An Incomplete History of Willy Wonka

1964 Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, because he is a genius. 


1970 Filming begins on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Munich. Director Mel Stuart became interested in adapting the book when his 10-year-old daughter shared it with him, and producer David L. Wolper gets Quaker Oats to fund the film as a means to promote a new chocolate bar (hence the name change from “Charlie” to “Willy Wonka”). The film is shot in Munich to create a sense of timeless fantasy to the story.

1971 The film is released, without much initial. Meanwhile, the chocolate bar which the film was intended to promote (a “Wonka” bar) melts on the shelves of grocery stores and cannot be sold.

1980s Replays on TV and VHS sales contribute to an increase in the film’s popularity, slowly and steadily over time.

1997 The film is released on DVD for the first time in a 25th Anniversary Edition.

2001 ABCFamily (now known as FreeForm because no one knows why) becomes a thing. Great news for more replays of Willy Wonka.

2002 Roo watches Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on VHS every day after school for four months. Not an exaggeration.

2005 Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released in theatres. Burton set out to create an adaptation more faithful to the original book—which does not explain why the book’s plot was tweaked for this adaptation.

2013 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory premieres on the West End as a stage musical featuring songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, and a book by David Greig. It is slated to come to Broadway in 2017.

2016 Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie in Willy Wonka, is a vet in upstate New York.

Roo, who watched him play Charlie 300 times, is still obsessed, elsewhere in New York. 



Love Letter to Willy Wonka

Dearest Willy,

Is Willy short for something? I feel strange calling you Willy. Can I call you William? Bill? Billy?

I hope the Oompa Loompas deliver this letter instead of throwing it down the bad egg chute onto the furnace like my last seventy-five...I understand they are jealous of what we have, but don’t you think it might be time for them to get used to the idea of us as the perfect confection?

In your last letter you said you were changing conditioners, which was very alarming to me, because you know how much I love the wiry tentacles of your chocolatier mane. I hope since I’ve last seen you that you have reconsidered.

It won’t be long until I visit the factory again. Please send more specific directions this time, I keep getting lost and you know how skilled the loompas are at misdirection. Maybe we can go for a boat ride sometime in your chocolate river tunnel next was so romantic the last time you took me—well, except for the projections of chicken beheadings.

Either way, I raise a fizzy lifting drink to toast to when I shall again run my fingers through your curly maniac tresses.

Good day sir,


P.S. Thanks for the gobstopper—it is reassuring to know my love for you isn’t the only thing that is everlasting. 




An Incomplete History of Grease




1971   Grease, a new musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey about sex, drugs, and teenagers rockin' and rollin', premieres in Chicago.

1972  The show premieres on BROADWAY...nbd.

1980  The original Broadway production closes, at the time holding the             record for longest running Broadway show. Today it is number 15.

1978   Grease hits the big screen, continuing a long Hollywood tradition of having 30-somethings portray high school students. There are worse things they could do.


1994  Grease is revived on Broadway              most notably featuring Rosie                  O'Donnell as Rizzo (right, in the              questionable jacket). 

1997  Roo sees the Grease movie for                the first time, on VHS (duh). He              will never be the same. 




2007 Grease: You’re the One that I Want! premieres on NBC, allowing its audience to cast the roles of Sandy and Danny for a Broadway revival which opened like greased' lightning the same     year. 

2016 Laura Osnes is still taking over Broadway. Max Crumm is still incredibly handsome.




2016: Grease Live! telecasts on FOX for an audience of 12.2 million, proving Grease is STILL the word. Even with a commercial every five minutes. 


Infinity: Grease is performed at every High School in America, granting teenage divas everywhere their wish to play a potential teen mom.