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.


  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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 ;]


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