It has been almost 45 years since Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory released, and we have compiled a comprehensive list of fun, wtf & interesting facts that will leave you laughing, amazed and aghast. These alternative facts are sure to make you relive many of your Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory memories. We all know the famous Willy Wonka meme but let’s dive into some more viral facts about the classic
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has always been a popular book among children and adults alike. The 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, was aimed to immortalize a literary work that had already made its own place in the world of literature. What goes behind making a film is not always revealed to the audience. That is what makes fun and interesting facts about movie so awesome. Unlike today we sometimes always get a sneak peak behind the scenes. But in the Wonka film being such an epic undertaking most if not all resources were focused on making a great movie instead of content around it.
1. The director’s daughter convinced him to make the film:
Which father can deny his daughter’s request, right? The 1971 film version, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was created after young Madeline Stuart convinced her father, director Mel Stuart, to go ahead with it. Upon her insistence, Mel Stuart embarked upon the journey of adapting the book for the silver screen. Madeline told the Los Angeles Times in 2012 that it had been her favorite book and she had assured her father that it would make a wonderful movie.
Madeline even makes an appearance in the film. She is present amongst the children in the classroom scene where the teacher inquires how many chocolate bars the children have eaten. Mel’s Stuart’s son, Peter plays the role of the young lad who informs Charlie’s teacher about the Golden Ticket contest. It’s a Willy Wonka fact not many know about.
2. Gene Wilder accepted the role on one condition:
Anybody who has seen the film cannot imagine anybody as Gene Wilder as the unforgettable Willy Wonka. So it is even difficult to imagine that other actors were considered for the role too. When Wilder was finally given the role, he agreed to take it on, but he had a condition of his own. He wanted to perform a somersault when he first met the children.
Wilder explained to Mel Stuart that this would help develop Wonka’s character by portraying him as unpredictable and unreliable from the outset. Willy Wonka would start by limping with the help of a cane but then break into a picture-perfect somersault and invite applause. This would be an indication to the audience and the children to be skeptical about what was true and what was not. His condition was met, and today we can see that famous scene.
3. Roald Dahl apparently did not like the film version:
Roald Dahl’s writing has us enthralled even today. The characters he created in his books are as appealing now as they were before. You cannot blame a writer for being particular about his creation, and for being displeased about deviations. Although Roald Dahl has been given credit as a screenwriter on the rolls of the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie, the rumor is that he disliked the film version tremendously. In fact, he ended up disowning Mel Stuart’s rendition of his famous book. He did not give up the movie rights for the book to anyone else during his lifetime.
He did not allow anyone to make a film on the sequel, ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.’ According to him, the film gave more priority to Willy Wonka than Charlie himself. He swore never to watch it but allegedly did end up watching a few minutes as a mistake.
4. The Chocolate Room Saga:
Stuart Mel wanted to keep reactions realistic. He did not allow anybody to view the Chocolate Room before the actual scene was shot. So when the kids first enter the Chocolate Room, they were seeing it for the first time even in real life. Their reaction on seeing the candy reaction is as genuine as it gets. They were not told previously that Gene Wilder would be coming from the factory with a limp on a cane. The entire purpose was to keep the children guessing so their wonder would be captured on camera, and no doubt it was a successful ploy!
The willy wonka chocolate river contained 150,000 gallons of water, real cocoa and cream. By the time the crew finished filming, the river’s contents had already started to get spoilt. A terrible smell prevailed throughout the set. Most of the Chocolate Room was real, but the delicious buttercup Wonka was chewing on was actually made of wax. He was spitting it out after every,’ Cut.’
Otherwise, most of the chocolate bars shown in the film were actually made of wood.
5.Quaker Oats used the film to promote their latest candy bars:
Quaker Oats Company were originally responsible for financing the film. They were going to release a new candy bar called the Wonka Bar. So they wanted to use the film to promote this candy bar. That is why the movie was renamed, ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ instead of sticking to the original book name, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’
After the release of the film, Quaker Oats finally began marketing its newest product- the Wonka chocolate bars. However, there was a small miscalculation when it came to the chocolate formula. This small error made the bars melt very easily, even while they hadn’t even left the store shelf. So the Wonka Chocolate Bars were taken off the market. Nestle owns the Wonka Candy Company as of now.
6. The name ‘Charlie’ was embroiled in controversy:
Some also conjecture that in some African-American communities, ‘Charlie’ is regarded as a controversial term. According to the book, the Oompa Loompas are actually African pygmies. The producers felt that African pygmies in the employment of a white man would be reminiscent of slavery and that would be a bad marketing move in the time of the civil rights movement. So Mel Stuart changed the Oompa Loompas to the orange-faced figures that we are familiar with today.
It was a producer who brought up that plantation slaves had a habit of calling their bosses, ‘Mr Charlie’ before the Civil War. American soldiers also used to refer to Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces by the name, “Charlie.” So Stuart changed the title to avoid any conflict.
7. The Oompa Loompa believed that he was steering the Wonkatania:
The Wonkatania boat was actually on a track while it was moving in the chocolate river. However, the actor who was playing the role of the Oompa Loompa at helm was actually laboring under a misconception. He actually believed that he was the one responsible for steering the boat to safety. Director Mel Stuart used his favorite trick in order to establish believability and did not disclose the truth to him beforehand. That is why the scene looks so convincing.
8. The Oompa Loompas came from different countries:
The movie was largely shot in Munich, Germany. However, the producers went outside Germany in order to find enough actors to recruit as the unique Oompa Loompas. Since they were of various nationalities, most of the actors who played the Oompa Loompas were not fluent in English. However, they became fast friends nevertheless and would often go out drinking together. It is because of the prevailing language barrier that there is some difficulty in synchronization during the musical numbers that are lipped by the Oompa Loompas.
9. Ostrum was not warned about the yelling:
The infamous scene where Wonka yells at Charlie was also not rehearsed after complete disclosure. Ostrum was not warned from before about the scene in Wonka’s office at the end of the movie. So Charlie’s reaction to Wonka shouting at him was absolutely genuine. Stuart thought that this would elicit a more realistic action from Charlie.
Gene Wilder has said that he really wanted to warn Peter from beforehand. They had become good friends during the course of filming, and he did not want to yell at him without clarifying that this was all a part of the act. However, Start would not hear of it.
10. Julie injured herself on the set:
Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) did not realize that a particular rock in the chocolate room was real. So she smashed a watermelon-sized chocolate egg against it. As a result, she fell on to it, and her left knee was injured. In fact, if you pay close attention to her first scene in the movie with the egg, you will notice blood on her left stocking. She carries the resulting scar on her knee till date. This was not her only unpleasant experience. The wallpaper she tasted was actually paper and did not resemble the taste of Snozzberries.
11. The foam caused skin irritation:
The foam that the crew used in the “Wonka Wash” scene was similar to that of normal fire extinguishers. This foam turned out to be a potent skin irritant. The actors felt uncomfortable after shooting the scene and soon their skin puffed up. They needed quite a number of days to recover completely even after receiving medical treatment.
12. The last line of the movie could have been totally different:
The movie was supposed to end with, “Yippee!” but then Mel Stuart decided to rewrite it on the spot. Stuart placed an international call to David Seltzer, the film’s un-credited screenwriter, and asked him to find the perfect the last line for the movie. The actors were already preparing to shoot when Stuart did this. Five minutes was all he gave Seltzer to frame the last line, and Seltzer came up with, “Do you know what happens to people who get everything they want in life, Charlie? They live happily ever after.” This remains one of the most iconic dialogues of, ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’
13. Tom and Jerry in Willy Wonka’s world:
The 2017 animated musical comedy film, Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Featuring the timeless characters of Tom and Jerry, the film paid tribute to the legendary actor Gene Wilder, who played the role of Willy Wonka in the 1971 film. It adapted the original plot and told the story from the point of view of Tom and Jerry. The film commemorated the completion of 45 years since the original movie was made. Although it was not a hit with the critics, the audience loved going back to the world of Willy Wonka.
14. Literary references:
Screenwriter David Seltzer thought of a gimmick that was exclusive for the film. He had Wonka quoting literary works like Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s, ‘Ode’, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and Oscar Wilde’s, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ Wonka also misquotes William Shakespeare in the film. If that was a character decision or just a mistake is not known.
15. A Nazi war criminal is featured in the film:
If you thought Slugworth was the only evil character in, ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, then you are wrong. The film even featured a Nazi war criminal- a real-life notorious villain who isn’t that well known. Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s henchman, appears as the supposed winner of the last Golden ticket in South America. Charlie watches this in a newscast, and then again comes across Bormann’s image on a newspaper, which claimed that the previous story was false.
This was Mel Stuart’s subtle joke which never really left an impact. Bormann dies during WWII, but some claimed that he had fled to South America. The children never really got the reference, and even the audience failed to recognize it.
Although not a critical hit at that time, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is still a source of nostalgia. Its popularity increased through the small screen and its appeal is still just as potent. There is something irresistibly heartwarming about the film and Charlie’s story but there is also a dark undercurrent that attracts adults too. Anybody who loves chocolate will love the visuals of the film even while knowing that some of the elements are not even real.
Reading wtf facts about movies is like delving into the backstory and uncovering secrets. We hope these alternative facts helped you gain fresh insight into the film.