Caractacus Pott

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Caractacus Potts
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang character
First appearance Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Created by Ian Fleming
Portrayed by Dick Van Dyke
Gender Male
Occupation Inventor
Nationality British

Commander Caractacus Pott 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 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[edit]

In the original 1964 book, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car[citation needed]

Caractacus Potts of the film[edit]

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, and persuade Potts to restore it.

Character name[edit]

There was a 1st-century British chieftain named Caratacus (note spelling difference), who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest, which may have inspired Fleming's choice. More pointedly perhaps: the name "Caractacus Potts", with the added 'c', quite obviously suggests the word "crackpot", which Potts is certainly perceived as and the film's makers clearly intended (the character himself has the line "do you think your father's a crackpot?").

Other media[edit]

A stage musical based on the film premiered in London's West End in 2002, with Caractacus Potts played by Michael Ball.[1]