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That time Alice Cooper moved next door to Gene Wilder


Alice Cooper and Gene Wilder on the set of the short-lived TV sitcom ‘Something Wilder’ in 1995.
 
After Gene Wilder’s passing last week I’ve been trying to clap my eyes on anything from Wilder’s long cinematic career. I even rewatched 1974’s classic Young Frankenstein even though I could recite lines from that film in my sleep. Today I’m really excited to share with you one of my finds: an episode from Wilder’s sadly short-lived mid-90s sitcom on NBC Something Wilder guest-starring none other than Alice Cooper playing himself as Wilder’s annoying neighbor.
 

Gene Wilder, Alice Cooper and Wilder’s TV wife actress Hilary B. Smith on the set of the fourteenth episode of ‘Something Wilder.’
 
On what would be one of the last Something Wilder shows (the fourteenth episode called “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper”) Cooper moves in next door to Wilder’s character “Gene Bergman” and since this is Alice Cooper we’re talking about, things don’t go so well. For Gene.

After being kept up all night listening to the same song being blasted out of Cooper’s windows over and over again Wilder heads over in his adorable plaid robe to see what’s happening. And again, since this is Alice Cooper we’re talking about, Wilder walks in on a wild party that includes a tall red-headed dominatrix, a rat and for some reason a juggler (Now that’s kinky....) After hearing of Wilder’s death, Cooper posted this heartfelt message on his Facebook page about his experience working with one of the greatest screen comedians of our time:

I count working with Gene Wilder on his TV sitcom Something Wilder to be one of the most precious memories of my entire career. Doing ‘one on one’ comedy with Gene was like jamming with the Beatles. It doesn’t get any better. Gene Wilder is IRREPLACEABLE and will always be an American treasure.

I don’t want to give anything else away but if you love the image of Cooper and Wilder at the top of this post, there’s more where that came from. I don’t recall seeing the show myself back in the mid-90s, but seeing it now made my day. Since Something Wilder had such a short run and never really connected with an audience, the show hasn’t made its way to DVD yet.

Watch ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper’ after the jump…

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Pure Imagination: Gene Wilder tribute portrait as Willy Wonka made entirely out of candy
08.31.2016
12:33 pm

Topics:
Art
Food
Movies
R.I.P.

Tags:
Gene Wilder
Willy Wonka


 
I love this homage portrait of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka made entirely out of candy. It’s fitting. The piece is done by unconventional mosaic artist Jason Mecier.

The Willy Wonka candy portrait will live on forever at Giddy Candy in San Francisco.

Click on the image to enlarge to see all the detail. Wonderful.


 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A letter from Gene Wilder about the costume for ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ 1970

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A letter from Gene Wilder about the costume for ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ 1970


 
Here’s Gene Wilder’s polite constructive criticism to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory‘s director Mel Stuart, after viewing early sketches of the costume:

July 23rd

Dear Mel,

I’ve just received the costume sketches. I’ll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.

I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn’t know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they’re lovely sketches.

I love the main thing — the velvet jacket — and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I’ve added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)

I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.

And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.

What I don’t like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.

I don’t think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy’s Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there’s no telling what he’ll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined.

I’m not a ballet master who skips along with little mincy steps. So, as you see, I’ve suggested ditching the Robert Helpmann trousers. Jodhpurs to me belong more to the dancing master. But once elegant now almost baggy trousers — baggy through preoccupation with more important things — is character.

Slime green trousers are icky. But sand colored trousers are just as unobtrusive for your camera, but tasteful.

The hat is terrific, but making it 2 inches shorter would make it more special.

Also a light blue felt hat-band to match with the same light blue fluffy bow tie shows a man who knows how to compliment his blue eyes.

To match the shoes with the jacket is fey. To match the shoes with the hat is taste.

Hope all is well. Talk to you soon.

All my best,

Gene


 
via Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Pure Imagination: Behind-the-scenes photos of ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ 1971

image
Stan Margulies, Gene Wilder and Mel Stuart.

Delightful collection of behind-the-scenes photos of the 1971 film classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, assembled from a variety of places around the Internet.

There are two bonus videos at the end. First, an extremely short video tour of the Chocolate Factory set and secondly, who can smack a little girl’s face with a bar arm? Apparently the Candyman can!
 
image
Peter Ostrum, Gene Wlder and Mel Stuart.
 
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The Oompa Loompas with an unidentified fan.
 
More behind-the-scenes after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment