Last night, the world lost Gene Wilder, one of the greats of the comedy world.
Born to an Eastern European Jewish family who found a new home in Milwaukee, Gene Wilder (birth name Jerome Silberman) was known for playing characters that were slightly off base, a little manic and not all there sometimes.
His most famous roles range from the very 1970’s Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971) to his most famous collaborations with Mel Brooks: The Producers (1967) Young Frankenstein (1974).
In recent years, he took a step back from the spotlight, but did return to the small screen for a minor recurring role in Will And Grace in 2002 and 2003.
Off screen, colleagues and friends remembered him for being a gentle, caring human being. Married four times, his third marriage was to the late Gilda Radner, a comedy giant in her own right.
RIP Gene. Thanks for the laughs.
There is something about a piece candy or chocolate that will inevitably draw a child in.
Road Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a childhood fantasy. The doors to Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are about to open. 5 lucky children are about to have the experience of a lifetime.
In 1971, the book was made into a film. Gene Wilder steps into role of Willy Wonka. Playing the young boy who is worthy of the final prize is Peter Ostrum.
In 2005, director Tim Burton decided to put his own spin on the story. Renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp steps into the role that previously belonged to Gene Wilder, Freddy Highmore is the young man who is the boy who is unique among the children who have been chosen.
The 1971 film has the hallmark of a late 1960’s, early 1970’s film. Bright colors, groovy fashions and an almost joyous approach to the tender years that are our childhood. The 2005 reboot is most certainly a Tim Burton film. It has the colors, the crazy landscape and the colorful characters that usually inhabit his films.
I recommend them both.