Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was released 41 years ago this month in 1971. I adored the movie (based on Roald Dahl’s book) from the moment I caught it on TV in the early 70s. In fact, I’ve yet to meet anyone who grew up in the 70s who isn’t a fan.
I’ve followed Gene Wilder’s career ever since and was also enamored with Jack Albertson (who played “Grandpa Joe”.) I met Albertson (who I also knew from The Poseidon Adventure and Chico and the Man) in the late 70s at Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles. I recognized him and asked for an autograph. I must have been around 10-years-old. I don’t remember much about it except that he asked me to wait for him to make a phone call first before he signed his name on a slip of paper. I remember thinking it was taking a long while as I watched him chatting in the phone booth. Phone booth, yeah. Remember those?
Regretfully, years later, I lost that slip of paper. Albertson passed away in 1981.