Backdrops From the Disastrous Willy Wonka Experience Are Up for Auction

A record store in Glasgow rescued the coveted items... from the trash.

A backdrop from "Willy's Chocolate Experience." Courtesy Monorail Music, via eBay.

Somehow, it was just a couple of weeks ago that “Willy’s Chocolate Experience,” an immersive event based on the fictional character Willy Wonka and his glorious chocolate factory, went horribly wrong, leaving in its wake crying children and outraged parents. After paying as much as $45 a ticket to a enter a mostly empty warehouse in Glasgow, visitors found that the organizers, called the House of Illuminati, were offering a few pathetic sets, sadly costumed actors spouting A.I.-generated gibberish, and, rather than chocolate, a few drops of lemonade and a single jellybean for each kid, according to those who were there.

While a real-life dud, the event has had a long life online, mostly thanks to a photograph from the experience depicting an sour-faced actor in a green wig playing an Oompa Loompa while surrounded by random scientific equipment. Now known as the “Meth Lab Oompa Loompa,” the image has been relentlessly memed, with an art gallery in Aberdeen recently offering their own take.

Now, get ready to be transported back to a more innocent time, because the Monorail Music record store in Glasgow is offering two of the backdrops from the Wonka-themed experience for sale on eBay. The lot had a starting price of £10 ($12) on March 7; 45 bids later, the price has risen to £625 ($797) at time of publication. Bidding is open through Thursday. The backdrops show landscapes full of candy and rainbows, and, as a free bonus, the seller is offering a black-and-white-striped cloth that, they say, served as the set for a feature called the “time tunnel.” 

A backdrop from “Willy’s Chocolate Experience.” Courtesy Monorail Music, via eBay.

The listing specifies that the condition is used, the colors are “all of them,” and the type of item is “rip off.” 

“Yes it’s real,” says Monorail in the item description on eBay. “A friend of ours has a workshop below the House Of Illuminati Willy’s Chocolate Experience and rescued these original printed backdrops from the bin following the globally reported Willy Wonka scam.”

For good measure, Monorail also enlisted the aid of artificial intelligence to hawk the goods, adding, “A.I. says, ‘This unique and exclusive item is a must-have for any fan of the House of Illuminati brand. The Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience Original Backdrops feature a stunning array of colors that will brighten up any room… It’s a great conversation starter and an ideal collectible for enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to own a piece of history.’”

All proceeds will go to the British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians

“This is Monorail’s finest moment,” says commenter The Wake on the X post, to which the record store replies, “You’re sadly probably right.”

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