Classic books become classic films and then, these days, generate classic memes.
I'm reminded of this by the recent loss of the actor Gene Wilder whose films entertained a generation or several.
He appeared in The Producers with Zero Mostel. This musical featured the almost unbearably awful/funny song, Springtime For Hitler - once heard, never forgotten.
Then there was Young Frankenstein.
There, wolf. There, castle.
Of course, The Producers went on to become a stage musical, then another film version. So far, Young Frankenstein has only reached Broadway and there's no sign of a new film version.
But probably Gene Wilder's most enduring legacy is the creation of Willy Wonka in the the first film adaptation of Dahl's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Wilder managed to make an anarchic Willy Wonka who was simultaneously charming and unsettling. And from the film (via one of Dahl's other classics, The BFG), the word 'scrumdidilyumptious' became a familiar part of the landscape.
And now there are the 'Condescending Willy Wonka' memes. I'll have to leave it to you to look them up - some can be a little naughty. But a few examples. First, imagine Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, smiling. Then:
Oh, you went on your friend's Facebook when he wasn't looking?
You must be the best hacker ever.
You hate corporations?
You should tweet that with your iPhone.
We can all remember Gene Wilder with gratitude for the joy he brought to so many.
And further rejoice that his work will be still be meming from our screens for generations to come.
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