Search This Blog

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pure Imagination

I would like to make a declaration that for the rest of 2016, no more celebrities are allowed to die. 

It's been bad enough that we've lost Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali...but now that the news has been announced that Gene Wilder has died at the age of 83...I think it's just way too much to bear.

You see, Gene Wilder was one of the entertainment greats of many generations, and he has appeared in so many films that it would take me all day to just list all of them.  But I have to say that of all the roles he has played, my favourite was when he took on the role of the whimsical, magical, slightly warped, but always fun to be around Willy Wonka in the 1971 film classic "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory".  The film was based off the wonderful book written by Roald Dahl - which was a book that I was introduced to in the second grade and absolutely loved.

I don't think I got a chance to watch the movie until I was twelve or thirteen.  It was playing as the Saturday Night movie of the week on ABC.  From the moment I turned it on, I was absolutely glued to the television screen.  I recorded it on my VCR and watched the movie over and over until the tape wore thin, and now I have the movie on DVD to watch whenever I want.

Now, I have to admit that by watching the movie, it allowed me to have all sorts of wonderful thoughts.  I remember wanting to own my own chocolate factory so I could have a chocolate river to play in at my own disposal.  I remember wanting to have an Everlasting Gobstopper of my very own even though I could have easily bought a whole box of them at the corner store for a buck.  I wanted to open up a candy bar and hope that there was a golden ticket inside.

And yes, secretly I wanted to give a few of my classmates the Veruca Salt treatment.  Of course, nobody knows which ones I would have targeted.  I have to keep some secrets, you know.

But I think from the moment that Gene Wilder performed this song from the movie...that was when I knew that it would be one of my favourite movies of all time.

Now, I just want to say this about "Pure Imagination".  It's a song that has been covered by so many artists from Lou Rawls and Kenny Loggins to Maroon 5 and Josh Groban.  But I have to say that there's nobody that could have evoked the very emotion that Gene Wilder brought to the song when he first performed it 45 years ago. 

There was just something about the song "Pure Imagination" that really struck something in me. 

My childhood was one where I had to use a lot of imagination to keep myself entertained.  I didn't have a whole lot of close friendships when I was little and I lived in a neighbourhood that was 95% senior citizens.  I relied on my imagination a lot to get through the days where I didn't have anyone to play with.  Sometimes I dreamed that I was building a city in the middle of a desolate forest using nothing but Legos and Jenga bricks.  Sometimes I would imagine that I was a teacher who assigned homework to all of my stuffed animals.  Sometimes I dreamed that I was Super Mario, jumping on Goombas and Koopa Troopas in the quest to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser.

The point is that my imagination was quite a huge part of my life.

Unfortunately, there have been some less than nice people out there who didn't understand that.  I suspect that many of them thought that I was weird, annoying, or broken because I preferred the company of myself instead of playing with other children.  I remember one neighbour in particular who couldn't keep her nose out of our business and immediately deduced that something was wrong with me.  In actuality, I felt bad for her because I thought something was wrong with her!

Could you picture how boring and mundane the world would be if we didn't have any imagination whatsoever?  Why, imagination was the fuel behind many of the modern conveniences we all take for granted now!  I think the world needs more imagination, not less!

And to be perfectly honest, I'm grateful that I have such a vivid imagination.  If I didn't have that, it would have been absolute hell on earth.  Having pure imagination helped fine tune my creativity, allowed me to be more comfortable with myself, and most importantly, allowed me to stay in my own little world that was free of insults, hurtful comments, and judgmental people. 

And it was after watching the movie that I felt that Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka was telling me that it was okay to be imaginative.  And that probably is the main reason why I absolutely loved him in that film and why his death is so sad to me.

Thank you, Gene Wilder.  Thanks for helping me realize that pure imagination should be celebrated.

If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it.
Wanna change the world?
There's nothing to it.
There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination

Living there, you'll be free
If you truly wish to be...

No comments:

Post a Comment