Gene Wilder stars in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” playing on the giant movie screen of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in a special show on Sun., Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. A sell-out is expected. Reserve tickets at www.maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.
NORWALK, CT - Documentaries about bears, whales, lions and sharks have played at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, but the giant screen will be “Wilder” than ever on Sun., Oct. 28.
That’s when two classic Gene Wilder films will show on the six-story screen: “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” at 2 p.m. and – appropriately for Halloween weekend – “Young Frankenstein” at 7:45 p.m.
“We’ve been looking forward to this special day in our theater for months, for the chance to show these two classic films and to recognize a versatile actor who appeared in some of the most appealing, funniest movies of our time,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director.
Wilder himself – a local resident – will be on hand Oct. 28 to talk to the audience after a second screening of “Willy Wonka” at 4:15 p.m. However, that show quickly sold out when tickets went on sale in advance to Maritime Aquarium members in June. Loynd noted that advance access to such special events is one of many bonuses of Aquarium membership.
“And not only do our members get first dibs at these cool events, they also get discounts on the tickets,” he added.
Kids today are probably familiar with “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,” the 2005 Johnny Depp/Tim Burton interpretation of Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” book. But the Aquarium’s screening of the charming 1971 film offers a unique chance to introduce youngsters to Wilder’s original role of the mysterious owner of an amazing chocolate factory who decides to give a tour to five lucky winners of a candy-bar contest. (And you’ll be singing “The Candy Man” the whole way home.)
For “Willy Wonka,” Wilder received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor (musical or comedy).
In the hilarious “Young Frankenstein,” Wilder plays a young neurosurgeon who inherits his grandfather’s castle and – eventually – also the older man’s interest in reanimation experiments. The 1974 release, directed by Mel Brooks, also stars Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman and Teri Garr. It’s rated PG for sexual references, comic violence and brief language.
Wilder wrote “Young Frankenstein” with Brooks, and the pair received an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). Premiere magazine ranked Wilder’s portrayal of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein as No. 9 in the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
The Maritime Aquarium’s Oct. 28th Wilder film screenings will be among the first special events that celebrate the recent renovation of the Aquarium’s IMAX® movie theater, with 309 new seats with cupholders, new wall and floor treatments and a new concession stand. The events also add excitement as The Maritime Aquarium moves toward its 25th anniversary in July 2013.
Other planned special screenings of favorite Hollywood movies on the giant screen include:
• “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 8 & 11 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 27.
• “The Wizard of Oz” on Sun., March 10.
• “Grease” on Sat., June 15.
Plus, two original cast members of the Broadway smash “Rent” – Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp – will perform Dec. 6. And a “Global Insights” lecture series will welcome Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Oct. 18, Arctic explorers John Huston and Toby Thorleifsson on Nov. 29, marine biologist Sylvia Earle on Jan. 24, celebrated zookeeper Jack Hanna on March 14 and ocean defender Jean-Michel Cousteau on May 20.
Both “Willy Wonka” and “Young Frankenstein” are expected to sell out. Get tickets or more information at www.maritimeaquarium.org. Or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.