Friday, July 22, 2005

On Depp and Wonka

In my review of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, I speculated that Michael Jackson informed Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka. I was hardly the only one to suggest this, but after reading this Hot Blog entry, I'm more willing to concede that it may not be the case. David Poland links to a brief Yahoo Movies UK story in which Depp claims he was drawing from children's TV hosts.

One of the hosts he mentions is Uncle Al. There's a blast from the past. As a kid I watched THE UNCLE AL SHOW, which broadcast from WCPO, channel 9, out of Cincinnati. The show aired from 1950 to 1985, although best as I can tell, it was shown nationally only from 1957 to 1958. I had forgotten all about Uncle Al, but streaming video of the show refreshed my memory. (The video quality isn't particularly great, but it will give you an idea of how Al sounded and what the show was like.)

Depp strikes me as the kind of guy who wouldn't make the most obvious choices, which Michael Jackson would definitely be, so I think there's truth in his assertion of what informed his version of Wonka. He's given me reason to reexamine his performance whenever I might see CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY again.


  1. Nice post, and I will read more often. I would like to know if you reviewed Hustle and Flow and if you did what are your thoughts.


  2. Glad you enjoyed it.

    A review of HUSTLE & FLOW is forthcoming. In brief, I found it problematic.