August 30, 2014

"A lost chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral... has been published for the first time."

"In the chapter Charlie Bucket – accompanied by his mother, not his sprightly grandfather – and the other children are led into the Vanilla Fudge Room, where they face the sinister prospect of the Pounding and Cutting Room."
"In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge," the chapter reads. "All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside...  As the huge hunks of fudge were pried loose, they went tumbling and bouncing down the mountain and when they reached the bottom they were picked up by cranes with grab-buckets, and the cranes dumped the fudge into open wagons."...

Timmy Troutbeck and "a rather bumptious little boy called Wilbur Rice," backed by their vile parents, shout abuse at Willy Wonka's warnings, scramble into the wagons, and are carried off through a hole in the wall.

"That hole," said Mr Wonka, "leads directly to what we call the Pounding and Cutting Room. In there the rough fudge gets tipped out of the wagons into the mouth of a huge machine. The machine then pounds it against the floor until it is all nice and smooth and thin. After that, a whole lot of knives come down and go chop chop chop, cutting it up into neat little squares, ready for the shops."
Was it really "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral," or was it deemed less fanciful and funny than the other child killings? And how many kids do we need to see die? Cut the least interesting scene.

Alternatively, it was too obviously susceptible to the Freudian interpretation about symbolic excrement and sodomy. Pale-brown, creamy... great hunks of fudge. "That hole." And then men with "picks and drills"! Maybe that's what The Guardian means by "too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral," but that's a studiously euphemistic way to say it. They want us to be excited to get to read this wonderful new material that the prudes couldn't accept 50 years ago. But if you understood what they didn't accept, you wouldn't accept it either.

Here's the whole chapter, with a Quentin Blake illustration.


furious_a said...

Maybe the proximity of "pounding" to "fudge" is what set off the moral collision klaxon.

Joan said...

What version did you read, Professor? None of the child ren died. They were all substantially ... altered, but none of them died. Granted, they were all saved (so to speak) by wild coincidences, and things certainly sounded grim when each was imperiled, but they made it. You can tell this is an early draft, because there are twice as many children to start with as in the published story, and the sarcastic song after the children go to their comeuppance is reduca simple playground couplet.

George M. Spencer said...

When Dahl wasn't writing children's masterpieces, he cranked out deliciously ghoulish mystery short stories, many of which Hitchcock filmed for his TV show.

Two of them—"Lamb to the Slaughter" and "Man from the South"—might be the best things Hitchcock did for TV. Neither is as good as the original stories. "Lamb" above has a link to the original story.

Bob said...

I always did suspect those Oompa Loompas...

Oompa Loompa loopity doo
I have some fudge to pack into YOU!

Ann Althouse said...

"What version did you read, Professor?"

Only saw the movies.

Didn't remember that the kids survived.

I was a teenager when the book came out, so it was never part of my childhood experience. My sons read lots of Roald Dahl books... to themselves.

Clyde said...

The kids all survived in both movie versions as well.

Skyler said...

You know, the whole Freudian schtick was old in the 1920's. You really have to strain your brain to imagine what you describe, Ann.

chickelit said...

Sigmoid: Freud

Ann Althouse said...

@ Skyler What I am trying to imagine is the basis of the asserted censorship.

I think it's more likely that it was edited out because it wasn't so good and the scenes were repetitious.

Sean Gleeson said...

The lede to this story is so wrong, I would have to call it a lie. This is a chapter from an early draft, which was discarded by the author himself during revisions, presumably for artistic reasons. The headline and lede make it out to be the work of censors. What is their source for the suggestion that it was "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children?" (Notwithstanding that the book was published in the U.S.A. years before the British release.) The whole story is rubbish.

Fiftyville said...

Fudge pounding, eh?

What South Park could do with this and Tom Cruise boggles the mind.

Freeman Hunt said...

When I was a child, I loved and hated that movie. I loved the imaginings of a fantastical candy factory, and I loved the character of Charlie, but didn't like the other children, and I thought Willy Wonka seemed like a dangerous sociopath best to be avoided.

Anonymous said...

Never trust anyone who says they have a candy factory in their pants.

chickelit said...

Never trust anyone who says they have a candy factory in their pants.

Recited while pointing:

"Milk, milk, lemonade, 'round the corner fudge is made"

~ A Child's Verse, ca. 1965

You don't trust children?

Zach said...

The scene hits the same beats as the "river of chocolate" scene, which has a more imaginative setting and a more entertainingly gruesome ending for the child who gets washed away.

Skyler said...

Our hostess clarified, "I think it's more likely that it was edited out because it wasn't so good and the scenes were repetitious."

With that I will agree.

Anonymous said...

It was also probably for the best that he discarded the 'Lola in the Nougat Bukkake Room' scene.

Anonymous said...

From Willy Wonka's 'Lola in the Nougat Bukkake Room':

"Mr. Wonka, just what are those long hoses descending from the ceiling?"

"Ahhhh, those, little Lola: those are liquid nougat dispensing tubes. When you tug on the tubes nougat jets out."

"But I AM tugging, Mr. Wonka."

"You must KEEP tugging, Lola, you must keep tugging and pulling and pulling and tugging."

Mr. Wonka, I keep tugging and pulling and pulling and tugging but the hose just gets stiffer!"

"Lola, that means the nougat is getting ready..."

"AHHGGGGGHHH! Mr. Wonka, the hose just sprayed nougat all over my face!"

"That's what nougat hoses DO, little Lola."

"I'm not sure that I like this, Mr. Wonka."

"Well, that might be... disappointing. You cannot leave the Nougat Bukkake Room until all the hoses have been sufficiently tugged."

"ALL the hoses, Mr. Wonka? I am already uncomfortably sticky."

"All the hoses, I am afraid: all the hoses..."

"I don't think I like this room at all."

"Don't fret, little Lola: there is some Kleenex in the hall before going into the 'Butterscotch Showers' Room...

chickelit said...

@betamax: You're talking about the Naked Lunchroom.