Sunday, August 28, 2011


The recent remake Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is an enjoyable movie.  I don't think any remake can recreate the Wonka world that starred Gene Wilder playing Willy.   Tim Burton cast Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, and did a quirky-great job with the 2005 version - it just wasn't scrumdiddlyumptious.

When Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) was released, I had no idea what it was about.  I clearly remember a hot Sunday morning packed into the family station-wagon.  We were heading to a church in which dad was going to preach.  Dad did a lot of lay-speaking in those days, filling in for vacationing pastors.  Most of these preachers who were vacationing always seemed to pastor out of the way churches in the country.  I can't count how many Sunday's we spent driving to and from churches I'd never been to before.  Usually these churches were small white country churches with a cemetery around back.  There were so many trips like these, but I particularly remember this one because all the kids were talking about this movie about Willy Wonka.

Most of the preaching trips were long drives.  On this very trip I remember dad pulling the station-wagon into a small filling-station for a pit stop.  When we went into the building, I noticed a rack of a large selection of Willy Wonka candy.  I thought to myself "So this Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory is real?"  Having candy on the shelf somehow, to my young mind, seemed to validate that there really was a Willie Wonka somewhere out there.

So it was the first time I had ever heard of Willy Wonka.  Every time I think of that movie, I think of that long Sunday drive, a long time ago, through the Alabama countryside with my family.
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