back the Gobstopper allows Wonka to trust Charlie. Slugworth is revealed to be a man named Wilkinson. Wilkinson actually works for Wonka. It turns out even that part of the story was a trick by Wonka. Naturally, Wonka moves Charlie and his whole family into the factory. The joke was actually on Quaker Oats. The chocolate bar they were trying to sell turned out to be a non starter. There were also rumors about how bad the bar actually tasted. Quaker Oats would sell the Wonka line to competitor Nestle. Nestle would make Wonka one of their most successfull brands to this day.
Give Tim Burton any franchise and eventually Johnny Depp will run around in pasty white and we will all wonder about his sexuality. We are not entirely sure if this is a good or bad thing on Burton never doing a third Batman or second Beetlejuice movie. Considering the second Beetlejuice movie was in fact Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, may be nothing could have saved that. What we do know is that Tim Burton could walk into a production of the Old Testament thinking "You know, this whole Bible thing has been done so wrong that it needs my genius.." Therefore, everything Tim Burton does will become the Tim Burton version of the property. This is true of Batman, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice In Wonderland. can't wait to see Dark Shadows!! In the ever expanding Burtonverse, Willy Wonka is pasty white and played by Johnny Depp. Its like watching Edward I-Got-My-Hands. Many likened Johnny Depp's performance as Willy Wonka to Michael Jackson. Burton himself would liken Depp's performance to Howard Hughes. This would officially make Hughes the only guy ever creepier to spend a day with your children than Michael Jackson. For their part, Burton and Depp took all of the humor and song out of the character. They argued that they were being more faithful to the source material than that 'other movie' which they ridiculed. Now, they did put back squirrels instead of geese laying golden eggs. That was one point for them. They seem to completely forget that the screenwriter for the 1971 version was a guy named Roald Dahl who actually did possess the right to do... well... whatever he wanted with the source material. In the Burtonverse, Wonka is raised by Count Dooku (who is a dentist) to never have sweets. Wonka demands Charlie seperate from his family. Charlie refuses. You know, because a pasty white guy hanging out with a young impressionable boy and a 100 oompa loompas... nothing WEIRD about that. Charlie then re-unites Wonka with Saruman and everyone lives in harmony. The film made nearly half a billion dollars world wide causing Tim Burton to scream. Where can I wipe myself with Lewis Carroll's dignity?
Two Adult Swim Staples (or former staples), Family Guy and Futurama both did parodies of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory during their initial runs.
Wasted Talent - Wasted Talent is a season two episode of Family Guy. The first half of the episode is a pure Wonka parody. The episode features Pawtucket Pat giving away silver scrolls for a tour of his factory. The little beings are called Chubawambas. Chubawamba was actually the name of a progressive band in the 1990's who released the hit Tubthumpin'. Peter and Brian are kicked out of the tour when then drink the floaty suds drink. You never find out who wins the contest. Our bet is on the ninja. Chubawamba lyrics are somehow even meaner than Oompa Loompa lyrics. For instance, when Joe Swanson cannot go on the tour because of no handicap accomidations in the factory, they sing
"What do you think of the ond you call God? Isn't his abscence slightly...odd...maybe he's forgotten you."
Fry And The Slurm Factory - Fry and the Slurm Factory is the final episode of the first season of Futurama. Fry wins a trip to Wormulon by finding a golden bottle cap in a can of Slurm (a favorite soft drink in the future). The tour guide Glurmo is a take off of Willy Wonka. The small workers are called Grunka Lunkas. The entire factory turns out to be a fake. In a sort of Soylent Green take, all slurm is discovered to be an excretion from the Slurm Queen. The gang is only saved by a timely intervention of Slurms Mackenzie (the original party worm.)