Candy has been around for centuries, the first candy dating back to Egyptians around 2000 B.C.. What originally started off as honey mixed with fruit and nuts has now evolved into a delectable cultural phenomenon, with numerous holidays boosting candy sales. However, nobody makes candy like the greatest candyman of all, Willy Wonka. Although he is a fictional character from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he once had his own line of Wonka candy through the Nestlé brand (now under the name Nestlé Candy Shop). Nestlés Willy Wonka Candy Company was founded a month before Mel Stuart’s iconic 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released. The film flexes its imaginative muscles with awe-inspiring set pieces designed by Harper Goff (Casablanca and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), but some of the most memorable parts of the film are the numerous sugary inventions Wonka (Gene Wilder) has hidden away deep in his factory.
Let’s dive into 7 of Wonka’s inventions and rank them from least desirable to most desirable. But like in Wonka’s factory there is no turning back, so we have to go forwards to go back!
7. Wonka’s Concoction(s)
The least desirable of Wonka’s inventions is whatever maniacal concoction(s) he has brewing in “The “Inventing Room”. The disorderly room has so many odd machines and gadgets at work that it’s hard to distinguish if they are all working together like some kind of madcap Rube Goldberg machine or if they are all working independently. Whatever the case may be, it is highly unlikely the final product(s) would get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Food Standards Administration (FSA) seal of approval. After all, Wonka added a clock and coat to his recipe, not to mention a pair of shoes in order to give it “a little kick.”
6. Exploding Candy
This next candy is a little more developed, but still not quite ready according to Wonka, who claims the candy is “too weak” and needs more “gelignite”. After eating a piece of exploding candy, Mike Teavee (Paris Themmen) is blown back into a rack of pots and pans before smoke begins to billow out of his nose and mouth. Completely disregarding the fact that he could’ve had his entire jaw blown off, he says in a daze, “boy, that’s great stuff.” Great or not, this item probably wouldn’t be a hot-seller even though it is intended for one’s enemies; the number of lawsuits someone would amass is scarier than Wonka’s hair. Also, the likelihood of exploding candy being approved by the FDA or FSA is slim to none.
5. Fizzy Lifting Drink
The most fun of Wonka’s inventions is the Fizzy Lifting Drink. The concept is fairly simple: Upon drinking the carbonated beverage, the individual will float in the air. However, the drink is far too powerful, nearly getting Grandpa Joe (Jack Alberston) and Charlie (Peter Ostrum) cut into ribbons by a giant fan. Thankfully, they come to the realization that burping causes them to float back down to the ground. If Wonka were to ever correct his recipe and release this item to the public, he would have to slap a disclaimer on the bottle.
4. Lickable Wallpaper
Ever walk into a room and get the urge to lick the wall? Neither has anyone else, but that is the kind of imaginative spirit that makes Wonka a candy icon. The idea of Lickable Wallpaper is so off-the-wall (I had to) that it is borderline genius. Imagine satisfying a snozzberry craving by going up to the wall and licking it. Although the idea captures the beauty of imagination, it is not the most sanitary of Wonka’s inventions. This item isn’t exactly something that would be popular today, particularly during the Covid-19 epidemic.
3. Golden Egg
Since 3000 B.C. (only 1000 years before the invention of candy), gold has been a symbol of wealth and power. Fast forward almost 5000 years, the California Gold Rush of 1848 proved that gold was still one of the most sought-after elements. Fast forward 123 more years and Wonka has somehow miraculously found (or bred) geese that lay giant golden eggs. Although it is not specified whether the insides of the eggs are filled with chocolatey goodness or baby geese, this invention is no less miraculous.
2. Three-Course-Meal Gum
Although Wonka’s Three-Course-Meal Gum is flawed (the flavor doesn’t seem to last very long and the third course turns the chewer into a blueberry), the concept behind the gum is too spectacular to rank any lower. If Wonka were to perfect this recipe, his invention would easily be one of his top sellers, not to mention make dieting a lot easier. The ad practically writes itself: introducing Wonka’s Three-Course-Meal Gum. Indulge yourself in a three-course roast beef dinner, starting with creamy tomato soup, followed by succulent roast beef, and finishing the experience with sweet blueberry pie. Wonka’s Three-Course-Meal Gum: Pure Imagine in Every Piece.
1. The Everlasting Gobstopper
At the top of this list is Wonka’s most secretive invention: The Everlasting Gobstopper. The candy that is going to really “sizzle ‘ol Slugworth.” Wonka managed to design an oddly sculpted multicolored gobstopper (aka jawbreaker) that would never dissolve. And one could only begin to imagine what the flavor is: Cherry? Green apple? Grape? Whatever the case may be, make sure not to tell anybody, or swallow one.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is as iconic today as it was back in the 1970’s thanks, in part, to the wacky candy ideas presented in the film. What some of Wonka’s inventions lack in desirability (or safety to consume), they make up for in imagination. And as seen by the cultural impact of the fictional candy maker, a little imagination can go a long way.