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Caractacus Pott is one of the main characters in Ian Fleming's novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and, as Potts, in its film adaptation. The film version of the story makes several changes to his character.
|Chitty Chitty Bang Bang character|
|First appearance||Chitty Chitty Bang Bang|
|Created by||Ian Fleming|
|Portrayed by||Dick Van Dyke|
|Family||Grandpa Potts (father, film only)|
Caractacus Pott of the bookEdit
In the original 1964 book, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car, Pott is a Royal Navy Commander and eccentric inventor who lives with his wife Mimsy and their twin eight-year-old children, Jeremy and Jemima, on their hilltop farm.
Caractacus Potts of the filmEdit
The filmmakers, including screenwriter Roald Dahl, altered a good deal of the book's details when crafting the 1968 film musical version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in which Caractacus is portrayed by Dick Van Dyke. The name Pott was changed to Potts and it was felt that a burgeoning romance would serve the story better, and so the character of Mimsie was written out of the story. Caractacus' film character was written as a widower who develops a romantic relationship with Truly Scrumptious, the daughter of the sweets magnate, Lord Scrumptious. The film also did not carry over the naval commander part of his life and there is no hint of it in any of the set design, dialogue or behaviour. His other inventions as seen in the film were designed and created by the craftsman Rowland Emett, and have been on display at Mid-America Science Museum for many years.
In the movie, Caractacus' wife is revealed to have died, leaving him as guardian of their two children Jeremy and Jemima, but not in poverty. The daily routine is that while Caractacus invents things to sell for his family's sustenance, Jeremy and Jemima either go to school or play in a garage owned by a neighbour, Mr. Coggins. One day the children discover and grow fond of a decrepit racing car that caught fire and exploded in a road race when it was involved in a high-speed accident — a dog and a child ran into the road from the cheering crowd, which the car swerved to avoid and was sent crashing down an embankment — and persuade their father to restore it.
There was a 1st century AD British chieftain named Caratacus, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest, and who may have inspired Fleming's choice. Conveniently, the name is also a somewhat obvious pun on the term "crackpot", often used to describe an eccentric person, especially an inventor or scientist.
A stage musical based on the film premiered in London's West End in 2002, with Caractacus Potts played by Michael Ball. The role has since been played on stage in the West End by Gary Wilmot (also on tour), Jason Donovan, Brian Conley (also on tour) and on tour Tim Flavin, Joseph McFadden, Craig McLachlan, Kevin Kennedy, (after playing the Childcatcher) Matt Baker, Aled Jones, Darren Bennett, Jon Robyns, Jason Manford and Lee Mead. For the 2005 Broadway production the role was played by Raúl Esparza. For the 2012 Australian production the role was played by David Hobson.
- Robertson, Willie (October 2012). Michael Ball - The Biography: The Biography - Willie Robertson - Google Books. ISBN 9781782190813. Retrieved 2014-02-02.