Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Willy Wonka fans, time to tap into your life savings...

Those of you who know me well are aware that my favorite movie of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The original, with Gene Wilder—not the unnecessary remake with Johnny Depp. I remember watching the movie numerous times as a young child, but while attending summer camp in 1981, I contracted the chicken pox, so I spent almost seven days in the camp infirmary. In the early days of VCRs (remember those?), the infirmary only had a few videotapes for us to watch—Grease, Meatballs, The Sound of Music and, blissfully, Willy Wonka. During those seven days I must have watched that movie 50-60 times—my fellow infirmary residents and I even acted out many of the musical numbers.

I still watch the movie from time to time and know it by heart; my senior quote was a line from the movie, "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." I have the soundtrack on my iPod. And I'll admit that one of my greatest moments was meeting Diana Sowle, the actress who played Charlie's mother, while I was working at Suncoast Motion Picture Company in Washington, D.C.-area shopping mall in 1991. (We were, in fact, showing the movie at that moment, and she walked in the store and nonchalantly said, "That's me." I nearly died.)

So when my friend and colleague (and fellow Willy Wonka fan) Sean shared this announcement with me, about an upcoming auction of memorabilia from the movie, I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have unlimited disposable income to pick some of this stuff up?"

A number of items are up for auction, but here are two of the most notable:

First, the iconic costume worn by Gene Wilder during the movie. The costume consists of a flamboyant purple velvet frock coat, wool & camelhair slacks, off-white shirt, distinctive purple and violet lamé vest with floral design, and a satin bow tie. They're expecting this to garner between $80,000 and $120,000! (What a hit I'd be in my office with this outfit!)

The second item is one of only two existing, screen-used Everlasting Gobstoppers. This one was owned by Julie Dawn Cole, who played the insufferably spoiled Veruca Salt. ("Daddy, I want an Everlasting Gobstopper now! I want an Everlasting Gobstopper right away!") It is expected to be sold for $20,000-$30,000. (You can also own the Golden Egg, screen used by Julie Dawn Cole during the "I Want it Now" musical number, also expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000.)

Sure, it's not realistic to desire this memorabilia, but I figure if Michael Jackson could have owned The Elephant Man's bones, why not own an Everlasting Gobstopper?

Oompa loompa doompa de doo, I got another puzzle for you...

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