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|Chitty Chitty Bang Bang character|
|First appearance||Chitty Chitty Bang Bang|
|Created by||Ian Fleming|
|Portrayed by||Dick Van Dyke|
|Family||Grandpa Pott (father)|
|Significant other(s)||Truly Scrumptious|
Commander Caractacus Potts is one of the main characters in Ian Fleming's novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and its film adaptation. He is an eccentric inventor who lives with his wife and twin eight-year-old children, Jeremy and Jemima, on the Potts' hilltop farm. In the film version he is a single father who does not have a wife, but he and his children live with Grandpa Pott; the family surname is altered from "Pott" to "Potts".
Caractacus Pott of the book
Caractacus Potts of the film
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 Potts is portrayed by Dick Van Dyke. Pott's name 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 behavior. Potts' other inventions as seen in the film were designed and created by the craftsman Roland Emett, and have been on display at Mid-America Science Museum for many years.
In the movie the plotline is Caractacus's wife is revealed to have died leaving him as guardian of their two children Jeremy and Jemimah but in poverty. The daily routine is that while Caractacus invents stuff to sell for his and his children's food to keep them alive, Jeremy and Jemimah either walk to go to school or go to play in a garage owned by a neighbor, Mr. Coggins. One day the children discover and grow fond of a decrepit racecar that caught fire and exploded in a road race when it was involved in a high speed accident - a dog ran into the road from the cheering crowd which the car swerved to avoid and was sent crashing down an embankment - and persuade Potts to restore it.
There was a 1st century AD British chieftain named Caratacus, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest, who may have inspired Fleming's choice.
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.
- "Michael Ball - The Biography: The Biography - Willie Robertson - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-02.