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.
“This is a great way to honor Gene Wilder,” Cinemug manager Dan Creskoff said. “Willy Wonka was a favorite of mine growing up; I remember watching it every year on TV. Today, everyone knows the songs, so I hope that we have everyone singing along.”
Since its opening in 2015, Cinemug has made quite an impression in the surrounding neighborhood, not only with its offering of coffees, teas and assorted sweets, but also its 1,600-title strong video library. In addition to fueling its movie series every Thursday night, these titles are also available for rental. As the video rental market is what helped keep Gene Wilder’s musical classic in the hearts of kids for years and years, it is only fitting that one of the last bastions of video rental pays homage to the work with the honorary screening.
Tickets for "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory," as well as all of Cinemug’s Thursday night movie screenings, are only $5 and available on Eventbrite. Creskoff urges fans to act fast, as this event will certainly sell out faster than the latest case of Wonka Bars.