My kids are 38, 35, and 30. I read Charlie to them many years ago (along with a bunch of other Roald Dahl books - The Twits, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches). Nobody wrote better read-to-your-kids books than Roald Dahl. So why am I taking a very long trip back to memory lane? Because I just came across 10 facts about Dahl, the book, and the movie that I didn't know. And that I suspect most of you don't know. This is just so boss (ask your parents - or grandparents).
.The book grew out of a bedtime story Dahl made up for his first two children, Olivia and Tessa (the second of whom would go on to become the mother of the writer, presenter and model Sophie Dahl).
.The original title of the book was Charlie's Chocolate Boy. Charlie was one of ten children who found one of what was then a weekly batch of golden tickets entitling them to a tour of the factory and ended up in a chocolate boy mold by accident and being bought for a little girl as an Easter present.
.Mr. Willy Wonka was first known as Mr. Ritchie.
.And the Oompa-Loompas, right up until the very last moment, were the Whipple-Scrumpets.
.The 1971 film adaptation of the book came about because Mel Stuart's daughter Madeline brought a copy home, told him she had read it three times and that she wanted him to make it into a film. Coincidentally, his producer partner David Wolper was having a conversation with an advertising agent who had a client -- Quaker Oats -- who wanted to fund a project that could tie in with a new chocolate bar they were making. Done and done!
.Dahl wanted Peter Sellers or Spike Milligan to play Wonka in the film. Stuart and Wolper wanted all-singing, all-dancing, all-Tony-Award-winning stage actor Joel Grey, but realised that if any of the child actors had a growth spurt during shooting they could end up towering over the five-foot-five star. And then, when Gene Wilder auditioned they knew they had found the perfect man for the part. "The role fit him tighter than Jacques Cousteau's wetsuit," says Wolper in his autobiography, Producer.
.Julie Dawn Cole, who played Veruca Salt in the film, is now a child psychotherapist. Peter Ostrum -- Charlie -- is a big animal vet in New York State.
.There are five drafts of Charlie still in existence, in the archive at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. It is thought that Dahl destroyed the very first one after his young nephew told him it was "rubbish."
.When it was first published in September 1964 it sold 10,000 copies in the first week. The New York Times called it "sheer joy."
.Dahl wanted a relatively unknown young artist called Maurice Sendak to illustrate the first edition. But he was too busy working on a book that the timing suggests was Where the Wild Things Are.
This is just 1 of the main reasons why I LOVE books. Even 48 years later we get to learn neat facts about books that we grew up with. Or at least had reason to be familiar with. If my kids read this blog (I don't necessarily think that will, or does, happen!), then I know they'll think this is as cool as I do.