When Gilligan over at the excellent blog Retrospaceposted 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?
Hi, I'm Pam - thanks for visiting Go Retro! If you've ever been called an old soul like I have, or you were lucky enough to actually live during the mid-20th century in America, then you're in the right place!
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