Dahl, Wonka and Gobstoppers…a Threesome

I was tooling around the internet last month looking for topics for September and I came upon something cool. Yesterday was Roald Dahl Day and today is Gobstopper Day…coincidence? I think not and it’s a perfect topic for today.

I LOVE the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It has kids in it, it has a weird, magical man and it has chocolate. What more could a kid want in a story? I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I can tell you I definitely saw “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” first.

Just like “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music”, it was a movie we watched every year when it came on television. Back before the days of streaming and DVD’s, even before the VCR, we had to wait for its yearly showing on network TV. It was always a big production with popcorn and my mom would watch with us.

I couldn’t believe how bad the kids were and their parents let them get away with it. All it took was one look of death from my mother to know I better knock it off or I was going to get it. Every time a kid was sent away for being bad, I was glad. They deserved it. I thought Wonka was right in how he handled those brats.

I loved Willie Wonka himself. Gene Wilder was a genius. Everything from his timing to the looks on his face was priceless. As a kid, I just liked his wild hair, purple coat and top hat. As an adult…I love the sarcasm and humor. The way he interacts with the adults is hysterical, which is why my mother watched it with us.

I laughed out loud in a college English class when the professor quoted Ogden Nash’s “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker” line. She asked me what was so funny, and I just said, “Wonka”. It took a minute, but she finally got what I meant, the rest of the class burst into laughter too. The movie came out in 1971, so it kinda belongs to my generation, LOL, but we will share it with others.

Roald Dahl was not thrilled with the movie at all, because it strayed from the story. He totally disowned the movie. As an adult, I tend to think the same thing about books and their movie adaptations, but as far as Wonka goes…I will pick the movie every time.

I know they made another movie in 2005 with Johnny Depp and it is based on the book and more to Dahl’s vision, but I have not seen it. As much as I love Johnny Depp, and I have ever since 21 Jump Street, I can’t bring myself to watch it. He just looks too creepy to me, even by Tim Burton standards. To me, Gene Wilder is the one and only Willie Wonka.

So, how will I celebrate these two “holidays”? I will sit down and watch “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, of course. Before I do, I have to go to the store and pick up some gobstoppers and other Nestle candy. (Nestle Candy Shop was originally known as The Willie Wonka Candy Shop.)

Then I will come home, turn on the television and be in a world of pure imagination…

***Question for the comments…Do you like “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”? Do you have a favorite Roald Dahl book? Have you seen “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?

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