Last week, movie fans around the world mourned the passing of the iconic actor Gene Wilder, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83 at his home in Connecticut. With a career that spanned over 50 years and included forays into television, books and of course film, it is difficult to find someone in any generation who was not entertained by his work. Notably, Wilder worked extensively with famed comedy director Mel Brooks in timeless classics like "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," and "The Producers," and comedian Richard Pryor, with whom he made four movies.
But to many generations of children, Wilder will forever be associated with the role of Willy Wonka, that peculiar chocolatier who saw his confectionary genius brought to life inside a psychedelic fantasy land in "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory." While the movie failed to impress audiences in its 1971 release, TV and the home video market ensured that it got the recognition that it so rightfully deserved in the subsequent decades. Forty-five years after the Candyman opened his doors to pure imagination, movie buffs are still paying homage, including right here in Philadelphia.