The sad passing of Gene Wilder last week gave us a moment to revisit, in teary eyed nostalgia, the greatness that was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and to remind ourselves again how unnecessary the Tim Burton remake was. I’m no studio executive, but it seems like instead of supplanting a classic movie character with a creepy, Michael-Jackson-inspired simulacrum, Burton and co. should have instead just adapted the book’s sequel, the drastically under-appreciated Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator. That tale takes our heroes into orbit in the famous elevator, encountering a great space hotel and facing off against the nasty vermicious knids and other delights borne of the endlessly imaginative mind of Roald Dahl.
Alas, no movie can accurately capture everything Dahl, who died in 1990, accomplished (see the disappointing reviews for The BFG this summer). But where movies fail, let’s turn to ice cream: Dahl would have turned 100 on Sept. 13, and while the footprint of his joyful nonsense is still appreciated lots of places today well beyond movies, he’s getting a special tribute all month from one of Brooklyn’s own confectionary wizards: Ample Hills. The beloved local chain is offering a special Fantastic Mr. Fox inspired flavor, holding events all month and even bringing in the real-life Matilda for an appearance. Kids, adults and knids (vermicious or not) are all welcome.
Ample Hills is holding its Dahlicious Delight promotion all month long: The new flavor, Mr. Fox’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Crunchy Cider Caramel Cream, with “ingredients locally imported from the farms of Misters Boggis, Bunce and Bean” (the villainous farmers from the book), is available now at the Prospect Heights, Gowanus, Gotham West Market and High Line locations. Ten percent of net proceeds to Partners in Health, a charity co-founded by Ophelia Dahl, Roald Dahl’s daughter.
— Ample Hills Creamery (@amplehills) September 1, 2016
The big event of the month happens on Sept. 17: The Gowanus location is hosting a party featuring a reading from Mara Wilson, star of the movie version of Matilda whose memoir Where Am I Now? comes out Sept. 13 (and whom we interviewed about her Broad City appearance last season).
It will also feature readings from Paul Griffin (When Friendship Followed Me Home, Burning Blue), Abby Hanlon (Ralph Tells a Story), and John Marciano Bemelmans (the Madeline series), along with a sundae bar, Dream Jar game, dress-up and craft corners. In conjunction with Greenlight bookstore, Roald Dahl books will be on sale at the store locations too. The event runs 12-4pm at the Gowanus location, 305 Nevins St.
Of course, don’t forget: Everything you’ve ever loved as a child is problematic in some way. History is so vermicious!