The Chocolate River turns to syrup

Posted by
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity
Posted on
4:30pm, 28th June
Charity, Charlie
Rusty Goffe Oompa-Loompa portrait

In our second guest blog from Oompa-Loompa Rusty Goffe, he shares his memories of filming Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity's first ever Singalonga Willy Wonka fundraising event in London is less than 24 hours away. It's going to be an afternoon full of mayhem and mischief!

If you have never experienced a Singalonga event, you are missing a marvellous and magical treat, and all to raise funds for the Charity. What better way to help celebrate 50 Whipple-Scrumptious years of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by making life better for seriously ill children at the same time?

Plus Oompa-Loompa actor and VIP Singalonga guest Rusty Goffe shares his final guest blog post, especially for you here. Enjoy!

Rusty Goffe on the day the Chocolate River turned into syrup


"Filming started and, although it was hard work, I loved
it. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the first film I made. The sets were amazing - designed by the great Harper Goff (no relation) - especially the Chocolate Room. It was like walking into fairyland. Every colour you can imagine; a waterfall, river, and a boat.

Although the Chocolate River was just coloured water, we did pour real sugar and cream into it on our first entrance. This caused a big problem later when all this got mixed together and, with the very hot lights in the studio, the Chocolate River started to turn into syrup!

So we had a couple of days off while the crew drained the river, cleaned the waterfall pump, and filled the river again. They then had the hard job of colour matching it so it was exactly the same as before it was drained.

Since computer special effects had not been invented, this operation meant putting dye into the Chocolate River, filming it, developing the film (video was not yet invented either), watching the film and then adding a bit more dye and going through the same process over and over again until it was exact!

Peter, Denise, Michael, Julie and Paris (the five children) were super, as were the other actors in the film. But my favourite was the late great Roy Kinnear. Roy was a very funny man and, along with Gene Wilder, we had many fantastic conversations on the various sets.

Of all the films I have worked on since - although others have been classics too - none can compare with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And the icing on the cake was when we met the great man and genius Roald Dahl who - without him putting down on paper this beautiful story - the whole world would be a poorer place."