For Mel Stuart, Who Inspired My “Pure Imagination” With The Glorious Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Mel Stuart passed away today.  He was 83… That is way too young, especially for someone so young at heart… and even more especially for someone who made all of us feel so young at heart.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is my favorite movie.  I loved it from the first moment I saw it as a kid and my love has only grown.  I now share it with my daughter, who, while scared at certain parts, loves it, too…

Ever since I moved to Los Angeles and became interested in screenwriting, I have been trying to find a copy of the script… Not something someone transcribed, but an actual script.  My quest has gotten me on the phone with Gene Wilder’s company… folks at Paramount AND Warner Brothers and on an actual phone conversation with Mel Stuart.  This was sheer joy and while he did not have a copy himself, he told me that his intention with the film was to make it for his kids to grow old with… for them to constantly discover something new with each viewing… and to be able to share it with their kids.  Well, Mel… that is the definition of a classic family film… a perfect family film… the film you made.

I remember when the amazing Roy Kinnear was in Chicago with a production from the National British Theatre… I stood outside the theatre on the night of my fraternity formal, waiting to meet him.  Kudos to my date for putting up with that… and the salmonella I would get later that night that put me in the ER.

I told him that Willy Wonka was my favorite film and he looked at me like I was nuts!  Appropriate for Veruca Salt’s father… I went on to explain why, and he seemed so happy… I also told him how much I loved the old Three Musketeer films… He passed away shortly after that, and that night remains one of my most cherished memories…

Willy Wonka has given me so many memories, so much joy, so much happiness… Thank you, Mel Stuart… RIP and may your family know the immense pleasure and utter bliss your film has given me.

Gene Wilder – “Pure Imagination” (Written by  Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, with musical direction by Walter Scharf.

Skip the ad and escape back to your youth… when dreams were possible… and fantasies came true… and always remember… “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

Hold your breath
Make a wish
Count to three

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you’ll see
Into your imagination

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we’ll see
Will defy
Explanation

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly
Wish to be…

Read about the movie here… Long live the Wonka Bar!!!

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2 Comments

Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me, The News Blues

2 responses to “For Mel Stuart, Who Inspired My “Pure Imagination” With The Glorious Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

  1. with Roy Kinnear you got me thinking of his work with the great Victor Spinetti in Help which is not to be found on you tube. But did find this fun video of Mike and the Mechanics with Roy as their manager! Excellent casting!

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