My youngest daughter has been on a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory fix this last week. She's always asking to to watch it, which is fine by me because I love this movie! This is one of those classic films I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching. As I was watching it with her earlier this week, I realized that I haven't done one of my Fun Facts lists for it yet, so here it is! This is actually the longest Fun Facts list that I've done so far, as it feature 25 bits of trivia. There's a lot of interesting stuff here that I never even knew. Look it over and if you have anything to add, let me know!
- When the kids enter the Chocolate Room for the first time, and they see the candy gardens, their reactions are real, it was the first time that they saw that part of the set. They also didn’t know that Gene Wilder would emerge from the factory with a limp.
- The chocolate river was actually made of real chocolate, water, and cream. It spoiled fairly quickly and left a terrible smell.
- Wilder said he would make the film under one condition: He wanted to do a somersault in the scene when he first meets the children. When asked why, the actor said that having Willy Wonka start out limping and end up somersaulting would set the tone for that character. He wanted to portray him as someone whose actions were completely unpredictable. His request was granted.
- The Wonkatania boat was on a track in the chocolate river, but the actor playing the Oompa Loompa at the helm thought he was really steering it. For the sake of believability, director Mel Stuart didn't tell him the truth.
- The actor who played Grandpa George, Ernst Ziegler, was nearly blinded from poison gas in World War I. So he was instructed to look for a red light to guide him when his character was meant to be looking in a certain direction.
- Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) smashed a watermelon-sized chocolate egg on a rock in the chocolate room that she didn’t know was real. She badly cut her left knee falling onto it, and if you watch carefully in her first scene with the egg you can see that her left stocking is bloody. She still has a scar on her knee from the injury.
- Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde) didn't want to do the nose-picking bit. She had a crush on Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket) and didn't want to embarrass herself.
- During the boat ride scene, Wilder's acting was so convincing that it frightened some of the actors, including Nickerson. Apparently they thought that Wilder really was going mad from being in the tunnel. That is one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
- This movie was shot in Munich, Germany, but the producers had to go outside of Germany to recruit enough little people to play the Oompa Loompas. Many of the people cast as Oompa Loompas (German or otherwise) did not speak English fluently, if at all. This is why some appear to not know the words to songs during the musical numbers.
- Sammy Davis Jr. wanted to play Bill, the candy store owner, but Stuart didn't like the idea because he felt that the presence of a big star in the candy store scene would break the reality. Nevertheless, the candy store song, "The Candy Man," became a staple of Davis' stage show for many years.
- In the "Candy Man" scene in the candy store, shortly after Bill dispenses the sodas from the soda fountain, he flips open a pass-through on the counter and it hits a little girl under the chin, knocking her head back.
- The foam used to spurt out in the "Wonka Wash" scene was made from basic fire extinguishers. But the foam was a potent skin irritant, so after shooting the scene, the actors were left in considerable discomfort when their skin puffed up and reportedly required several days to receive medical treatment and recovery.
- The song Wonka sings on the boat ride ("There's no earthly way of knowing... ") are the only song lyrics taken directly from Roald Dahl's book. All other songs were written specifically for the film.
- Peter Ostrum, the actor who plays Charlie Bucket, made no other films. He became a veterinarian. Julie Dawn Cole is the only one from the Wonka kids who is still acting.
- Mike Teavee's father's line, "Not 'till you're twelve, son" took over forty takes to film. Why? I don't know!
- The picture held up by the Paraguayan newscaster announcing the finder of the last Golden Ticket is of Nazi henchman Martin Bormann.
- Before entering the Inventing Room, Willy Wonka gives an introductory speech in German, with an accent, but otherwise phonetically and grammatically correct. It goes "Meine Herrschaften, schenken Sie mir Ihre Aufmerksamkeit. Sie kommen jetzt in den interessantesten und gleichzeitig geheimsten Raum meiner Fabrik. Meine Damen und Herren: der 'Inventing Room'". He even pronounces the German R correctly, and says 'Inventing Room' with a proper German accent. The speech translates: "Ladies and gentlemen, please give me your attention. You now come into the most interesting room of my factory, the most secret room at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen: the 'Inventing Room'."
- The film was originally financed by the Quaker Oats Company. They wanted to tie the film to a new candy bar they were going to release, so the movie was renamed from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in order to promote this candy tie-in. When the film was released, the company began marketing its Wonka chocolate bars, but unfortunately, an error in the chocolate formula caused the bars to melt too easily, even while on the shelf, and so they were taken off the market. Nestle now owns the Wonka Candy Company.
- Most of the chocolate bars in the film were actually made of wood.
- All six members of Monty Python: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, expressed interest in playing the lead role, but they were deemed not big enough names for an international audience.
- The Boeing 707 shown in the film having Wonka Bars unloaded, named "Jet Clipper Climax," was destroyed in a crash in Bali, Indonesia in 1974 with 107 lives lost.
- Director Mel Stuart initially wanted to reveal that Willy Wonka had strategically placed the golden tickets in order to give the factory to Charlie. The idea was dropped, but the hints remained in the fact that Mr. Wilkinson (aka "Slugworth") conveniently showed up every time a ticket was uncovered.
- When Peter Ostrum was offered the part, there was no script. So the studio sent him the book.
- Several days after filming, the blue make-up on Denise Nickerson's face started resurfacing from her pores while she was in math class.
- In Wonka's office at the end of the movie, Charlie's stunned reaction to the candy maker yelling at him is real. Ostrum was not told beforehand that Willy would be yelling at Charlie. Stuart felt that doing it that way would allow for a better, more real, reaction from Charlie. Wilder said that he wanted more than anything to warn Peter about the yelling beforehand because they had become such good friends during the production, and he wanted Ostrum to be assured that he was only acting, but Stuart forbade it.
Here's the original trailer:
Thanks to Imdb!