By Jeffrey Edward Peters
“Oh you pretty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you!” And so do 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM, who celebrated the November 2 Blu-Ray launch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo), that classic children’s film about a flying car, with a Saturday morning screening and party at the Grove Theaters in Los Angeles on October 30, 2010.
The stars of the film, Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, were in attendance on the red carpet and later in the balcony, snapping photos with fans old and new. Van Dyke and Howes also gave advice to the child stars on hand to support the Starlight Foundation, including Devon Gearheart, Nadji Jeter, and Ashlee Keating, posing for pictures with the youngsters. This clever promotional tie-in echoed the film’s subplot of helping children in need.
The celebration continued inside the theater lobby, with branded “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” buckets of popcorn and drink cups for everyone. Upstairs on the balcony were special treats, including a “Scrumptious Sweets” movie-inspired candy counter and a green-screen photo station where attendees saw themselves fly in Chitty herself. Howes and Van Dyke posed too, creating a current version of the classic film poster. On the balcony, a woman in her 30’s shoved her camera into her tween daughter’s hands to take a picture of her with Dick Van Dyke. He’s used to that, and said, “I have many generations that come up to me and tell me how much they love the film.”
He sang his way through the morning, especially his favorite song from the film, “You Two,” and the octogenarian joked that “I’m what’s left of Dick Van Dyke!” in his introduction of the film. He encouraged the audience to sing along before the film started, perhaps getting the attendees in the mood for the sing-along version of the Blu-Ray. Hundreds of children in the audience had never seen the film, and they were in for a treat, when a crisp, clean, high-definition version unspooled.
Dick Van Dyke chatted with me on the red carpet, including a discussion about the fact that we are related on my father’s (James A. Peters) side of the family. Check that out on YouTube.
The big children’s DVD release on November 2 is Toy Story 3 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy), which is one of 2010’s best movies, so make sure to grab that one, but while you’re picking it up, do yourselves and your children a favor by adding the new Blu-Ray of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) to your shopping cart as well. You may not have a car that can float, fly, and be stolen by spies, but it’s the next best thing!
Photos by Jeffrey Edward Peters.
[Jeffrey Edward Peters is an actor, director, producer, writer and artist, not necessarily in that order. He is the executive producer and host of www.Comicology.tv ]