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Strange Stories From Behind The Scenes Of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

Updated April 15, 2020 3.1m views15 items

A movie about a candy factory where anything is possible is definitely crazy, but some of the strange Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory behind-the-scenes stories make it even weirder. Although the 1971 movie - adapted from the Roald Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - was a commercial disappointment when it premiered, later television showings and its release on VHS turned it into a colorful cult classic beloved by children and adults, and fans are still talking about it today.

Some of the weirdest Willy Wonka stories come from the unique ideas of director Mel Stuart and the quirky creativity of Gene Wilder, who reportedly only took the part after being allowed to perform in the style of a Buster Keaton physical comedy gag. Even the all-singing, all-dancing squad of Oompa Loompas have a few crazy tales. 

There are freaky behind-the-scenes stories about The Wizard Of Oz, but these tidbits from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory are both strange and a little sweet. Break out the chocolate because you're going to want to curl up and watch the movie all over again.

  • The Chocolate Room Wasn't As Delicious As It Looks

    Any candy lover would be delighted to be set free in a place like the Chocolate Room, where every item is created from something sweet. But Paris Themmen, who played Mike Teevee, said most of that set was actually inedible. The giant gummy bears were actually made of plastic with partially edible ears, many of the candy bars were made of wood, and the lickable wallpaper tasted more like paper than snozzberries.

    Gene Wilder also had to do numerous takes chewing a "candy" teacup that was actually made of wax, and he couldn't spit until the camera stopped rolling. 

  • Some Actors Got Cavities And Others Hated Chocolate

    Being around vast amounts of candy wasn't a sweet experience for every actor. 

    Denise Nickerson, who played Violet Beauregarde, claimed her dentist found 13 cavities after filming, most likely caused by her chewing a large amount of gum. Julie Dawn Cole, who played Veruca Salt, also found herself in a sour situation. Although she hated chocolate, she managed to look like she enjoyed it while eating chocolate goop out of a giant candy ball. Of all the kids in the movie, she was the only one to continue acting after Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

  • Most Of The Oompa Loompa Actors Didn't Speak English

    Because the filmmakers were unable to find enough little people to play Oompa Loompas where they filmed in Germany, they scoured the rest of Europe for additional actors. Many of the Oompa Loompa actors didn't speak English, which is why their lip syncing doesn't quite match the words of the songs - which only makes them creepier.

  • The Actor Who Played Grandpa George May Have Been Partially Blind 

    Ernst Ziegler, who played Grandpa George, reportedly suffered from exposure to poison gas while serving in World War I, and he was partially blind. In order to react to his fellow actors and look in the correct direction, the filmmakers used a red light.

    They would wave it in the direction he was to look when he was on camera.