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If you want to view paradise simply look at the Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day and view it.

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s Behind the Scenes Pic!

It could be that fantastic Letters of Note entry featuring Gene Wilder’s letter to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s director, Mel Stuart, with his thoughts on the lead character’s costuming, but the film has been on my mind recently. Gene Wilder is one of a kind. There is no modern day equivalent of his particular screen presence. He was a little sad, a little scary, a lot funny and totally empathetic. Well, still is… he’s not gone yet.

Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one of my favorite on-screen characters and I’m at once thankful Johnny Depp didn’t try to copy that performance and appalled at the version of Wonka he did come up with.

So, let’s all gather around and remember the only cinematic Willy Wonka that matters with this shot of Mr. Wilder goofing off with Mel Stuart in the Chocolate Room of his warehouse (aka fat kid heaven… unless your name is Augustus Gloop, of course). Thanks to Pat Barnett for the image!



If you have a behind the scenes shot you’d like to submit to this column, you can email me at

Tomorrow’s pic features Stan Winston on one of his lesser known films!

-Eric Vespe
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Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page One
(warning: there are some broken links that will be fixed as soon as I can get around to it)

Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page Two

Readers Talkback
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  • June 16, 2012, 9:40 p.m. CST

    *Satisfying and Delicious*

    by DrMorbius

  • June 16, 2012, 9:40 p.m. CST


    by wcgilb

    While Depp did a great job as Wonka- Wilder's portrayal is a classic never to be outdone.

  • June 16, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Gene Simmons was originally Willy Wonka?

    by Drunken Busboy

    Sure does look a lot like him! ;)

  • June 16, 2012, 10:09 p.m. CST


    by Tigger Tales

  • June 16, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Never was an actor more perfectly cast.

    by Ironhelix

    Except in films where people play themselves, of course.

  • June 16, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Nicely done on the headline Quint!

    by Shia_LaBeoufs_Mutant_Hand

    This movie remains my favorite of all time. Wilder's performance was truly magical!

  • June 16, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Letters of Note

    by Mike Fornes

    Thank you for the link to that site. It is a fascinating collection there.

  • June 16, 2012, 10:54 p.m. CST

    The Stan Winston film.

    by Michael Edwards

    I'm guessing it will be Dead and Buried.

  • June 16, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Belated Spoiler Alert & Question ???

    by Wilford_Brimleys_Diabetes_Rage

    After seeing the the architect play the flute to start the map/ship in "Prometheus" did anyone but me think of Willy Wonka in the theater ???

  • June 16, 2012, 11:06 p.m. CST

    The greatest thing about Burton's abomination

    by Mr Lucas

    is that it reminded everyone how good the original was.

  • June 16, 2012, 11:06 p.m. CST

    I want to view HOBBIT SET REPORTS, Quint

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    Can you help me with that? JESUS CHRIST you get this chance of a lifetime to go visit the Hobbit set as a guest of the production, IN YOUR CAPACITY as a writer for this website.... and you can't be fucking bothered to even write it up? COME ON, MAN

  • Nobody loves them?

  • ... Wilder would've made a great Dr. Who.

  • June 16, 2012, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Ivan Reitman is a great director.

    by EyeForgiveMelGibson

  • June 17, 2012, 12:09 a.m. CST

    The Burton film has some faults.

    by Khashabi

    But it is a much better adaptation of the original book and Depp's Wonka has that slightly dangerous and creepy vibe that Wonka is supposed to have. The Gene Wilder version is far too cute and saccharin sweet, something that Roald Dahl books never are.

  • June 17, 2012, 12:18 a.m. CST


    by Robbiemc9

    I adore this movie. You can keep your Shitty Poppins, Shitty Shitty Bang Bang and any of that Disney shmaltzy crap. This was the best kids movie ever and had a really great relevant moral tale at the heart of it that doesn't really age. I think all kids these days should be forced to watch this movie. It inspired me as a kid not to be a greedy arsehole. I loved how dark it got in places and as a little kid I remember enjoying that scary thrill moment because they just managed to not push it too far. Whilst Wilder carried the movie I think it also benefited by the rest of the cast who were all strong in their own way. ESPECIALLY the kids. All the songs are great too! I actually didn't mind Depps take on the character. The movie as a whole sucked terribly. One of the worst CGI effects ever and they totally cut the kids and their moral tale out of it. I think the kids in their own right were strong so I was totally dissapointed to see how underplayed that part of the story was. The Oompas (or should I say Oompa) were hopless and I couldn't tell you a single lyric from any of the songs. Burton really dropped the ball. I love all the news coverage in the original film and the intro of each of the characters. Funny little moments like the nod to the Queen and the rich woman who pauses when she has to consider giving up her case of Wonka bars to get her kidnapped husband back. None of it was necessary to the story but it fleshed out the build up so well and just added a layer of quirkyness to it. Anytime I catch anyone in my life pigging out I always love dropping a good "Augustas sweetheart! Save some room for later" on them. Thanks Quint! I am off home to watch this tonight. I watched Wizard of Oz the other night and I always found the two go well together. Two kids movies that were not afraid of their dark moments and really thrilled me.

  • They kept selling that film as, the reason we're doing a remake is so we can make it a true adaptation, but then like halfway through thought, eh fuck it.

  • June 17, 2012, 12:41 a.m. CST

    One of the best performances ever!

    by Tim

    Love this movie. Absolutely hilarious. ...and my great uncle Carmine gave Gene Wilder voice lessons back in the day!

  • June 17, 2012, 12:43 a.m. CST


    by Tim

    I never read the book, but I never saw Wilder's Wonka as "too sweet". He absolutely has a menace about him...a sort of smugness that suggests all the guests are under his complete control, and he may also be a bit unstable.

  • Every once in a while I watch a clip of this movie because someone's talking about how great it is and I have to double-check... yeup it fucking sucks balls covered in diarrhea! Look at that lollipop prop. Lollipop sticks don't go all the way through the candy head that way. Nice eye for detail ya fucking clowns. I hate the 70s. If I were born 5 years earlier I'd have shot myself in 1975!

  • June 17, 2012, 1:16 a.m. CST


    by Robbiemc9

    I can't believe someone mentioned Promethesux earlier. Are we still not done with that shitty movie yet? Sequals! Prequals! I want a prequel that hits all the right places, And knows how to entertain. And by the way I want scientists to not take their helmets off. Because that is just insane. I want someone to tell Charleze Theon. Playing the bitch is pointless and boring Someone also needs to tell Charlese Theon To learn how to run sideways. I want a plot I want a coherent plot One that has logic and doesn’t go off subject I want a plot that makes sense A Xenomorph! A proper Xenomorph Second jaws that are gnashing and acid blood splashing With dripping viscous massing. Give it to me. NOW! I want the old guy to act like an old guy and not like Guy Pearce in make up I want logic behaviour Proper logic behaviour I want scared scientists to act like scared scientists AND NOT PET COBRA WORMS!!! I want a woman who’s had a c-section. To collapse in agony. No leaping, jumping or running or hanging, Just crippling immobilising pain. I want the Captain To tell them all to get fucked And not to crash the ship senselessly I want him to grab guns and just go fucking nuts. Because they are all as dumb as can be. Dont care how I want it now DONT CARE HOW RIDLEY I WANT IT NOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  • What do you get when you're full of regret? A spammy talkback and depressed too I bet Because when you hate you can't apologise; We know it's the rest of us, you ... despise. You can't stand just one of us. Oompa loompa doompedy dash You'll never shut up when there's good stuff to trash We know the secret that you'll never tell: When you hate us you hate yourself as well!

  • June 17, 2012, 1:23 a.m. CST

    @robbiemc: Applause!

    by veteran_of_mu

    Love it!

  • June 17, 2012, 1:32 a.m. CST

    I don't like the look of it

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    the Depp version was proof Burton has lost his way as a filmmaker. Y'all remember this shit here? "Backwudz" did a Willy-Wonka-themed song & video...

  • June 17, 2012, 1:37 a.m. CST

    robbiemc9 & caractacus - wrong thread, but...

    by irishraidersfan

    Are you serious? If you found it incoherent, learn to follow a narrative, and not just the likes of the Avengers. They took off their helmets, boo hoo. I love Alien, but Ripley goes back for a fucking cat?!! Are you kidding me? That said, it adds to the tension. Characters in movies like Alien/Prometheus do stupid things - get the fuck over it. I want a xenomorph... Jesus... Got watch AvP then.

  • June 17, 2012, 1:43 a.m. CST

    Mel Stuart is Stan Lee's cousin...

    by Odkin

    And anyone who says that Wonka is "too sweet" didn't watch the movie. Watch that fucking boat ride where he screams "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 For the rowers keep on rowing And they're certainly not showing Any signs that they are slowing!" ... and tell me that wasn't one of the most terrifying nightmare scenes EVER.

  • June 17, 2012, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Robbiemc9-YOU LOSE! Good Day Sir!

    by Cureguy

    You are wrong! Prometheus is a masterpiece. You wanna bitch about it, then get on the right thread.

  • June 17, 2012, 1:50 a.m. CST

    Willy Wonka > Charlie

    by Red

    Love both Wilder and Depp. Gene, however, wins.

  • June 17, 2012, 1:51 a.m. CST

    I am glad you liked the movie irishraidersfan

    by Robbiemc9

    I was just having some light hearted fun and I am sorry if I offended. I'm just beginning to find the discussion of it on this site is starting to go meta - like the Brian Cox joke - it just wont go away. There isn't a thread that exists since it's release where it doesn't get mentioned and going from Wonka to Prometheus is a big stretch which I found surrealistic and amusing to a certain extent.

  • June 17, 2012, 3:08 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    You've got a lot to learn about narrative.

  • June 17, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Phooey, I'm not sorry even a little bit.

    by veteran_of_mu

    Robbie, what you did was beautiful, no apologies necessary. Irish, it's not about the helmets. It's about cheating. The second Wonka film cheated an audience hoping for the edgy charm and guileless warmth of the first. They were cheated of that. Prometheus cheated an audience hoping for the gritty humanity and hard science fiction of the first. Robbie hit that note-perfect in his filk version of Veruca Salt's "I want it now" ( But if we have to go there ... As for going back for your cat - people have been known to run into burning buildings to retrieve a cat. You might not do it, but that doesn't make it an unrealistic choice for someone else. Unlike doing athletics with a belly full of surgical staples. Or committing suicide by bracing for impact rather than spending 2 years bonking Theron, or failing to understand the physics of rolling donuts, or failing to survey the planet from orbit, or cowardly biologists petting strange cobras or a dozen other dumbass Prometheus ideas. You find those things coherent, it'd be great if you could explain that rather than just flaming on ...

  • June 17, 2012, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Can anyone else spot the dead chicken?


    One of the flashing images during the freaky chocolate river boat ride is a live chicken being decapitated. Even Tim Burton wouldn't go as dark as that. Best. Kids. Film. Ever. And I wish Gene would make one more awesome film.

  • June 17, 2012, 3:35 a.m. CST

    Jimbocop - yes I do, every flipping time!!

    by david starling

    Whats also creepy is that the monologue Willy Wonka spouts in this part, Marilyn Manson took and spoke himself, on the intro of his first album, Portrait of an American Family!! I didn't like the Tim Burton movie, and found Johnny Depp's Wonka at odds with the book - he wasn't edgy or dangerous by any means, he was just aloof. Also, its a great shame the Great Glass Elevator was never made - not sure if that would be a family film though!!

  • June 17, 2012, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by Bodenland Unbound

    The Great Glass Elevator was never made because Roald Dahl hated the first film. And he was right.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:15 a.m. CST

    OT but I'm trying to spread the word..

    by Gabba-UK

    If your in the UK and haven't seen Jaws on the big screen.... you're an idiot. And if the suits in America don't give this a national release over there.... they're idiots. And if you have to wait till the blu-ray.... the bullet ricochet off the tank is back in the audio mix. So the restorers of the film weren't idiots. Gene Wilder is a legend too.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Thanks Caractacuspotts!

    by Robbiemc9

    Funny - when you think about it Promethus and Burton's Wonka have a bit in common. Both are shinny, effects laden and pretty to look at but both are also vacuous and hollow and mere shadows of the former glory they relate to. The chicken head always freeks me out. That was truly some amazing imagery. I would love to know who thought it up and where the inspiration came from? Only in the 70's hey! One minute your in an amazing edible chocolate garden - the next minute it's like a deleted scene from the movie Tommy!! Cracks me up but freaked the shit out of me as a kid. His crazy ranting poetry is so abstract and pure gold. The beauty of Gene's performance was that he knew that Wonka saw immediately through all the family's. They represent all he fled from when he closed the factory and in some ways all that is wrong with the world. Yet at the end he could also emote great caring and love for Charlie once he passed the test and suddenly we all feel safe and you know Gene's Wonka really couldn't hurt anyone In a crazy way Wonka is like Seven but with a happy ending. Kids movies today have to be so safe and packeged and soft. We have this compulsion to spoon feed them sickening sweet watered down crap. Wonka taught me to be a good person but also not to expect an easy ride. Sometimes hard work and dark times lead to great things. The Buckets were dirt poor but they had more love between them then all the other families combined. Sadly that often is the case in life. I think the boat trip was to test who had strength of character or who would cave under pressure. Charlie skips off the boat having a thrill of a tide. Mrs Teevee cracks me up. She just looses her shit completely.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:49 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Quint!

    by PreciousRoy

    Willy Wonka is easily my favourite film of all time, and I loved reading that letter. I had heard Wilder talk about making the cane introduction part of accepting the role, but never knew how much brilliant insight he had into costuming Wonka.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:51 a.m. CST

    I would like to have seen Burton team up with Carrey

    by HanYoYo

    I think Carrey's wildness was more suited to the character. I don't have anything against Depp but his 'zany' seems forced, it feels staged, whereas I think Carrey's would have appeared more spontaneous. I actually think any actor could, if they cared to, do what Depp does with over-the-top characters like Wonka. It really needed someone more unique, with a strong background in wild and zany comedy. And for me, Carrey would have been far better suited. Failing that, I'd have preferred the role go to an unknown. I know Hollywood is scared it could lose profits it starts giving lead roles to unknown actors, but of course that's what the big twenty or so movie stars were once. I can't imagine how much better movies could be if those tens of millions of dollars wasn't spent on having a handful of lucky, overpaid, and generally averagely talented actors given all the roles. I sometimes wish male actors had as short a career as most of the female actors. I think they'd try harder, and perform better, and would be more appreciative.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:52 a.m. CST


    by Robbiemc9

    And I DEFINETLY would go back for the cat! Hey it's Jonesy! Come on! Gotta save Jonsey.

  • June 17, 2012, 5:59 a.m. CST

    this song is just magical...

    by emeraldboy

    and it can be used to some up ireland in football under steve Staunton or Ireland under Brian Cowen. or ireland in mdern times. The frames used this song in thier live album set list.

  • June 17, 2012, 6:50 a.m. CST

    BS khashabi

    by AzarN

    Anyone who says that Gene was too sweet is not paying attention to the film. Yes he sang some cute songs and yes the ending is all smiles and hugging, but Wilder's Wonka is constantly insulting, overruling, mocking and essentially torturing his guests. And they deserve it. Depp's Wonka was completely neurotic and childish and the book's version was almost an oblivious elf. Wilder plays Wonka as someone who has completely assessed and decoded everyone on the tour and let's their own foibles and vices bring them down a notch. Watch how he acts when Augustus's mother demands he call the police, or when Mrs. Teevee is being escorted from the factory. Wonka is holding all the aces. Yes there's probably something disturbed about him, but I never saw Gene's version as anything other than omniscient. And very witty.

  • June 17, 2012, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Prometheus in this talkback

    by donkey_lasher

    PROOF that it is successful. Chow down on that bitter sweet haters.

  • June 17, 2012, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Like it or not...

    by solitaire

    When you say Wonka, the majority of people think of Gene Wilder. It's like Bond-I personally think Craig's take is the best, the closest to what Fleming wrote, but if someone says Bond, Connery is the first thing to enter my mind. Wilder created something there that will always live on, and you know what? That makes me happy. You will not find a kinder, more gracious person in real life, and his contribution to film has made my life richer. I don't care how many times I watch it, Young Frankenstein is still hysterical.

  • June 17, 2012, 8:31 a.m. CST


    by redfishbluefish

    thanks for this. huge wilder fan here. "a little sad, a little scary, a lot funny and totally empathetic", are perfect words to describe him. it all adds up to him being magical.

  • June 17, 2012, 8:31 a.m. CST


    by solitaire

    One of the funniest things I have ever seen involved this movie. A huge group of us were stoned off our asses in college and descided to watch a movie from every genre and record our dialogue and observations on video. I think we were intending to do this as a social experiment, but that shit went out the window 45 minutes into The Exorcist. Anyhoo, after hours of smoking, eating and making what we thought were mind blowingly profound statements (Die Hard is an alagory for Alice In Wonderland, ect...) we started to watch Wonka. At the part where Charlie comes home with the golden ticket and Grandpa Joe gets out of bed to celebrate, one guy pauses the movie, stands up, and with tears in his eyes begins to rip Charlie a new poopah. "How could he not take his poor mother, who works her fingers to the bone, to the chocolate factory? She was clearly the deserving one! But nooooooo...he takes that lazy assed Joe who hasn't gotten out of bed for years and does nothing but eat the cabbage water poor Charlie's mother makes, smoke his Goddamned tobacco that poor Charlie's mother helps to pay for and shit himself!!! Fuck you Charlie, fuck you very much!!!" At that point, we couldn't stop laughing and all wandered off. That dude was an acting major, but the next day transferred and is apparently now a sucsessful attourney. Crazy world.

  • June 17, 2012, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Was Wilder ever nomintated for an Oscar . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . because he was absolutely THE man in Wonka and Young Frankenstein. Just friggin' phenomenal. Blazing Saddles too, but he was much more laid back and mellow in that one . . .

  • June 17, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Grunka Lunka Dunkity Dasis....

    by Clavius

    The secret of Slurm's on a need to know basis! What about those armed guards? Grunka Lunka Dunkity Darmgaurds... SHUT THE HELL UP!

  • June 17, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    quint obviously read the talkback the other day :-)

    by billyhitchcock1

    amazing film. slugworth still scares the shit out of me.

  • June 17, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    quint obviously read the talkback the other day :-)

    by billyhitchcock1

    amazing film. slugworth still scares the shit out of me.

  • June 17, 2012, 9:27 a.m. CST

    What do you get from the glut of TV?

    by DementedCaver

    ...a pain in the neck and an IQ of 3.

  • June 17, 2012, 10:28 a.m. CST

    @autodidact "If I were born 5 years earlier I'd have shot myself in 1975!"

    by Lukes Lost Hand

    It's not too late for you to do us all a favor.

  • June 17, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Richard Pryor should have played Grandpa Joe.

    by Christian Sylvain

    It would've been a ten out of ten film easy.

  • June 17, 2012, 11:01 a.m. CST

    But what does THX think?

    by Phimseto

    Something constructive, no doubt.

  • June 17, 2012, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Paradise? Where are the tities?

    by Clockwork Taxi

  • June 17, 2012, 11:40 a.m. CST

    RIP Rodney King

    by DarthBlart

  • June 17, 2012, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Richard Pryor as Joe

    by solitaire

    On seeing the Oompa Loompas: "God-damn Chuck, lookit all the little orange mutherfuckas up in here!"

  • June 17, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST

    nice marmot re: Wilder Oscar noms

    by A_Banned_Apart

    Best Supporting Actor for "The Producers" and Best Screenplay for "Young Frankenstein".

  • June 17, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Love what a lazy shit Grampa Joe is...

    by Billyeveryteen

    "I'm staying in bed smokin' my tobaccie, wait what? You goin' to that candy factory?? Let's dance!!"

  • June 17, 2012, 4:38 p.m. CST


    by FlyingToupee

    Just felt like saying that.

  • June 17, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST


    by dengreg31

    never has anyone been so wrong about anything in Earth's history...

  • June 17, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Love Wilder's input

    by MisterManReturns

    Very on-spot. That film was an "icon" from my childhood, though the end always puzzled me.

  • June 17, 2012, 11:35 p.m. CST


    by Nachokoolaid

    This website does have a forum that does all the things you just mentioned, but Harry and all the other writers her treat it like the bastard stepchild. Click "The Zone" at the top banner, and have your mind blown! Imagine if all the stories here were linked there... this could be one hell of a site. Shame.

  • June 17, 2012, 11:44 p.m. CST

    Caractacuspotts & robbiemc9: you guys are alright in my book

    by Monroville

    When you take the time to not simply offer some constructive criticism of another movie, but do it in song related to the thread you're posting in, that to me is pretty class. And funny. Speaking of funny, you guys should check these out too:

  • June 18, 2012, 1:05 a.m. CST

    fyi autodidact is a fancy way of saying ignorant fuckwit.

    by dahveed1972

  • June 18, 2012, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Why did Depp play Wonka as a Pedaphile?

    by Shankapotomus

    Seriously, could there have been a bigger "creep" factor in his performance? I kept waiting for Dateline NBC to come through the door and ask him why he's contacting 11 year old boys on the internet.

  • June 18, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    good morning starshine the earth says hello

    by Micah

    cheer up charlie

  • June 18, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Chris Hanson just came in

    by Mr. Voodoo Potato Head

    He asked Depp's Wonka to please have a seat.

  • June 18, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Gene Wilder = lifetime pass

    by smudgewhat

    He could go on a murder spree and I'd still love him.

  • June 18, 2012, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Except for Wonka himself, Burton version is much better

    by Jack Desmondi

    Mel Stuart was a journeyman TV director and documentary filmaker, hardly a good choice for a fantasy film. And it showed in the flat lighting and stagy direction of the original. That said, Gene Wilder was priceless...and ONLY he could possibly pull off a character that is by turns, mysterious, funny, sarcastic, funny, scary and--finally--lovable. Depp is very talented actor, but his concept of the Wonka character was completely off base.