Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mad Scientists & Crazed Showmen

Ok, this blog post isn't strictly cartoon based but I thought I'd do a few posts on things that inspire me.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory musical in Drury Lane with my lovely wife.
It was needless to say, truly brilliant. The acting, choreography and set design were simply ingenious and I had a great evening. It wasn't until returning home on the train that I realised why I loved this show in particular.
I remembered a teacher reading Charlie & the Chocolate Factory to us kids when I was at primary school. I was captivated by this crazy man with his wild inventions and would stop by the sweet shop on the way home, Roald Dahl's subliminal advertising working it's wonders on my 6 year old brain.
Around that same time Gene Wilder appeared on tv during the holidays and I was hooked. Yes, he was a wild and colourful character but I was attracted to the sinister element to this story with the mysterious Wonka and his factory with hidden secrets:
"Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out!"
Quite simply, the thought of a wonderful, kind and ever so slightly unhinged madman struck me as very exciting. The crazed showman with a passion for his creations.

Victor Frankenstein was another character I grew to love. I would catch double bills of Universal Horror movies at what I thought was late at night but was probably pre-watershed. This followed into my teenage years with the Hammer Horror movies. Despite Christopher Lee's booming voice and Ingrid Pitt's sexy scenes I always came back to Peter Cushing as Frankenstein, the misunderstood mad scientist with a passion for his work. Cushing's Frankenstein was unique in that his villainy was undecided. He began as a crazed and downright evil creature but in later films tried to use his work for good. By the final Hammer Frankenstein, "Frankenstein & the Monster from Hell" he was living in an asylum and good or evil didn't seem to matter any longer, only his work.
I still love a Frankenstein flick and it's good to see Victor living strong in movies & tv such as "Victor Frankenstein" and the wonderful "Penny Dreadful".

The mad scientist & the crazed showman. Elements of these characters pop up all the time and I love them all. Dr Emmet Brown and his time machine in Back to the Future, Wacky Businessman Dr Terminus in Pete's Dragon, The eccentric Crowman who created Worzel Gummidge, The evil child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with and even recently Christoph Waltz as the Bounty Hunter Dr King Schultz with his smooth speech and dramatic showmanship in Django Unchained.

I'd be willing to bet most artists love these characters or at least ones that share these characteristics.
Simply put, if you're creative, let a little madness into your life.

All the best people do.