Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WIlly Wonka and the Chocolate Ecstasy Factory

When Gilligan over at the excellent blog Retrospace posted about the many supposed drug references in the late 60s/early 70s children's show "H.R. Pufnstuf", it reminded me of the last time I watched my favorite childhood movie, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." I'm talking, of course, about the original 1971 version - don't even get me started on the disastrous Tim Burton remake. One of the best parts about becoming an adult is finally getting things that went over your head as a kid when you watched a movie - such as naughty double entendres, sexual dialogue, and drug references.

The latter is certainly the case with Willy Wonka. I firmly believe (despite what a clueless coworker tried to tell me several years ago) that the film, being a sign of its trippy times, contains several drug references. The whole look of the inside of Wonka's factory screams LSD trip to me, but just in case you need evidence:

Exhibit A: The candy man can..."candy man" is slang for a person who supplies drugs. Chocolate can also refer to marijuana, opium, or an amphetamine.

Exhibit B: When the children and their adult chaperones arrive, they are invited to lick fruit-flavored wallpaper. I'm pretty sure this scene was not in the Roald Dahl book.

Exhibit C: Wonka takes them through a dizzying black and white patterned room that gets larger, then progressively smaller.

Exhibit D: The chocolate room is a psychedelic delight, with brightly colors flowers and giant mushrooms (all edible.)

Exhibit E: When Charlie and his grandfather wander away from the tour to try the pop soda, they get very giddy and begin to float in the air.

Exhibit F: The scene that I believe makes the strongest case for drug references is the infamous scary boat ride sequence. On YouTube it's referred to as the Psychedelic Boat Trip and rightly so - the visitors see more than they bargained for then on the usual sail around the lake, such as creepy crawly things and a chicken getting his head chopped off. Even Violet Beauregarde asks, "Is this a freak out?" And that poem that Willy Wonka recites! Who knew there were so many rhymes for rowing? Boat is also slang for PCP. It's pretty funny to think that a scene like this passed the censors to make it into a children's film. Back then we thought it was cool:

Charlie's grandfather is one of the only passengers who thinks the boat ride is fun. Does this reveal something about old Grandpa Joe that we don't know?

Did I miss any? If so, let me know.


Gilligan said...

Thanks for the mention. And, yes, everyone involved with this film obviously were taking acid by the handful.

I read recently that the kid who played Charlie Bucket is now a veterinarian. Interesting, I thought.

Amy said...

oh this is one of my favourite movies ever! as a child I use to love it back in the 70's.

Anonymous said...

Well...boo on me...I hated this movie. But...now that you've outed the drug references...maybe I'll take another look...thinking they were all on a "trip" might make sense!

Sam said...

hey, i just wanted to say they're are few more scenes with some druf rerference, like when Mike Teevee goes through wanka vision, he says how it was a "wild trip" and also, when grandpa joe and charlie drank the floaty soda, grandpa joe says "i feel like i am a feather, we're so high now charlie" i thought that was interesting oo ;]

Addiction said...

Ecstasy makes you lose control and basically stupid. You have no control of your actions.

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