Vulgaria

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This article is about the fictional country in 20th-century children's entertainment. For the 2012 Hong Kong film, see Vulgaria (film). For a 16th-century Latin work, see William Horman. For another 16th-century Latin work, see Robert Whittington. For the conflict between them, see Grammarians' War.
Vulgaria
Barony of Vulgaria
Real-world
Series Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Creator Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes
Genre Family film
Fictional
Anthem Vulgarian National Anthem
Capital Vulgaria
Language(s) Vulgarian German
Government Barony
Vulgaria, represented by Neuschwanstein Castle

Vulgaria is a fictional European barony visited by the Potts family and Truly Scrumptious in their flying car, in the 1968 children's film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the 2002 stage adaptation.

About Vulgaria[edit]

Vulgaria is a scenic, mountainous region similar to Austria, Switzerland or southern Germany. It is a remote and secluded country that is apparently not on any maps. Vulgaria's exact location in Europe is not known but it has a coast. The national language appears to be a form of English, with slight touches of Swedish and German included. The Baron and Baroness refer to each other as "Liebchen", and the words "Fräulein", "wunderbar" and "adieu" are heard. In addition, the Toymaker and several villagers can be seen wearing lederhosen.

It is a barony ruled by the horrible Bomburst couple, the Baron Bomburst and the Baroness Bomburst. They reside in their vast castle with thousands of servants and courtiers, all of whom are as cruel as they are, and they rule through fear and intimidation. Deep down, however, they are childish and flamboyant, and can also be considered stupid. The national symbols of Vulgaria are a black griffin and its flag which is a horizontal tricolor of black, white, and purple.

Neuschwanstein Castle was used to portray the Baron's castle in the film. The traditional Vulgarian folk dance is a mix of the waltz with the slapping of hands.

The name Vulgaria is possibly a parody of the real life country Bulgaria, a small country in eastern Europe. Similar to the fictional Vulgaria, Bulgaria is a mountainous country and has a coast.

The story[edit]

As beautiful as Vulgaria seems at first, no children can be found playing in its streets and the citizens are distant and aloof. When Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious arrive in the country with the twins Jeremy and Jemima, they are puzzled as to why the grim-faced, desolate townspeople are horrified to see the children. Potts remarks upon this and Truly whispers to him that there is not a single child in sight.

Suddenly a fanfare sounds and the terrified citizens flee to their homes and lock themselves in. A friendly toymaker (Benny Hill) takes the family in and hides them. He explains that the children are in grave danger, as the land is ruled over by the cruel and merciless Baron and Baroness Bomburst. They hate children and have them captured and imprisoned by the inhuman Child Catcher, although a handful of children are in hiding in the sewers beneath the streets. The citizens of Vulgaria live in constant fear of their rulers.

Eventually, the Potts family encourage the children to strike back at the Bombursts, and plan to do so at the Baron's birthday party. A huge battle takes place in the castle between the children, the Bombursts, their army and the Child Catcher. Despite their power the Bombursts are ultimately wiped out by the army of villagers who rise to put an end to them. The Bombursts try to escape through a secret exit, but land in a cage and are trapped by the children and exiled.

Notes[edit]

The musical[edit]

  • In the current stage musical the two Vulgarian spies had the following dialogue:
Gordon: But can't I be Vulgar [A Vulgarian] AND be English?
Boris: No! Then you would be American!
  • In the musical, Vulgaria seems to be a dictatorship. In the film it is, strictly, merely the feudal estates attaching to the incumbent barony, Baron Bomburst. A baron is one of the lower ranks of nobility. However, the extent and nature of the Baron's authority, the apparent deference of his subjects to his whims, and the size and population of the estate comprising Vulgaria might perhaps more likely have been historically associated with a higher ranking title such as a margraviate, a duchy, or a Grand Duchy.

Other uses of the name "Vulgaria(n)"[edit]

  • Another country named 'Vulgaria' is found in the Three Stooges' short film Dutiful But Dumb. The Vulgarians shoot foreign photographers as spies; the Stooges are sent by a magazine to take pictures.
  • "Vulgaria" now colloquially refers to a neighborhood whose smaller single-family homes have been demolished and replaced with over-sized, ostentatious, architectural behemoths commonly referred to as "McMansions".
  • In the Finnish science-fiction spoof "Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" the Vulcans of the original Star Trek franchise are parodied as "Vulgarians" (Vulgaarit in the Finnish original).
  • "The Vulgarians" by Robert Osborn was published in 1960 by the New York Graphic Society. The book described itself as "a satire in pictures and words" focused "on the decline of greatness and rise of mediocrity in America".
  • The 2008 chick flick Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging uses Vulgaria as a place slags go to.
  • Vulgarian is a term coined by Jack Hansen, one of 3 of the original Vulgarians now deceased, reluctantly used by members of the Appalachian Mountain Club to refer to a group of climbers who frequented the Shawangunk Ridge area during the late 1950s and 1960s. Most of the Vulgarians were college students from New York City. The Vulgarians were opposed to the Appalachian Mountain Club's (or anyone's) regulation of the sport of rock climbing. The Vulgarians, in turn, referred to the Appalachian Mountain Club members as "Appies". The Vulgarians were generally very adept climbers who pushed the technical standards of sport higher, but were also notorious for raucous partying and drug use, and the occasional nude climb. Dick Williams was a celebrated Vulgarian. A short-lived magazine named the "Vulgarian Digest" [1] was published by the group documenting some of their escapades, ethos, as well as non-climbing items of interest.
  • The term "Vulgarians" also refers to an ensemble of fictional renaissance festival characters that performed at the Michigan Renaissance Festival during the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, which were based in part on characters from the film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They wore primarily black or dark costumes with exaggerated features, as well as white makeup, behaved in an outrageous manner, and had a flag with a black eagle and purple background as their emblem. The Festival has recently revived the Vulgarians as part of the cast.
  • The comedy album [LP, 1970] by the 1960s/70s San Francisco, California comedic stage troupe known as the "The Congress of Wonders", the term "Vulgarian" is used by the character "Smock" to another character, Captain Kwirk, in the skit "Star Trip", often cited as "The first "Star Trek" parody ever done publicly. Early in the skit "Smock", in response to Capt. Kwirk's query, "Are my people putting me on?", replies; "I don't know Sir. As you know, I am a Vulgarian, and jokes are beyond me.". The character, Smock, is then heard to chuckle causing Capt. Kwirk to remark; "Hmmmm, that's the first time I've ever heard him laugh. Hmph!" The troupe often opened for musical acts at a few of the famous indoor venues which included the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore West. Their popularity led to subsequent album releases.

References[edit]