How Willie Wonka can help heal the world.

“Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination.”

Strife and division. Negativity and combativeness. Exclusion and loneliness. Adjectives that I never much cared to use in the opening of any article let alone one for the Toy Box. However, it’s impossible not to call out those horrible elephants hanging out in the room if one is to ever clear said room of horrible elephants and have a fun place to play that doesn’t smell of elephant dung.

After 18 months of introspection, self realization, a few really good books, a complete exodus from social media, an 8 inch action figure released by the Mego Corporation and a buried truth unearthed from the deepest parts of my subconscious, I’ve broken free from the mental trap that led me down; dark roads, ignorant decisions, hateful and irresponsible actions online and a general disdain for the things that l loved most: creating, educating, inspiring and encouraging you, dear reader to do the same. To prove that, I’ve packed in some Golden Tickets that got me through the aforementioned dark times that I hope you will enjoy.

“Hold your breath.

Make a wish

Count to three.”

Willy Wonka – 1971

A little preface

Since 2010, this Toy Box had been the refuge for all of my creative expressions (audio, video, still photography, the written word and/or a combination of them all) but the last few pre-2020 years, I went a completely wrong direction with my attitude. And frankly, I know I nearly wrecked this Toy Box. To say the least, I certainly lost touch with its intent and let me tell you, that’s a truly horrible feeling.

On the journey that led me back to where we are, I did a whole lot of soul searching as to why I couldn’t let this online playground go but at the same time I lost the desire to enter into its realm. What was at the root? At the core? In the very essence of my need to be surrounded by plastic representations of childhood memories let alone talk about ’em?

Was it nostalgia? Honestly, no. Was it a sensation or feeling? Yes! But still not exactly the answer. Why on God’s green Earth am I talking to myself? Because I’m insane.

That conversation began in March of 2020 as I too was hunkered down into the start of an 18 month “15 days to flatten the curve” world. It took 12 months (and a helluva lot of frustrating circumstances) for the true answer to begin revealing itself too me. Then, almost to the day in March 2021, I heard from my neighbor that a certain purple clad, top hat wearing mad man was spotted on the shelves in the Electronics Department.

A spark was struck and away I went to see this anomaly for myself. I arrived to find he and his three clones were perched precariously on a shelf along with 4 each of a vampire, a cyborg, a Japanese superhero, a scarlet skeleton pimp, a clown with pink eye, a possessed spawn of Satan and a snotty looking guy in a dress. Yes, Mr. Willie Wonka, away from his factory and encased in a plastic bubble was looking for a ride to my place. I consulted with President’s Washington and Lincoln and our first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton if they were cool with an exchange. They agreed and there we went, back to the house.

Unbeknownst to me at that moment, the answer to the question I had been pondering for so long and hard, was being answered. The cure to my ailment of attitude, and not just for a desire to indulge in ramblings about toys, but towards life on the whole, was being revealed through this 8 inch Gene Wilder doppelganger. Encapsulated in this action figure was a reminder and reintroduction to the most powerful force in the universe:


Imagination is a multi directional street. Most instinctively presume it only refers to a wondrous mental landscape of joy and wonderment solely for the flights of fancy of children. And it absolutely SHOULD be that way. However, there is a dark side to it when it is overtaken and labeled as worry, anxiety and fear. Those of course are regulated to being the standard and to be expected “adult” experience. Which is an absolutely terrible mindset and perception. I had read something to that effect but it didn’t sink in until I was examining Mr. Wonka more closely and my creative mind kicked back in and realized he was missing something so simple yet crucial; He needed Wonka bars and I needed to make ’em! So I did and in doing so the rusty gears of my imagination factory began to turn and as such began breaking down the false labels attributed to that most wonderful and readily available super power which leads to my first Golden Ticket for you. Below you’ll see a picture of Wonka bar wrappers that you can print out to make your own perfect accessories. I’ve included a simple how to video to help you in the construction process.

Now you too can be a candy man. Print these off and add your own sunrise, and sprinkles of dew.

Just trying to have a little fun, folks. That’s all.

There’s more to come from this story (and more Golden Tickets so be sure to check back soon…

Now, Go Play!

Jim 08/22/2021

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Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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