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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Musical

Last Thursday, Benita and I had the opportunity to see the live, musical production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Suddenly, I was five years old again, transported by the amazing adventures of this magical car and the Potts family.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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When I was a little kid, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the movie was my first cinematic love.  Sure, I loved the Wizard of Oz, and the Jungle Book, but nothing could compare with my love for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Like countless other kids, I had a matchbox replica of the car, and I was able to act out new adventures for the incredible motorcar.  I had the record album, and I played it into grooved ruin.  It’s no surprise, really, but the music in this movie was so outstanding that anyone of any age could find something uplifting about it.

The stage production is a marvel.  This is a big budget, Broadway level show all the way.  There are some differences between the movie and the musical, but that’s to be expected—they are, after all, different mediums.  The two Vulgarian spies, for example, were major players in the musical, and they were outrageously entertaining in a Vaudeville-style way.  In the movie, these were tertiary characters at best.

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The sets and props in the musical are incredible!  The stage is often animated, with props rolling on and off stage as needed.  The machines that Caractacus Potts built are prime steam-punk, and quite beautiful to look at.  But, most of all, the car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flew!  I couldn’t see the machinery, but undoubtedly the car was lifted and moved around via hydraulics.  The car was often precariously tilted, and I would guestimate as much as twenty feet in the air at times.

Make no mistake, Johnny Saturn is representative of how I perceive the world.  The world, as I see it, is a chaotic, uncertain, troubled, sad place.  People are corruptible, yet they are also redeemable.  Duty and hope are our saving graces, yet these are in short supply. Yet, I am so happy to hold onto this shining memory of a movie I’ve loved since childhood and watched innumerable times.

I’m glad they didn’t update Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the times.  I’m glad that it’s still a memory of sweetness and innocence that I can hold on to.  I’m glad I got to sit in the audience and sing along to the great songs.

Scott.


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