Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes up time and time again as a favorite movie for kids of all ages. What could be a better fantasy for a child than opening up a candy bar, going to a candy factory, then finding out you now own the candy factory?!
Over time we’ve all come to accept that Charlie is the rightful winner of the factory, but one woman, Evayna, disagreed. And to be honest, she makes some valid points. Read on and decide for yourself whether you agree with Evayna or Roald Dahl, and while you’re at it, learn some more interesting hidden secrets from the original film.
Justice For Violet Beauregarde
Evayna was minding her own business when suddenly a spark of genius hit her: Violet Beauregarde was the rightful owner of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. We all remember Violet from the book and film, right?
Violet was described as a very competitive girl who likes to test herself. She made it close to the end with Charlie but was eliminated for chewing the three-course-meal gum that Wonka warned her not to. She turned into a blueberry and was rolled away, but not before Evayna laid out a six-point argument in her favor.
Commitment To The Candy
First and foremost, Evayna says that Violet is the most committed and knowledgeable about candy. Not only was Violet able to switch from gum-chewing to candy-bar-eating at the start of the competition, but she was the only one who knew the different candies Wonka talked about.
At one point in the film, he even holds up a yellow piece of candy and she could recognize it from across the room. Obviously, Violet would have no problem understand her supply list.
Not only does Violet have the know how to work in the chocolate business, says Evayna, but she also had the traits necessary to make a good businesswoman. Evayna says that Violet is “competitive, determined, hard-working, and willing to take risks.”
At this point, Evanya even admitted that Veruca Salt’s dad already owns a factory and would have the traits necessary, but Veruca doesn’t respect “business practices or hard work.”
A Caring Employer
Everyone knows it doesn’t matter how well an employer runs a business if their employees aren’t happy. Evayna notes that Violet is the most sympathetic towards the Oompa Loompas, which shows she would continue to care about her employees’ wellbeing.
Violet critiques Veruca Salt when Veruca demands her father enslave one of the Oompa Loompas. Violet even “put herself on the front line” with the three-course-meal gum so it wouldn’t continue to be tested on innocent Oompa Loompas.
Her Biggest Flaw Isn’t Really That Bad
The other kids’ flaws, such as greed or stupidity, got them eliminated, but Evayna shows that Violet’s biggest flaw is her love of gum. The Oompa Loompa song says that “gum is pretty cool, but it’s not socially acceptable to chew it all day.” Of course, we already know Violet has the willpower to stop at any time.
Plus, Evayna points out that her love of gum is unconventional and that’s “on brand” with what Wonka is all about.
Anyone Would Have Made The Mistake She Did
Evayna is quick to remind us all that Violet’s choice to chew the gum Wonka told her not to is pretty much the exact same thing that Charlie and his grandfather do later on in the film. Why was Violet punished for it but Charlie gets a factory?
Plus, Violet shares her experience with everyone, while Charlie and his grandfather indulge in private. Everyone else’s mistakes were purposeful but Violet’s was simply an accident.
Finally, Charlie Is The Worst Candidate
Say what you want about the other kids at the factory, but you have to admit, Charlie was not exactly the best fit to run a business. Evayna reminds us that Charlie is a “passive, naive boy.”
On the other hand, Violet is “passionate, sarcastic, candy-obsessed, free thinking, and a total firecracker.” Basically, Evayna has turned Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on its head and we’re all left to wonder if anything we know about the movie is true.
No One Knew About Gene Wilder’s Entrance Plans
One of the conditions for Wilder to take the role of Willy Wonka was that he wanted none of the cast members to be aware of his entrance. The iconic scene shows Wonka limping out to meet the kids then doing a forward somersault.
Wilder later said that he wanted to add an element of mystery to the character by making sure from that point on, no one would know ‘whether I’m lying or telling the truth.”
There Was An On-Set Love Triangle
You’re never too young to be involved in a bitter feud over a man’s heart, am I right? Apparently, the two female stars of the 1974 film, Julie Dawn Cole and Denise Nickerson—who played Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde—had the hots for Charlie.
In an interview years later, Nickerson said that the actor who played Charlie, Peter Ostrum, “was a hot patootie.” Cole later confirmed the two girls were definitely competing for his attention.
The Chocolate River Was Really Chocolate
Since it was 1974 and they couldn’t cop out and make everything CGI, that chocolate river from the great room in the Wonka factory indeed had chocolate in it. The river was made of 150,000 gallons of water, real chocolate, and real cream.
The only problem was that by the end of filming, the cream and chocolate had started to spoil and the river made the entire set absolutely reek.
Violet Had To Go To School With A Blue Face
13-year-old Denise Nickerson was the actress who played Violet in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She exits the movie by turning into a blueberry, including blowing up to an enormous size and having her skin turn blue.
When Denise went back to school the day after shooting the scene, she had to go with blue skin. The makeup took 36 hours to fade completely so it kept resurfacing in her pores.
The Last Golden Ticket Finder Was A Nazi
Before Charlie actually finds the fifth Golden Ticket, it is announced that a winner had been crowned. The photo on the front page of a newspaper shows the man who found the final ticket, and it happens to be a photo of Nazi henchman Martin Bormann. He definitely doesn’t deserve to win.
Of course, the ticket turns out to be a fake and the search continues but for one brief scene they show the final ticket “winner.”
Roald Dahl Hated The Film
Dahl apparently had quite a heavy hand in helping make the movie. After he sold the rights, he was often on set and even helped cast the actors and actresses. Still, Roald was apparently so unhappy with how the film version turned out that he refused to sell the rights to the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
We suppose with an imagination like Dahl’s nothing could ever compare.
On The Flip Side, Gene Wilder Hated The Remake
It seems that no version of the film can please everyone. The original Wonka actor had a problem with both Johnny Depp taking over the role of Wonka and Tim Burton being the director.
In 2013, Wilder told Robert Osborne that he thought the remake was “an insult” and that he didn’t “care for that director.” As for Depp, Wilder think he’s a talented actor but that he didn’t do Wonka justice.
Veruca Salt Stole Set Pieces
Well, the actress who played her did. Julie Dawn Cole channeled the greed of her character Veruca. The kids were explicitly told not to take any set pieces home with them, but Julie didn’t care.
She ended up taking an authentic Wonka Golden Ticket, a Willy Wonka candy wrapper, and an everlasting gobstopper. Since we’ve never seen any of these items up for sale on eBay, we can assume Julie’s still has them under lock and key at home.
Mike Teavee Returned To TV On Jeopardy!
The internet went crazy back in March 2018 when they realized a Jeopardy! contestant was not who he said he was. The gentleman competing was named Paris Themmen and he described himself as an “avid backpacker” and otherwise average nerd.
It didn’t take long for some eagle-eyed fans to realize the contestant was really the actor who played the TV-obsessed kid Mike Teavee in the 1974 film. How they were able to connect the dots, we’ll never know.
The Internet Hates Grandpa Joe
If you haven’t figured it out by now, everything to do with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory divides fans. In 2004, right before the newly rebooted movie was released, a website called “Say No To Grandpa Joe” appeared.
The website was devoted entirely to outlining every reason why Grandpa Joe is the worst, including being bedridden while the family almost starves to death, then saying it’s him, not Charlie, who won the Golden Ticket. Selfish, much?
The Film Gave Sammy Davis Jr. His Only #1 Hit
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Sammy Davis Jr. was yet to receive the top spot on the charts. His manager convinced him to record the song that opens the film, “The Candy Man” even though Davis Jr. hated it.
It worked out in the end though because having a song that Davis Jr. could perform in front of children skyrocketed his popularity. It sounds like sometimes sex doesn’t sell.
The Kids’ Reaction When They Enter The Factory Is Real
The shock and awe that you felt as a kid when the doors to the Wonka factory opened was the same way the actors and actresses felt. None of the kids were allowed to see the set before acting on it. The first time they enter the Chocolate Room and get to run through the candy gardens is 100% real.
So much so that the actress who played Veruca cut herself on a rock while eating candy because they thought it was fake.
It Took 45 Minutes To Meet Wonka
Considering the film takes place in his factory and centers around his decision to give it to a kid, it’s shocking to hear that we don’t actually meet Gene Wilder until the film hits the 45-minute mark.
That also means we have to endure 45 minutes of Charlie’s character development while we wait for the real star of the film to show up. That’s even more grueling when you realize Violet might be the rightful owner of the factory.
The Name Change Was Deliberate
If you’re a fan of the original Roald Dahl book and the films, then you know they have different titles. The novel and the 2005 film version is called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” while the 1974 film version was changed to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
The reason is simple: marketing. The film was financed by Quaker Oats who had just released a line of chocolate bars. Quaker wanted the title of the film to focus more on the chocolate maker, not Charlie. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.
The Film Wouldn’t Have Been Made Without Mel Stuart’s Daughter
The director of the 1974 film, Mel Stuart, admits he never would have made the movie without his daughter Madeline repeatedly begging him to do it. The Roald Dahl book was one of Madeline’s favorite books and she told her father “this would make a great movie.”
Madeline didn’t get any money for coming up with the idea, but she was allowed to play an extra in the schoolroom scene. For a kid, that’s practically the same.
Charlie Disappeared From The Public Eye
The original Charlie Bucket a.k.a. Peter Ostrum could have had an amazing career in acting, but he decided to leave the industry entirely. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory would be the only movie Ostrum ever made before turning in for a quiet life as a dairy cattle veterinarian.
Ostrum does turn up every once in a while for Wonka-related interviews and was around to speak candidly after Gene Wilder’s death.
The Movie Was Originally Considered A Flop
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of the most beloved movies nowadays but when it was released, it was considered to be a box office flop. The film only made $4 million in theaters.
Even the cast members didn’t think the movie was going to do well. Michael Bollner, who played Augustus Gloop, didn’t actually realize he was famous until years later. Talk about living under the radar.
The Kids Thought The Boat Ride Scene Was Real
The eternally creepy scene where Wilder takes the kids through a dark tunnel on his Wonka boat is equal parts incredible and terrifying. It scared kids at home and it scared the kids on set.
Wilder’s acting was so convincing during the scene that some of the kids, particularly Denise Nickerson, were genuinely frightened. They thought Wilder was going mad from being in the tunnel. That’s how you know you’re a good actor.
Most Oompa Loompas Didn’t Know The Words To The Songs
The film was shot in Munich, Germany, but Mel Stuart had to go outside of Germany to cast actors to play the Oompa Loompas. Most of those cast as the Oompa Loompas didn’t speak English and were chosen only for their size.
Thanks to this minor issue, many of the Oompa Loompas didn’t know the words to the song and struggled to even lip sync along. If you look closely, most are just moving their mouths unknowingly.
There Were Six Other Options To Play Wonka
Nowadays it’s hard to even fathom any actor except Gene Wilder for the role of Willy Wonka (sorry, not sorry, Johnny Depp) but there were actually six other names on the block for the role.
All six members of Monty Python—Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin—wanted the part. Mel Stuart didn’t think they had big enough international fame to play the role, so he opted to cast an even bigger celebrity.
Charlie Didn’t Know Wonka Was Going To Yell At Him
In the scene at the end of the movie where Wonka yells at Charlie, Peter Ostrum had no idea it was going to happen. The stunned appearance is genuine because the producers left it out of Ostrum’s script.
Despite being a trickster himself, Wilder said he wanted so badly to tell Charlie, but the producers forbid him from doing so. Wilder spent much of the time after the scene apologizing to Ostrum.
Serious Name Changes
Names like Willy Wonka and Augustus Gloop are iconic now, but they weren’t the original names in Dahl’s book. In the early drafts, almost every character had a different name.
The Oompa Loompas were “Whipple-Scrumpets,” Violet Beauregarde was Violet Glockenverry, and Wonka was named Mr. Ritchie. We’re glad Dahl ended up changing the names before we had to watch Whipple-Scrumpets dance around on our televisions in Mr. Ritchie’s chocolate factory.
Gene Wilder Had A Lot Of Input On His Wardrobe
Since Wilder basically shaped everything we know and love about the beloved Willy Wonka character, it makes sense that he even had input on what Wonka wore. After seeing sketches of the costume, he wrote to Stuart to make changes to his jacket pockets, shoes, and pants.
He even requested that his top hat be “two inches shorter to make it more special” and made them add a blue felt band to compliment his eyes.