'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' at 40
May 26th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

The Throwback: 'Wonka' star talks 40th anniversary

Actress Julie Dawn Cole was 12 when she was cast as bratty Golden Ticket winner Veruca Salt in the classic 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

The movie is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and Cole has just released a book entitled "I Want it Now!" The scrap book-style memoir features Cole's memories from the set and loads of details that will satisfy even the most die-hard "Wonka" nerd's sweet tooth.

CNN spoke to Cole, who gave us gobs of sweet details about on-set crushes, her dislike of chocolate (say it ain't so!), unlikely "Wonka" fans, saved mementos, and of course - Oompa Loompas!

CNN: What are among the most common questions you get from fans?

Julie Dawn Cole: Was the river really chocolate? And the answer to that is, well, it was a kind of chocolate drinking powder but it had been hanging around on the set for two or three weeks and very often it was sort of stinky and smelly. And it had a boat track running through it and all sorts of people wandering through it in wellies [British slang for rain boots]. I met Ozzy Osbourne a few years ago and that was the one thing he said, "Was the river really chocolate?"

Another question is, "Where did you go to when you went down the chute?" The answer to that is I unceremoniously landed on some cardboard boxes and a couple of mattresses. So I didn't go anywhere exciting. They also ask me what the Oompa Loompas were like. And, of course, they were great fun. We didn't see them as little guys in orange faces and green hair. They were just guys we worked with who showed up in the morning in normal get-up.

CNN: Did you save any mementos from the set?

JDC: I did save my Everlasting Gobstopper but I sold it about eight years ago. I gather that it’s popping up at various auctions these days. I sold it before its price reached the dizzying heights of today. But I did save my original shooting script and the book I had the entire cast sign and a golden ticket and a Scrumdiddlyumptious bar. Unfortunately, I ate most of the chocolate inside and only have the wrappers now.

CNN: So the chocolate bars were real?

JDC: Yes. Mostly Hershey bars.

CNN: Can you tell us more about your Everlasting Gobstopper? Was it really candy?

JDC: It wasn't candy. It's made from - if you can imagine - sort of molded plastic; something similar to what you would get in a lid on a takeaway cup of coffee.

CNN: A couple of us recalled that the Oompa Loompas terrified us as children! Do you get that a lot?

JDC: A lot of people were. They were creepy. But I don't see them like that. I see them by their first names - Rusty, Albert, Malcolm... and to me they were just my friends. There was one that was quite a bit older than the other ones and he used to get quite irritated. And I have to say it's quite funny seeing an old Oompa Loompa being cross with a young Oompa Loompa. (Laughs)

There was a time when they were quite naughty, and they were quite prone to pranks. They once took everyone's shoes - at the time in these business hotels you would leave your shoes outside your room for cleaning, and the Oompa Loompas took every guest's shoes, tied the laces all together and dumped them in the lobby of the hotel. So the next morning all these businessmen came out and found a) no shoes and b) their shoes tied together in a giant jumble in the lobby!

CNN: That's a good prank. Did the fruit wallpaper really taste like candy?

JDC: (Laughs) No. They did paint it somewhat with a bit of a jelly but they also had to paint my tongue with a powder to make it look red. So I had to keep my tongue out of my mouth because it was that horrible powdery thing and you just desperately wanted to rinse your mouth.

CNN: Have you ever been to a real candy factory?

JDC: I did go to one of the chocolate factories in the UK. It was disappointing. Not at all magical! And I thought, "What a dull place to work." Of course, as a child, I did not like chocolate.

CNN: You didn't like chocolate?! So during filming did you eat something instead, or did you just force yourself to eat it for the sake of the movie?

JDC: The only time [during filming] I had to eat it was when I smashed open a watermelon in the "Pure Imagination" room. And, yes, I did have to eat this sort of chocolate goo. I don't know what it was, but it was disgusting. That's real acting for you! (Laughs)

CNN: Have you grown to like chocolate?

JDC: Well, you can't be a grown-up woman and not like chocolate. (Laughs) But back then I didn't like bars of chocolate or anything that was chocolate-flavored - chocolate cake, chocolate muffins, chocolate cookies... yuck! I still don't eat chocolate cake or cookies. I don't like it.

CNN: We heard that there was a rivalry between you and Denise Nickerson (Violet) over Peter Ostrum (Charlie). Any truth to that?

JDC: Well, you know, we were 13 and he was 13 and he was the only available male, really. But we both had a crush on him... it was sort of an unspoken or unwritten rule that we kind of took it in turns with her day and my day. And we're talking nothing more sinister than just standing next to him. But he was oblivious to any of this. If I mention it to him now he goes absolutely scarlet.

CNN: What do remember about working with Gene Wilder?

JDC: Gene was brilliant. Looking back on it now as an adult, it must've been a pain in the backside to have five kids clamoring all over him all the time and vying for his attention but he was very patient. He didn't have a trailer and he didn't go disappear. He sat around on the set and entertained us all. For my 13th birthday, he arranged for a color photographer to come on-set and take stills all day which he gave to me for my birthday present. In those days most of the stills would've been black and white, so that was my lasting present from him.

CNN: Is it true that you filmed your "I Want it Now" musical number on your actual 13th birthday?

JDC: Well, it took more than a day to film the entire sequence but the day I was doing all of the smashing-up was on my birthday. So they all sang "Happy Birthday" to me, gave me a chocolate cake - Yuck! - and shoved me down the chute.

CNN: Have you had any interesting encounters with fans?

JDC: It never ceases to amaze me. There are all sorts of celebrities who are in awe of it, which is quite weird. I'll be sitting there thinking, "Oh, there's so-and-so" and then it'll turn out they're big fans of the movie and the tables will get turned a bit. Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne are big fans and I hear that Marilyn Manson is. And, of course, there was a band called Veruca Salt which, I assume, has to be some sort of tribute. And just a few days ago I went into Dylan's Candy Bar (in New York City) and they were playing my song on a loop.

CNN: How did you find out that Ozzy Osbourne was a fan?

JDC: A friend of mine was directing a music video and I was like, "Oh, can I come along and hangout?" And my friend introduced me as the one who played Veruca and the video ground to a halt and Sharon was going, "No way! Oh, Ozzy, do you know who this is?" And Ozzy shambled over and we had a 30-minute discussion about the film while the music video crew was tapping their feet as Ozzy asked all his questions. And when the video broke for the day, everyone else left and Sharon said to me, "Oh, you can come in the kitchen, you're family."

CNN: What did you think of Tim Burton's "Wonka" remake?

JDC: Well, it's a very different film. And I think there's room for both. But what it did do was trigger a debate and I think that's where we should leave it. I find that most people are quite partisan. I thought our film would disappear when the Tim Burton one was released but, no, we're still all here!

CNN: Are you still in touch with the other actors from the film?

JDC: We did lose touch for years until a fan tracked us all down for a reunion in New Jersey in 1997. So for almost 30 years I hadn't seen any of them until we all met up. Of course, this is the 40th anniversary. Who would have thought it, eh? It wasn't until a reunion in 1997 that I realized how big it was and how big it still is.

CNN: We've heard that you don't make any residuals from the film.

JDC: No. In fact, I had to buy my own DVD of the movie. (Laughs) But it's opened up some great doors for me and I've had some great experiences. I've traveled and been to some amazing places purely because of the movie.

CNN: What are you up to now?

JDC: I'm now a psychotherapist and work at a hospice working with families and children suffering from a life-limiting illness.

CNN: Are your own children fans of the movie?

JDC: I think so. When their friends find out about it, I'm kind of "cool mom" for a couple of weeks. My children are a little older now but my daughter's university friends still go nuts for it.

What about you? Is "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" a family favorite? What are your favorite "Wonka" scenes and/or lines of dialogue? Conversely, were you terrified of the Oompa Loompas? How about the twisted, psychedelic boat scene?

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Filed under: movies

soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Jill

    Great interview! Thanks for including so much detail.
    I remember the year the book came out, and then counting the days until the movie hit theaters. I was seven years old. I consider Wonka to be one of the most enduring childhood films of my generation, one I continue to enjoy as an adult. And yes, I prefer the original over the Johnny Depp remake, which in my mind was an entirely different film.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JB

    There's no earthly way of knowing, which direction they are going... There's no knowing where they're rowing...
    Or which way the river's flowing... Is it raining, is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? Not a speck of light is showing so the danger must be growing... Are the fires of Hell a-glowing? Is the grisly Reaper mowing? Yes! The danger must be growing 'Cause the rowers keep on rowing! And they're certainly not showing any sign that they are slowing!

    May 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LoopsFroot

    Veruca Salt was THE BEST of them all. LOVED HER!!! LOL

    May 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. denim

    I was 6 when the movie came out, and loved it, loved it loved it! It was the best movie I'd seen, including Disney movies. Scared of Oompa Loompas? Hardly! The movie eventually led to me reading both "Charlie" books and "James and the Giant Peach". Roald Dahl was a wonderful writer.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cool

    Don't care how, I want it nooooooooowwwwww! (honk-honk).

    May 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PatRfromPA

    I love this movie and I watch it almost every other day. I'm a lawyer and I've almost lost my job countless times over my love for this movie. I eat scrumdiddlyumptious bars for lunch and you'll never catch me without an everlasting gobstopper. My girlfriend has gotten her paperwork filed to legally change her name to Veruca Salt. I just want to know why he picked grandpa Joe. I bet if I were charlie's cousin, he would have picked me. Oh the fun we would have had!!!

    May 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CHOCO RIVER!!!

    THANKS CNN for taking me back to my childhood! This movie has always been one of my favorite movies of all time simply because it makes you imagine... My favorite song is still "Pure Imagination" that Gene Wilder sings.... Oh and yes.. LOVE LOVE LOVE BARUKA SALT She played the BEST BRAT EVER.. All bratty characters since have aspired to capture her moment.. but hers is stil the BEST!!.... One of my fav lines is when Mike TV's Father Sam Beauregard (a used car salesman) asks Baruka's father, "What line of business you in Salt?" and he replies.. "Nuts."

    May 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. YoSaxMan

    Gene Wilder in an impeccable performance, with an amazing script!

    May 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. weezy1

    Absolutely one of the BEST movies of all time. Gene Wilder is fabulous and no one can do anything quite like him. The child actors we also the best, just saw them all at a "Chiller" festival and they have all aged graciously! We need more films like this, not the crap that's out today ("Smurfs" anyone?) Long Live Wonka! "We have so little to do and so much time...scratch that, reverse it."

    May 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AGuest9

    My bio: When I was 12, I was in a movie. The End.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mouse

    I love Johnny Depp and really enjoyed the remake BUT, nothing will ever compare to the original. Although I have both I've only watched the original over and over and over.........I'm sure sometime I'll watch the remake for a second time but every time I want to see it I want to see Gene Wilder....and I love Johnny Depp, did I mention that?

    May 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robin

    I love watching this movie! The intro and the scene in the chocolate room always make me want junk food!

    May 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bailey

    this is a great movie!!! im 13 years old and LOVE it!(:

    May 27, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bailey

    this is a great movie!!! im !3 years old and LOVE it!(:

    May 27, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Maverick

    I prefer this version over the Burton remake because it relied more on purity and people than special effectsand being hip with today's society. One thing that riles me is when people say (now and with the remake) that Willie was actually a quasi-pedophile because he tailored everything for children. They miss the point completely! It's about innocence and not losing your inner wonder that we as adults lose. It's about a time when you could have fun without it being at the expense of others. It's a shame we can't all take a dip in a chocolate lake and enjoy the feeling of Fizzy Lifting Drink...maybe the world would be a better place.

    No, it would be, no MAYBE about it.

    May 27, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  16. belladonna

    One of my favorites! Still love it when Gene sings "Pure Imagination."

    May 27, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  17. Steven Gordon

    WW was, and still is, an absolutely FABULOUS film! I have it on DVD and watch it about once a week! I remember seeing a "Whatever happened to..." special on one of the cable networks a while back, and the main actor/characters are still going strong! Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) is my personal favorite, and glad to see he still looks great! My cats like to imitate Veruca: "I WANT IT MEOW!" ^-^

    Like some posters here, the Oompa Loompas did creep me at first, but as I watched the movie over and over, they did not seem to be. Just trying to get their message of morals across.

    An excellent story! I will definitely order Julie's book!

    May 27, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  18. Jessica

    40th? Ugg, thanks for reminding me how old I really am. Loved the original movie!

    May 27, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jeepers

    Oompa loompas were scary. The psychedelic boat ride was terrifying. And I now find myself oddly attracted to Gene Wilder. Not the current, white haired version, but the Gene Wilder of that era. His eyes...so blue...

    May 27, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  20. Pennwoodsman

    Burton's film was cool, but I didn't like the creepy vibe I got from Depp's version of Willy Wonka. Wilder got the "wacky yet non threatening" vibe down that Dahl had in the book.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  21. Melissa

    I love the original – not a fan of the remake. It has always been one of my favorites, and now I watch it with my 5 year old daughter and it's one of her faves too! No fear of the Oompa Loompas either!

    May 27, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  22. Jeff

    At age 43, I still love watching it and now I watch with my two daughters. GREAT movie

    May 27, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  23. nemoof3

    I'm a 43 year old married women with no small children in the house and I still watch it at least once a year. It's a CLASSIC that will never go away! Too bad they don't make good movies anymore.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  24. Dennish

    I find it fascinating....she got asked tougher questions than our President when he is interviewed by cnn!

    May 27, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  25. Oompa-Nopa

    I LOVED this movie when I was a kid. In fact, I still love it. I went to high school with Gene Wilders' nephew, and I think he got tired of me asking to meet him. (I never did...). I was such a huge fan of this and Young Frankenstein. I still watch this movie at least once a year. Can't take the kid outtta me, I guess!

    May 27, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  26. Tom

    I hope Julie didn't learn any of her psychology from the movie :-).

    May 27, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  27. Asfoora

    I am a HUGE Wonka fan and saw the film over and over when I was a child, and still love it today. This interview was wonderful, and Julie Dawn Cole sounds like a lovely, gracious woman...juat the polar opposite of Veruca!
    Hats off to the cast and crew and many thank yous for a terrific childhood memory!

    May 27, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  28. Pkm

    I saw gene wilder im the del lamo mall in calie 20 years ago he was very friendley i still lovethe movie

    May 27, 2011 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  29. DJ

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a cult classic and always will be. Peter Ostrum gives the best performance I have ever seen a child give in a film. Gene Wilder is a comedy legend too.

    May 27, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  30. Scott S.

    Have always loved the original. The creepy boat song: "...Are the fires of hell a-blowing? / Is the grizzly reaper mowing? / Yes! The danger must be growing..." etc. was used in a promo for one of the last LOST episodes, it was one of the best things ever! My friend Chris maintains that Gene's Wonka is one of the best villains in movie history; the way he torments the children and is such a smart a$$. Classic! And the Oompa Looms songs are great lessons.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  31. Judy Nathanson

    The biggest thing that separated the original movie from the remake is the HEART. I believe Gene Wilder made the best Willy Wonka, the best Leo Bloom (The Producers) and the best Frederic Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein) and no stage plays or remakes of films will ever be able to capture the sincerity and HEART of the greatest character actor of the age. Here's to PURE imagination.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  32. ralphie

    Thanx foor the memories verooca salt!

    May 27, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  33. Scratch

    I'm 44 and that movie still scares the cr&p out of me.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  34. Howard Wright

    Saw it in the theater a child and took my daughter to see it in the theater when they brought the anniversary edition back ten years ago. There's just so many great scenes: the grandparents bed, the quaint candy store, the fizzy lifting drinks, the room that gets smaller, the crazy kids finding the winning tickets... I could go on. A magical series of moments in film!

    May 27, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  35. Me

    I remember seeIng this movie in the theater as a child. It was magical then and it is still magical today.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  36. LRoy

    Still watch it even after all these years (I'll be 49 in Aug). I have chocolate milk (not quite "candy") almost every morning for longer than I can remember.
    And man, can you tell Anthony Newley wrote the songs. I miss him.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  37. DJ

    My third grade teacher read us the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" long before the movie came out – it's a fantastic book, read it, or read it to your kids. I also loved the movie, Gene Wilder was terrific.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  38. V. Salt

    My neverending gobstopper was finished 39yrs ago..what up with that... .

    May 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  39. djweath

    "Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.... He lived happily ever after."

    May 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Roxanne

    anything with midgets is epic. I liked willy wonka because of the oompa loompas and gene wilder. lol

    May 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Sam L

    @patNY You REALLY need to lighten up!! Now the Potter films do go w/witchcraft BUT, the Willy Wonka film?? Come on!! That's absolutely absurd! As for Wilder, he's one of my all time favorite actors! That 'Pure Imagination' song is an absolute treasure! I sing along to it all the time when I watch the film. It tells how everyone either man and woman or boy and girl should be. Life can't be serious ALL the time! Happy anniversary to all the cast and crew of that amazing movie!

    May 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  42. joseph krygier

    Loved it and still do. I was 20, and my youngest brother was 10. I took him to see it. It always brings back memories, especially since my brother died at the age of 30.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Ross

    The film is one year older than me and I've watched it practically every year since I can remember. It always seems to be on at Christmas. It was a fixture in the era before video, DVDs and over the top TV. I've gone from liking it, to disliking it and back again. It is a great classic. It's indefinite location (England or America?) is disorientating.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Dan

    I just turned 41 last week and grew up watching this movie! Now I am able to share it with my 22 month old twins that absolutely love the songs and wonderful colors. God Bless Gene Wilder & the entire cast!

    May 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Kelly

    Great article, I love reading stuff like this. I was so excited to find the wide-screen DVD in the five dollar bin at Walmart recently – one of those movies I can watch over and over.

    May 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Larry

    Seether is neither black nor white.......

    May 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  47. fred

    Wo bist du Augustus Gloop ? Wo bist du?? Ach du liebe Herr Wonka, wo bist mein Augustus??

    May 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Gerard

    What a delightful article, Veruca Salt was my favorite guilty pleasure in "Willie Wonka...". I'm still hoping that someone will do a sequel featuring her. Maybe not involving the chocolate factory, and maybe not even with the other characters (okay, maybe with Augustus, his mom rocked!), but certainly featuring Veruca as a spoiled and over the top adult. GO, JULIE DAWN!!!

    May 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  49. MIke

    I love the boat scene!
    Favorite line: "But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."
    "What happened?"
    "He lived happily ever after."
    One of the best movies for children I have ever seen.

    May 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Richard Allen

    Now I have to go watch the movie. I have it on DVD. This movie never seems to get old.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  51. JP

    "So shines a good deed in a weary world ..." Gene Wilder is a national treasure and we would all be blessed if he could do another film, host SNL, anything. Depp was great, but somehow I can't see a remake of Blazing Saddles ever getting off the ground – sacred !

    May 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  52. JoePub

    I hope she did not sell the everlasting gobstopper to that fiend Slugworth.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  53. shastagirl

    My all time favorite movie!!!

    May 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Mike in NYC

    Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if – and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy: I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained, et cetera, et cetera... Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera... Memo bis punitor delicatum!

    It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!

    May 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Mike in NYC

    One of my favorite movies of all time!!!!

    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

    May 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  56. LL

    I love this movie, but hate the ending – and I heard that Roald Dahl did also. Still, the songs are wonderful as well as the characters in it. When this version of WWatCF comes on, I always watch it – can't really say the same for the Tim Burton one, but it's hard to compare the two versions even though they're based on the same book.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  57. smunch

    Ozzy is a fan because he likes watching the movie high.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Brigit

    This is one of my all-time-favorites, right up there with The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, and March of the Wooden Soldiers. No CGI, 3-D or expensive special effects either. Just a great story, great characters, and lots of imagination. Gene Wilder singing "Pure Imagination" is eerie and beautiful at the same time. I'm glad the movie's reputation and fan base are growing. The music by Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse is also fabulous.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      I love the same movies since childhood too. Wonka, Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang, Bang, March of the Wooden Soldiers (every Thanksgiving Day it's on TV, yea!!). And my wife's all-time favorite is It's a Wonderful Life. Her Christmas is not Christmas until the whole family watches it (at least once.) "Bert, ya know me? Well, sure I know you. You're wife's looking for ya. Everybody's looking for ya."

      May 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Mike in NYC

    I've just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we've learned it. But since today is Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest. Pencils ready!

    May 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  60. patNY

    this movie is evil! its the devil's work! it should be banned, along with all the harry pottery movies with their heretic witchery and the wizard of oz for the same reason. repent!

    May 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      uhhhh -huh? Hmmmm ..... Perhaps your definition of evil and the devil's work and the rest of the planet's is slightly different.

      May 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • smuba

      You should move to Iran where those movies are all banned for the reason that you stated.

      May 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoePub

      The devil's work? Isn't that going a bit too far? Have you ever thought about decaffeinated coffee?

      May 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      The only devil's work on Wonka was the freaky Michael Jackson-like Johnny Depp version. That frightened most small children and me at 48yo. MJ modeled his freak-show-inappropriate-child-behavior-Neverland Ranch after the original Wonka movie set. the only thing he couldn't get were real Oopma Loopmas. The original movie was great.

      May 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Possum

      LOL. `Willy Warlock and The Chocolate Factory" – hardly. If it were evil, as you claim, why is the main storyline Wonka's search for a pure and good child to run the chocolate factory – not like a greedy adult would – but as a child with a good heart would? Charlie is the humblest of all the Golden Ticket children and comes from a meek family environment and in his "bright and shining" moment proves his honesty and intent to do no harm to others. Charlie turns his cheek, so to speak, even, when Wonka is about to toss him out. Promises of fortune (Earthly Kingdom) have been laid at his feet (by the "devilish" Slugworth) if he will only betray the trust given him by Wonka but Charlie knows in his heart the right thing to do is to return/decline the Everlasting Gobstopper (his temptation/false Everlasting Life). In doing so, Charlie proves his worthiness and inherits the Chocolate Factory, where his family will also join him. The story is timeless because it teaches good from bad – and btw, there is no magic in it other than the magic of pure imagination and creativity. Now, if you're looking for a collection of moral stories that does contain acts of magic, mysticism and a talking snake, you might try the Bible. However, it's a bit too full of violence and incest for good children to be exposed to.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jross

      There's one in every crowd.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timsul

      Please.... search ..... Find yourself a life

      May 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joke?

      You're joking, right? It's a kids movie. C'mon, don't be dense.

      May 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Matthew Jandecka

    Great film! Tim Burton's remake sucked, as most remakes often do... I believe that reason the original is still fondly remembered is in part due to it's simplicity. It's like Wonder Woman starring Linda Carter, or The Bionic Woman starring Lindsay Wagner... the sets and stunts were real. No CGI, or computer animation... Regardless of how absurd the plot or premise, the simplicity of the filming makes it seem all that more real. And real... is something we can closer relate to.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      My only problem with the remake was that it was TOO close to the original Roald Dahl book.
      I read the book as a child and it's a really dark, gallows humor book, very British.

      The makers of Willy Wonka, were justified in lightening up the tone for their treatment. It helps that they added some bouncy, songs to boot.

      May 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  62. trigtardtwit

    gurgle, drool , pppffttttff

    May 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Dsn63

    The oompa loompas didn't scare me but those flying monkey's from The Wizaed Of Oz sure gave me nightmares. Willy Wonka is a wonderful family film.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Wilder Lover

    If you are a Gene Wilder fan, you must read the new biography of him that was recently published called "Gene Wilder: Funny and Sad" by Brian Scott Mednick. Ironically, published by the same people who published this book, BearManor Media.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Ryan51

    ahh... back when movies actually had some substance to them... now its just useless cgi battle scenes and x-rated happy scenes

    May 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  66. beantowndown

    Tim burtons remake was BALLS! It was a stupid idea to mess with a masterpiece

    May 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Ken Howell

    Loved Wonka & still have to watch when I find it's on even though I own the dvd. Never found it frightening and was shocked when it was included on a list of scary movies! The only scary thing I thought were the brats and their behavior. Gene Wilder has been a favorite actor ever since

    May 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  68. CW0WW

    Love, her, she's a living legend! But how on earth did she get screwed out of any royalties?! I bet the right lawyer could get her some, i mean she was 12 years old for f***'s sake!

    May 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      No one in TV or movies got royalties in those days, and they didn't know enough to bargain for them.

      May 27, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  69. Daryl

    Great story. My favorite movie!

    May 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  70. adnamA

    Burton's version ACTUALLY follows the book!! YAY!!!! Even the songs are straight from the book. I still like the original however, the boat scene still creeps me out to this day. My children love Burton's version...but then they loved reading the book and can't quite understand why the first one doesn't follow it at all. I keep telling them the same thing... that's Hollywood for ya!

    May 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Actually, if you read the credits of the movie, Roald Dahl, author of the book, also wrote the screenplay for the movie. He made/authorized the changes. I have been a fan of the film for 25 plus years and read the book. I have to say, I liked the content of the movie better than the book. Gene Wilder *is* and will always be the only legitimate "Willy Wonka". The remake was too "typical Tim Burton" and too creepy for my tastes.

      May 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Cary

    One of my all time favorite childrens movie- I know every word. I did NOT like Burton's version at all.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Me too. One movie that should never had a re-make.

      May 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disneyfan1234

      That wasnt a remake. it was actually based on the book called Charlie and the chocolate factory. so I like both cause its not a remake of the original:)

      May 27, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  72. T

    I liked the Oompa's songs from the movie is what I remember, also I saw it in the theatre at the time !

    May 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Loren

    I was too old too really like Willy Wonka the first time, but my children love both versions. Thanks for the catch-up on this actor, a charming article,

    May 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  74. fred

    I was the same age as the boy in Wonka (and blond and sort of wimpy like him )when it came out. I dreamed that I could be him or in a movie like him. Oh well, never happened. I still love the movie and now my kids do too. (So I still get to watch it ! Hee, Hee , Hee !!!)

    May 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Evel Knievel

    Those midgets would have scared me.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  76. steve

    Still one of my favorite movies of all time.. Gene Wilder's pure imagination number Still moves me today

    May 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Peace

    When I was a kid I loved (still do) fantasy movies. Willy Wonka was almost as good as Wizard of Oz. Hec, I still watch those movies today! (Just a kid at heart I guess) I also liked the remake w/ Depp! Good day!

    May 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  78. lw

    One of my all time favorite movies!

    May 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan51

      also one of the all time most important movies ever made... I miss having Gene Wilder in movies... he was awesome

      May 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      Most IMPORTANT!? Really...whatever. It's one of the greatest- but one of the most important? I think not.

      May 27, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      most important is a stretch, but the life lessons in this movie are second to none.

      May 28, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  79. jen

    My mom showed me this movie when I was five, it was the greatest I hope to be a mommy one day and watch it with my own kids!

    May 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Ted

    Neat article ! Thanks CNN – I really enjoyed reading it. When me and my brother were little kids this was a favorite. I hope everyone is having a happy day ! : )

    May 26, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |

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