Watching 'Willy Wonka' in Smell-O-Vision

Smell-O-Vision, a system that pumped scents into movie houses that matched actions onscreen, was largely abandoned after the late1950s. The Boston Children's Museum wants to revive Smell-O-Vision with showings of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory this fall.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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SIMON: There are some bad ideas like the Edsel and New Coke that disappeared fairly quickly. Then there is something like Smell-o-Vision. Some moviemakers tried Smell-o-Vision in the late 1950s where a signal from the film track would trigger a system that puffed aromas into the theater. But when the smell of the wet dog rolled into the scent of honeysuckles the new medium lost its charm for many filmgoers.

But an artist named Megan Dickerson, who's also the manager of community programs for the Boston Children's Museum, is trying to revive Smell-o-Vision with showing of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" this fall in which oscillating fans will forcibly waft the smells of blueberry pie and banana tapi(ph) over the audience, as well as the scents of dirt, grass and sushi.

Ms. Dickerson hopes, eventually, to organize a Smell-o-Vision film festival that would include "Willy Wonka" among other films. But we'd hope not the campfire scene and blazing saddles.

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