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A Golden Ticket is a fictional item included in Roald Dahl's 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was also shown in the two films based on the novel: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, (2005).

Willy Wonka releases five Golden Tickets, which are hidden among ordinary looking Wonka Bars. The winner of the ticket is promised a tour of the chocolate factory, which has been closed to the public for many years, and a lifetime supply of sweets. In the 2005 film, one child out of the five is to be chosen for a special prize in addition to the tour and the lifetime supply of sweets. In the novel the winner is allowed to take two guardians with them but both movies only allow one guardian to be chosen.

The hunt for the Golden Tickets becomes a worldwide mania, with people taking increasingly desperate and even illegal measures to find them, including producing fake tickets. The first four tickets are found relatively quickly, but the fifth ticket (Charlie Bucket's) is not found until the eve of the tour. Each find is accompanied by a huge media circus (the media circus for Charlie is absent in both movies, and for Veruca in the 1971 version), and the finder becomes an worldwide celebrity. The five Golden Ticket finders are Augustus Gloop (a gluttonous boy), Veruca Salt (a spoiled brat), Violet Beauregarde (a compulsive gum-chewer), Mike Teavee (a television addict) and Charlie Bucket (the titular hero).

At the conclusion of the tour, at which only Charlie remains, Wonka reveals that the real reason for the Golden Tickets is that he is seeking an heir to carry on his work. In the 1971 film an integrity test is attached to the tickets to determine the winner's worth. In the 2005 film Charlie shows his worth by first declining to become Wonka's heir because the cloistered lifestyle will mean separation from his family.

In 2005, to coincide with the cinematic release of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Nestlé promoted a competition similar to the film, with which five actual Golden Tickets were released in various Wonka Brand products. The prizes offered were cash prizes as well as an overseas vacation and chocolate factory tour, depending on the country. The competition was held in the United Statesmarker, United Kingdommarker, Australia, and Canadamarker.

A similar promotion was also held in the United States, Canada and Australia where paper Golden Tickets were hidden inside the sleeve of the 2-disc "deluxe edition" release of the DVD.

Parodies

The concept of the Golden Ticket has been parodied by a number of film and television shows:
  • In The Simpsons episode "Simple Simpson", Homer tries to win a tour of a bacon factory by uncovering a Golden Ticket in packs of bacon. He is only able to find a Silver Ticket, which entitles the bearer to be a judge at a local fair.
  • In "Fry and the Slurm Factory", an episode of Futurama, Fry chokes on a Golden Bottlecap, which wins him, Leela, and Bender a tour of the Slurm Factory.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Wasted Talent", Peter tries to win a tour of Pawtucket Pat's brewery by finding one of four Silver Scrolls hidden in bottles of beer. Reporter Tom Tucker announced the last Silver Scroll had been but it was later revealed to be a fake like the Russian (Paraguayan in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) man who falsely claimed to have found the last Golden Ticket. Tucker confessed having made up that story to minimize the chances others would find the last one before he does. Right after that, Peter tries another bottle and (to homage a scene where Charlie tries to find comfort on the fact the ticket would leave a bad taste in his mouth) comments silver must have a bad taste but then it's revealed he did swallow the scroll. As he runs home excitedly, he trips in front of his house, and spends several seconds clutching his shin and writhing in pain. He later does the same thing when he gets hit by a Chumba Wumba while getting thrown out of the factory. (The scene that leads to this, Peter and Brian drinking beer that never loses its fizz, is a parody of Grandpa Joe and Charlie drinking the fizzy lifting drinks; Peter and Brian must fart to get back down instead of burp.)
  • Also, in Simpsons Comics, the story "Bart Simpson and the Krusty Brand Fun Factory" focuses on Bart desperately trying to get a Golden Straw hidden inside bottles of Cherry Soda. He eventually gets one after Homer chokes on one and it is removed from his appendix. The other winners are Ralph Wiggum, Barney Gumble, Milhouse and Nelson Muntz.
  • The Golden Ticket concept is also parodied in the Dexter's Lab episode, Golden Diskette. In it, Dexter and other junior geniuses are looking for Golden Diskettes to gain entry into Professor Hawk's secret laboratory though he doesn't find one in the diskette packet he buys Dexter is surprised and discouraged when he finds out that his older sister Dee-Dee got one in her diskette packet.
  • British R&B star Craig David's video for "What's Your Flava?" is essentially a parody of the original 1971 film; he places four "Golden CD's" for lucky fans to obtain a tour of his house and studio.
  • In the 2007 movie, Epic Movie, there is a parody of a golden ticket in a Wonka bar for going on an epic adventure.
  • In the VeggieTales movie Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie, the do-nothing pirates look through bags of "Cheese Curls", a parody of Cheetos chips, for a golden ticket to a tour of the Cheese Curls factory, as well as a curly, pointy, odd looking hat.
  • In an episode of My Name is Earl, a character named Randy finds a dollar in a sewer, and uses it to purchase a lottery ticket. Randy and Earl scratch off the ticket squares, speaking the same lines use when Charlie and Grandpa open the candy bar, all while the original golden ticket music plays. The lottery ticket turns out to be fake.
  • In the "Golden Ticket" episode of The Office, Michael Scott comes into the office one day dressed as Willy Wonka, with a "golden ticket" idea to hide golden tickets in boxes of paper that will give customers 10% off their total order if they find a golden ticket.
  • In certain Kidrobot Dunny boxes, there might be a golden ticket that grants the recipient an extremely limited Dunny.



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