In New Times, a Los Angeles publication, the reviewer had this to say about the music score of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was heavily influenced by the sounds of the psychedelic '60s: "The sound track is a scrumdidlyumptious treat that sounds safe and conventional in an old-fashioned Hollywood musical way. Half the songs are full of swelling strings and fluttery flutes - while packing some mightily subversive messages about the power of "Pure Imagination," to borrow the title of the recurring theme song. In fact, it's easy to project that the weirder, effects-and-synth-laden tunes powering the foam-spewing "Wonkamobile," "The Bubble Machine," "Wonkavision," and the Venus-bound "Wonkavator" are musical re-creations of hallucinogenic drug trips."
And the soundtrack isn't the only disorienting aspect of the film. There are, of course, the many wild rooms of the Wonka factory and the vast array of ways for naughty children to be eliminated! Then there are Wonka's mood swings. He can have a nasty temper and has no tolerance for spoiled brats, but he is the chocolate king, after all, so the kids and their parents have to hang in there. Wilder's performance here is one of his best ever, and he's got just enough malice behind the mystery to make Wonka truly memorable.
Mel Stuart, the director of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, was previously a guest on MonsterVision during our presentation of Four Days in November, the Oscar-nominated documentary about the assassination of President Kennedy. For the record, Stuart also directed If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, starring Suzanne Pleshette; I Love My Wife, with Elliott Gould; and One is a Lonely Number, featuring Janet Leigh. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, however, is the film for which Stuart will be best remembered.
And whatever happened to young Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) after he won the whole enchilada? After we last see him flying around in that nifty gold rocket? Well, in the wake of Wonka, Ostrum turned down a three-picture deal and returned to his native Cleveland where he became... a veterinarian! Sometimes, it appears, that golden ticket isn't all it's cracked up to be. Take note, aspiring lottery winners.
Intro [in chef's shirt and hat]
Okay, Field Trip Time. I'm Professor Joe Bob, and tonight's class here at Joe Bob's Summer School is Food Science 504 -- the prerequisite of which is Eating 101 and Piling the Dishes in the Sink 203, so I hope you've all completed those. We've got the classroom parked out in front of the famous Spago -- cause we just rolled into El Lay -- and superchef Wolfgang Puck is gonna teach yours truly to cook. We'll also be watching two great culinary films, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and the horror-comedy, Ice Cream Man, starring tonight's second guest-lecturer -- the awesome Clint Howard.
Okay, here's the overarching philosophical food-science question I want to deal with tonight. Dessert -- when did DESSERT become so hysterically funny? Why is it that every time I go to a restaurant, the waiter comes sniveling up to the table like a guy in a Cheech and Chong movie: "You guys need some STUFF, man?" No, what he really says is, "You aren't going to BELIEVE what we have on the dessert cart tonight." Giggle giggle wink wink. "We have kiwi tarts, a creme caramel, and I would suggest [sigh] the Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake. If you haven't had it, you'll want to stuff it in your underwear and WEAR it home."
Ha ha ha. Funny funny funny. But here's the interesting part. Up to now the guy's just a dim-bulb character who likes to dress up in a sailor suit and spoon creme broolay out of a bowl for a living. But then EVERYBODY AT THE TABLE JOINS IN. We are now into the stand-up-comedy part of the meal, and we won't be out of it for another fifteen minutes. Shirley the 450-pound woman says, "I can't believe you would do this to us. You're so NAUGHTY." Ha ha. Giggle giggle. Harvey says, "I really shouldn't." I usually try to break up this riotous laugh fest by saying to the guy, "Nothing."
The word "nothing" is a good word. It's definite. It's simple. The Dim Bulb says, "Nothing? Are you sure? Not even a little flan? How about one of our peach tarts?" What am I supposed to do? Beat him up? Demand to see his waiter ID?
"Come on, Joe Bob, have some of my baked Alaska. I'll order it if you'll help me." "I don't want to HELP you eat a baked Alaska. If I wanted to help you, I would buy you an Abdomenizer. If I wanted to eat a baked Alaska, I would order a baked Alaska. But I don't have any interest in helping YOU eat YOUR baked Alaska." Finally, they give up on me and they turn to the other people at the table. "Why don't we just get two and share?" "How about one torte and one chocolate mousse?" And Shirley the warthog says, "All right, you talked me into it." Laugh laugh. Guffaw guffaw. Because, you see, nobody talked Shirley into it. It was Shirley's idea in the first place. And then they bring the stuff, and everybody spears it with these tiny forks off of everybody else's plate, and then they comment on every single bite of it -- "This is so sinful." "This is better than sex." Let me point something out to you people: Food is not sinful. Food is not better than sex.
It's something you EAT. Food is food. In Latin, Pabulum est pabulum. And there ends the lecture portion of Food Science 504. We'll be entering the lab -- also known as the Spago kitchen -- at the first break, where we'll learn to cook from the world-famous Wolfgang Puck, while we watch one of THE most requested films in the library. "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." But it's not the kiddos who request it. It's the goofy grown-ups. This is one of those movies you get at the video store to watch with your kid, but only because YOU wanna watch it. And let's get it going. We'll be moving inside to the exclusive Spago at the first break. And don't forget, Clint Howard -- of the very talented Howard family, Ron Howard, of course, their father Rance Howard, who also turns up in movies around here -- anyway, Clint, a favorite of mine for years, will be here for our second flick, "Ice Cream Man."
[fading; confidentially] And maybe later, after the SECOND movie, we'll SHARE some dessert.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #1
[Spago kitchen, pizza preparation]
Okay. Professor Joe Bob here, and we're now in the kitchen of the world famous Spago Restaurant because we had dinner here and it cost nine THOUSAND dollars and this is the only way for us to work it off.
I'm kidding I'm kidding. We're here because my guest lecturer the famous chef Wolfgang Puck doesn't want me to be seen in the main dining room.
WOLFGANG: Absolutely. You look like you belong in the kitchen already.
Ladies and gentlemen, the inventor of the California style pizza and a lot of Californian style food in general, Mr. Wolfgang Puck.
WOLFGANG: Hi, how are you?
WOLFGANG: Good to see you.
You know, we don't have a lot of guys in my neighborhood name Wolfgang.
So you're not from here, are you?
WOLFGANG: Well, I'm not from here. I'm from Austria, actually. I lived south of part of Austria.
That's what I thought. Okay.
WOLFGANG: I've always loved to eat pizza and I think what is better than at home you turn on your TV and eat a little pizza?
WOLFGANG: So I gonna show you how to make it right.
Tell me the truth. Now before we cook yours, if I walked into your restaurant what kind of table would I get on a weekend? What's tougher, weeknights or weekends?
WOLFGANG: No, I think you have to make reservations, but you know what's important is once you know the maitre d' or the manager or if you know me.
Well, I know you now, right?
WOLFGANG: Now you know me, so it's easier. You don't have to wait. We'll get you a table anytime, but it's better . . .
But I just have this measly little cable show, so where would my table be?
WOLFGANG: I think it's an important television show because you show all these movies about food, and that's the most important thing.
Well, I'd rather be here in the Inner Sanctum, the actual Puck kitchen, where you're gonna show us how to make one of your famous pizzas, right?
WOLFGANG: Well I'm going to make one today. Here's the dough.
WOLFGANG: You're ready?
WOLFGANG: Okay, well you take the dough.
Okay, 'cuz I do this so often.
WOLFGANG: You do like me, like kinda stretch it. See, like that. Stretch it, okay.
WOLFGANG: Very good. And then you go like this.
WOLFGANG: So it's really easy and all of a sudden you have a pizza.
Well yours got bigger than mine really quick.
WOLFGANG: You can throw it up. Look up. You almost caught it...
WOLFGANG: All right. So you want to stretch it nice and thin. You know, not too thick, so you can see my fingers through it.
WOLFGANG: All right, perfect. Let's put a little flour here, okay?
Okay. Go one more, Class.
WOLFGANG: Very good! Look at that. Oh, if you don't make it on television, you always can come and work with us here.
WOLFGANG: You always need good pizza people. All right. Next thing is, we gonna put a little olive oil.
Olive oil. I love olive oil.
WOLFGANG: Okay, and mozzarella cheese. So you take for you a little cheese.
WOLFGANG: Sprinkle it nicely and then you can put on whatever you want. I like a little tomato. You like tomatoes?
WOLFGANG: This is...you can look here.
All this stuff.
WOLFGANG: Red peppers, leeks, mushrooms -- whatever you want. Good things. You can make it up.
WOLFGANG: This is lobster for a salad I gonna show you later.
Okay, so tomatoes.
WOLFGANG: One of my favorite things is prosciutto, so I always put a little prosciutto, gives it a nice salty peppery taste. All right. And something we started years ago. It's goat cheese. This is fresh goat cheese. It's really good.
WOLFGANG: Don't make just a mountain. This is not a pizza mountain.
WOLFGANG: Spread it out a little bit.
I was going vertical there.
WOLFGANG: Okay. Just put a few more things, maybe a little black pepper.
Pepper is good. Okay.
WOLFGANG: And a little basil. You put on some. I put a little bit too. Ah, let's put a little cheese on top. That's it.
WOLFGANG: All right, so now we have to bake it.
WOLFGANG: And this is our microwave here. You see where the big flame in here?
Yeah, okay. So we're gonna pop this baby in the oven.
WOLFGANG: Pop the baby in the oven and cook it. It takes about five minutes.
Okay. Going back to "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
All right. One. There we go. That is a humongous oven.
WOLFGANG: Here we have another one. You see it's important that it slides on your pizza part of, you so you can get it in. Oh yeah, nice and slow.
WOLFGANG: All right.
[fading] I'm from the South, Wolfgang. I don't know if you noticed. How bout some Vienna sausages on here? Those are from your homeland, right?
WOLFGANG: We do put pepperoni or barbecue chicken.
WOLFGANG: Or barbecue pork -- whatever you like. Barbecue goes actually very well with the pizza, so.
WOLFGANG: You won't go hungry in the South either.
All right. I believe you.
WOLFGANG: All right.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #2
[Spago kitchen][finished pizza; salad preparation]
Okay. Here we are back in Spago with superchef Wolfgang Puck, who's just taken our pizza out of the oven.
WOLFGANG: Yeah, all right. You see the cheese is nice and bubbly. Look how beautiful it looks.
Turned out. Is that mine or yours?
WOLFGANG: Ah, I think this is yours. It looks too good. I can't make it that nice. All right. Look! A perfect pizza. I think about doing this television. You come and cook here I'll think, uh? You have too much talent for doing television.
I wanted to ask you, Wolfgang. You know you also have the BEST frozen dinners out on the market.
WOLFGANG: Absolutely yeah . . .
How many grams of fat are really in those frozen dinners?
WOLFGANG: We actually have some pizzas with no fat at all.
WOLFGANG: We have some food with no fat at all, if you're on a diet, but you know cheese tastes good, so there's a little fat in it. So in a pizza with no fat, to me is not a real pizza.
Well, Wolfgang, you know there aren't too many super chefs who HAVE frozen dinners, so I was surprised to hear that. How did you get into that?
WOLFGANG: Because I had people like Charlie who took pizzas home like 10, 15 years ago and they're frozen and then they kept it in the freezer and whenever they needed it, they cooked it and it came out perfect.
Okay, good answer. All right now we're gonna make our favorite salad. Is this your signature salad?
WOLFGANG: Spago top salad.
Which is the dinner version though, right?
WOLFGANG: It is really wonderful. We have here a little Romaine and watercress in here. You can see that. We put a little balsamic vinegar and we mix it well, so it's really very easy. This is a perfect main course salad or you can have it for an appetizer in a smaller version. Okay, let's take this over here. Now we have all different ingredients here. We have tomatoes. Let's make a nice row with tomatoes here.
This is a very light salad, right?
WOLFGANG: It's light.
WOLFGANG: A few ounces.
INTV: I would just think Austrians ate heavy salads.
WOLFGANG: No. No. No.
WOLFGANG: When I'm in America for 25 years, in California.
You get a lot of celebrity customers in your restaurant, right?
WOLFGANG: Oh yeah, that's for sure. Most of the people come here, they live here, from, you know, Tony Curtis for example... comes every night.
Really? Somebody told me they saw Joey Butafuoco in your Hollywood restaurant.
WOLFGANG: Oh yeah, who is he? I don't know him.
You know who he is?
WOLFGANG: It's a friend of yours. Is he one of your friends, or what?
Can we keep the pizza warm 'til the next break?
We need to get back to the...
WOLFGANG: ...and here we have a little lobster.
...Hunt for the golden tickets. What all are we puttin' on there?
WOLFGANG: Lobster, or you can add shrimp or chicken or a lot of different things.
WOLFGANG: Okay, if you want a little avocado.
That's looking good all right. Roll the film.
WOLFGANG: Very easy and fast. You see that. Let's put a little more lobster, huh?
Wolfgang, do you ever go home and just say, "I want a big bag of Cheetos and a giant Pepsi"?
WOLFGANG: What are you talking about? I don't under-- what is that kind of food you're eating? I don't know where this guy is... Where does he come from?
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #3
[Spago kitchen][dessert preparation]
I love that dance sequence with Jack Albertson. The studio wanted to bring it out in the streets, but the director of "Willy Wonka," Mel Stuart, wanted the movie to be as realistic as possible, so they did it in the room around the bed, even though it was a big pain in the butt to shoot. Anyhow, we're here on our field trip to Spago with world-famous chef Wolfgang Puck.
And we've been we've been joined by another chef. We've been joined by Cameron Puck, sometimes known as Charlie Puck, who recently produced a video for the Center for Early Education.
WOLFGANG: Yeah, absolutely. On pizzas not on chocolate. His real favorite is really chocolate, you know.
Really, this is your favorite dessert Cameron?
WOLFGANG: What are you making here? Tell us a little bit.
CAMERON: I'm not telling you. It's my secret recipe.
WOLFGANG: It's your secret recipe. How I going to make it? Well, I going to make my own chocolate. You see what I have here? I'm gonna make chocolate dinosaurs because I know that kids love 'em. You know you fill 'em up?
WOLFGANG: Okay let's fill 'em all up. How you like chocolate?
That looks good.
WOLFGANG: You taste it. It's perfect.
I want to ask Cameron a question.
What exactly does Spago mean?
WOLFGANG: Spago means that I...
He doesn't know and I don't know. Only you know . . .
WOLFGANG: That's my secret. See, he has the secret for a chocolate cake and I have the secret for the name. The name is actually a string with no beginning and no end. So you could have it like this, see?
WOLFGANG: A string of chocolate. Look at that.
I've never heard that explained before.
WOLFGANG: All right. Chocolate is great. Look at that, and then we can mold them. The same thing what is Cameron gonna do here. All right so these are the dinosaurs. You can see we made of them here already.
So those are chocolate dinosaurs. What are these that Cameron's...
WOLFGANG: What are you making Cameron here? He doesn't want'ta tell me. I really want the recipe and I never can get it from him. This is his special chocolate pyramid. Now it is not quite finished yet. Maybe we'll have Willie over there. She gonna have some out ready already.
I wanna ask you Wolfgang -- you're one of the few chefs who's never gotten to be overweight. Do you work out or how do you make all these desserts and you never get overweight?
WOLFGANG: Ah, I'm a little overweight. Say, Willie, what we gonna do with this chocolate here? Cameron, what you gonna... Have you finished your chocolate?
WOLFGANG: This is your best one? (MACHINE SOUND) Oh it's good.
What are we doing here, Wolfgang. We bringing up food weapons.
And what is that noise? What does this do?
WOLFGANG: It's working very well.
All right. Here's where the movie really takes off. They held back the appearance of Willie Wonka to the last possible minute and the suspense is worth the wait so ah okay good.
WOLFGANG: I love the chocolate. You love chocolate?
Well, no I...
WOLFGANG: ...You will really like it.
[fading] You ever used George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine? WOLFGANG: No not yet.
You should check it out.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #4
[Spago kitchen, dessert preparation, cont'd. Prop: Wonka Bar]
Well Gene Wilder just suddenly appears forty-five minutes into the movie and he takes over doesn't he? Mel told us last time that that entrance by Wilder with the cane, where he almost falls forward, then rolls and jumps up, wasn't in the script. Gene just improvised it. We're here on our field trip at the famous Spago for Food Science night at Joe Bob's Summer School and Wolfgang Puck and I and Cameron Puck are still working on dessert. So what else can you show me, Wolfgang?
WOLFGANG: Well, we have...
What other kinds of dessert do we have here?
WOLFGANG: All kinds of chocolate. You know, chocolate is everybody's favorite, and I think my dream would be to own a chocolate factory too. But I think of my son, really, it is what he really likes and he loves to bake chocolate cakes and he actually mixes chocolate and flour and butter and sugar together and makes wonderful cakes.
This other one I noticed. You're going vertical here, Wolfgang. That one's kinda vertical.
WOLFGANG: Uh huh.
What is this thing that they talk about all the time with vertical food as opposed to horizontal?
WOLFGANG: These are just cookies and puff pastry cookies with a little chocolate inside. You can see the brown part.
WOLFGANG: And then we have the little turtles here, the chocolate turtles.
WOLFGANG: You see that. And here we have one of my favorite, is chocolate toffee. It's caramel, chocolate and pistachio nuts. That's fantastic. It's the perfect way when you eat. Taste some. When you watch a movie you eat this chocolate next to you. It's perfect. All you need is hot chocolate and then you're in heaven.
Somebody told me that vertical food is big and so is the horizontal food. Right?
WOLFGANG: Well, it's like vertical or horizontal. Some things you can make and stand up and some things just lie down all the time.
You know what would be really interesting? Diagonal food.
WOLFGANG: Okay, you can do that. You come up with something. I can see you would be pretty long.
Okay, I'm gonna move to the dining room at the next break and enjoy all this fine food I've made. Wolfgang, thanks for teaching us how to cook. Thank you, Cameron, for being here.
WOLFGANG: Thank you, Cameron.
We'll continue with "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
WOLFGANG: Are you gonna give me your recipe for a cake now, or what?
[fading] This is really easy to do at home too isn't it, Wolfgang? Anybody can do this.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #5
[Spago dining room][pizza]
Oompa Loompa, doompadee doo. We have a perfect puzzle for you. I'm now in the dining room of the world-famous Spago restaurant about to enjoy the delicious pizza I just made. [pizza brought to table] Thanks, hon. That's what I call "presentation"!
Anyway, it was pretty hard casting all those midgets as the Oompa Loompas. Actually, the Oompa Loompas are dwarves. They had to cast em from all over Europe, and most of em didn't speak English, so they had American singers dub the songs in later. And the message of the Oompa Loompas seems to be that if a parent lets a kid get away with bad behavior, then the kid should be, well, DISPOSED OF. I think this is why a few of the reviewers said the movie is "mean-spirited" and "too dark." Well, history has proven them wrong. Let's continue, with the totally UNpredictable "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." And don't forget, the affable Clint Howard is joining us for the second movie.
[fading] Let's try this pizza now. [takes bite] Okay, class, what have we learned so far? Pizza rules, that's right.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #6
[Spago dining room ... salad]
We're still here on our field trip to Spago, enjoying the fruits of my labors while watching "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." I saw an interview with Denise Nickerson, the girl who played Violet Beauregarde, and she said they made her stay in that giant blueberry bubble for EIGHT HOURS -- including while everyone else left her there and went to LUNCH!
And speaking of food -- garcon?!
[Waiter brings salad]
Ah, yes, my salad. I'm not normally a salad person. I think lettuce is for cows. But Wolfgang Puck helped me with this one. Anyhow, Jack Albertson wasn't having any fun, either. Apparently the reason he looks scared in the Fizzy Lifting Room is that he was in enormous PAIN! He was suspended by black wires against a black background, and at his age, it was kind of an ordeal. But all in the service of his art. Back to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." And stick around for actor Clint Howard, who'll be with us for our second flick.
[fading] Where's the guy with the giant pepper mill? I love that part. I want one of the enormous ones, that thing that looks like a Pakistani birth-control device.
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Commercial Break #7
[Spago dining room][Dessert]
Okay, Veruca Salt -- that actress is named Julie Dawn Cole, and her song and dance number, "I Want It Now," is definitely the bratty highlight of all the bratty behavior in the movie. Julie Dawn Cole still works on the British stage, and in London television -- she was in "EastEnders," which is on PBS. Okay, it's DESSERT TIME. [waitress brings dessert]
You know how everyone can't order dessert without having a 15-minute conversation about it. "I'll order it if you'll split it with me." "Why don't you bring some extra forks?" Well, I don't wanna split it and I don't want any extra gouges out of my dessert with OTHER PEOPLE'S FORKS. I'll order something, and you know what I'll do -- I'll EAT IT. Okay, extra forks.
I might as well cover what the other kids are up to. This was the one-and-only role for the kid who played Charlie, Peter Ostrum. He became a veterinarian. Michael Bollner, who played Augustus Gloop, is now an accountant in Germany. Denise Nickerson, who played Violet Beauregard, became a nurse and then a housewife. And Paris Themmen, or Mike Teevee, does all kinds of things, including hanging out at the Wonkamania conventions. Warner Brothers Studio just got the rights to do a remake of the movie, and the rumors are that Nicholas Cage might play Willy Wonka. I don't know if I can see him singing "Pure Imagination," though. But they didn't know Gene Wilder could sing when they cast him, either. Anyhow, time for the wonderful conclusion to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Directed by Mel Stuart, who has been a guest on this show a couple times. And speaking of guests, Clint Howard, the star of our next movie, will be joining us in a bit. Okay, roll film.
[fading] I'm gettin outta here, cause there are three camera guys and a boom operator who are about to dogpile on this dessert. Guys, just wait till I'm out of the way, okay?
"WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" Outro
And so ends "Willy Wonka," with Charlie accepting the keys to the chocolate kingdom. I should point out that that wasn't originally how the film was supposed to end. The last line of the SCRIPT was actually "Yipee!" but Mel Stuart, the director, didn't think that was good enough. So he holds everybody on the set in Germany and calls the writer, David Seltzer, at a bar in Maine, and tells him he has one minute to write a final line that sums up the picture. Seltzer comes back to the phone a minute later and gives him what has become one of the most famous ending lines in film: "But, Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."
"He lived happily ever after."
Stick around, we're about to meet the world's most demented Ice Cream Man in the drive-in movie of the same name while we chat with it's star, Clint Howard - host segments continue with Ice Cream Man
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Willy Wonka was named one of "TV Guide's 50 DVD's You Must Have" in the November 30, 2002 issue, and the DVD version includes comments from the now-grown four child stars
Mel Stuart's behind-the-scenes book about the Willy Wonka movie is also available.
(wait until music stops to play video, or click here to stop the music yourself)
Remake released in 2005, though Gene Wilder doesn't know why: In a recent interview, Wilder commented "It's all about money. It's just some people sitting around thinking 'How can we make some more money?' Why else would you remake Willy Wonka? I don't see the point of going back and doing it all over again. I like Johnny Depp, and I appreciate that he has said on record that my shoes will be hard to fill. But I don't know how it will all turn out."Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple
A Dermatologist looks at Willy Wonka's characters
(you may also remember him as Joe Bob's MonsterVision guest for Acne Night's look at Motel Hell)
What if Ebay had a secret website where everything is half-off all the time? Click here
Happy Birthday Gene Wilder (from NBC's Trio Channel in June)
Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.
Back to MonstervisionYou want candy? The Ice Cream Man has it
Answers to MonsterVision's Find That Flick contest (2000)
Link to this page from your website or blog: http://www.angelfire.com/mn/nn/WillyWonka.html
Monstervision 100% Wierd Movie description above and earlier 8/28/99 host segments
©1999/2000 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved
Ooompa looompa doompa-de-doo
Richard Matheson of Twilight Zone, Duel, Hell House, Somewhere In Time, I Am Legend (Omega Man) also wrote a quirky children's book, called "Abu and the 7 Marvels." In 2002, it was rerelaesed in hardcover, though he had the illustrator change the genie. "The one thing I told him when he drew the Genie, I told him I thought he looked too menacing. I thought he should look older and more beat-up and cranky and everything, which he changed, which became exactly what it should be." And it might be a movie someday: "I hope it will be turned into either a live-action or animation feature. I'm going to be submitting it to various companies within a month or two." One of his other stories was slated for a movie in the early 1980s starring Jack Palance of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, but that movie fell through. Matheson will always be remembered for one of his Twilight Zone scripts, about a certain gremlin: "I've run into young producers who say, "You know, you scared the hell out of me! When Bill Shatner pulled that curtain aside and saw that thing at the window, I couldn't sleep for three days." But we never knew at the time that we were involved in something that was going to become a television classic. Every season we were sure it was going to be canceled. People (fans) would write letters and it would squeak through by the skin of its teeth."
"When Spielberg did Duel I was, of course, totally dazzled. And I liked Somewhere In Time. And I did a script about alcoholism, called The Morning After, with Dick Van Dyke and I was totally dazzled. And a few others... The Night Stalker, The Night Strangler... I was pleased with those. So, when people have asked me how I would define myself as a writer I always say, as a storyteller." He wasn't worried about such a story coming out after Iran's possible involvement in 9/11: "It never even occurred to me. There was no connection in my mind between Persia and Iran." The illustrator agrees: "When September 11 happened, it immediately occurred to me that this might be the worst possible time to release a children's adventure set in the Middle East. Hopefully, the ancientness of the setting and its kinship to well-beloved tales like Aladdin will separate itself in the public's mind from the tragedies of that awful day. On a more sober, logical level, I think we have to ask ourselves if we will continue to condemn the entire Middle East for the horrific actions of a few extremists who are disconnected from the mainstream thoughts and feelings of the many people who have been our longtime allies. In the vein of Abu, I've got a series of paintings on my things-to-do list that will depict various scenes from a sequel to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad that I co-wrote with Ray Harryhausen. We'll use those paintings to try to sell the film. I'm also working on a huge coffee table tome of my collected works. I'm always soliciting for mural work; for me, painting murals is so much fun—they're the best! Other than that, there's not much going on!"
If this movie falls through, perhaps the SCIFI channel will do it as one of their original productions.-- Willy Wonka
Added content & layout © Bill Laidlaw.