Monday, May 17, 2004

Willy Wonka - the Untold Story

I'm in the middle of watching AMC's showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, complete with DVD-style written commentary along the bottom of the screen.

One fact I'd never heard before was that, due to a sponsorship agreement with Quaker Oats who agreed to launch a line of "Wonka" chocolate bars to promote the film, Quaker required the producers of the movie to ensure the name "Willy Wonka" was in the title. So they changed the title from the original novel's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I never heard that, and had always wondered.

I've rewatched this classic a number of times lately with my kids, and have come to an inescapable, but depressing conclusion: Grandpa Joe was a golddigger and ultimately a rather selfish man. Consider:

1) When Charlie returns home with the Golden Ticket, Grandpa Joe immediately takes focus away from Charlie - getting out of bed for the first time, and singing, "I've got a Golden Ticket!" Right from the beginning we learn It's all about him...

2) Grandpa Joe's the one who talked Charlie into drinking the Fizzy Lifting Drinks. If it weren't for Joe's recklessness and disregard for the rules, Charlie would've never gotten in trouble at the end. Joe says, "Let's try it, Charlie - nobody's looking!" And Charlie, who Joe knows idolizes him, follows suit.

More later as I watch more of the movie. There are other examples.

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