An Oompa-Loompa story

Posted by
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity
Posted on
12:30pm, 20th June
Charity, Charlie
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. From the 1971 film version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Blu-ray™ and DVD

Actor and VIP guest for charity event Singalonga "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" Rusty Goffe shares his memories of this iconic film.

Next Sunday 29th June the Prince Charles Cinema in London's Leicester Square will be filled with the sound of fans singing along to the classic 1971 film adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. What's more, all those renditions of 'The Candy Man' and 'Pure Imagination' will be helping to raise money for Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity. That truly is whipple-scrumptious.

As if that wasn't quite enough, there will also be a Very Special Guest on hand to make sure nobody forgets the words (not that you would, as the lyrics will be on-screen, but you know what we mean...)

That guest is Rusty Goffe, who played one of the original Oompa-Loompas in the iconic film. There he is, pictured above, on the bottom left just next to Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

In preparation for Singalonga Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Rusty has been reliving some of his memorable moments for us. So, in the first of a two-part guest post, here's Rusty to give us a glimpse behind the scenes...

Rusty Goffe on the Oompa-Loompa song-and-dance routines

"Way back in 1970 I had a call from one of my friends, who was also short, asking me if I wanted to do a film. That film was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and it was to be filmed in Munich, Germany later that year.

As there were only six English gentlemen and one lady of restricted growth who were actors at that time, we were all cast as Oompa-Loompas. There were three more gentlemen in our cast: one German, one Turkish and one Maltese.

So off we all went to Germany, and when we arrived at Bavaria Film Studios the first thing we had to do was to learn the Oompa-Loompa dance.

The film’s choreographer Howard Jeffrey demonstrated what he wanted us to do. He thought we were all trained dancers! So - after quickly realising that we weren’t - it was back to basic steps. Four of the gentlemen were very elderly and quite infirm so they were not included in the dance routines.

After the ‘dancing’ we then had to learn, sing and record the four Oompa-Loompa songs, which we then had to lip-sync when the scenes were filmed. This meant singing the songs live as they were filming but with our mouth movements exactly together with the words we were listening to.

As the songs were in English, the German, Turkish and Maltese Oompa-Loompas struggled to pronounce some of the words of the songs. So because they could not lip-sync, they were excluded from the Oompa-Loompa choir, too!"


Don't miss part two of Rusty’s blog, published next Friday, about the day the Chocolate River turned into syrup...

Tickets for the first ever Singalonga Willy Wonka event on Sunday 29th June are available online from the Prince Charles Cinema. With free magic moment packs and plenty of interaction, this is a marvellous way to celebrate 50 years of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But hurry! Tickets are disappearing faster than Veruca Salt down the rubbish chute. All proceeds will help Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity make life better for seriously ill children.