That AT & T Commercial About a World of Pure Imagination
The first time I saw this AT & T commercial, I knew that that singing voice sounded very, very familiar. In fact, I sat up and turned up the volume on the remote.
This is the long version, over a minute long. Most of you have only seen the 30-second one.
Of course, the singer is the versatile comic actor Gene Wilder. The song is indeed called “Pure Imagination,” and it was written by the songwriting team of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, who were still popular in 1970, for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Yes, Gene Wilder was the first Willy Wonka, a more cuddlier Willy Wonka than the one Roald Dahl envisioned and Tim Burton revived. And probably less racist, though it appears that I’m going to have to borrow the film after long years and see what the NAACP objected to.
The commercial explains it all: the need to feel like a kid of 5 again, even with electronic gadgetry. Um…I’d rather that actor Dean Chekvala draw some new pictures, but what the hey, it’s AT & T’s ad.
And here is the original scene where Wilder sings.
In case you’ve forgotten, Gene was born in ‘Sconnie, in Milwaukee, WI. The former Waco Kid/young Frankenstein/original Leo Bloom/George Caldwell is now 77 years old. He’s lost those wonderful, nearly Harpo Marx curls. He’s semi-retired from acting, and has turned to writing in recent years, publishing what is said to be a very revealing memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art in 2005. He’s also authored a couple of novels and a short story collection. He’s long since remarried after the death of the love of his life, Gilda Radner, to ovarian cancer.
I may just see whether the Central Library has his memoir.
If anything, enjoy. And remember.
Good afternoon, Madison.