"Gene Wilder and I would always share a bit of chocolate every day after lunch," he says. "Part of that was living in Munich,
Germany, for five months, which was an adventure unto itself."
Farm owner John Rhoades keeps a notebook for Ostrum's recommendations for the health of his herd.
He says he grew fond of the long, leisurely lunches and his three-hour school days.
"We were always being pulled in and out of school to shoot scenes," Ostrum says. "You had to be there at least 15 minutes
for it to count toward your three hours," he says.
His tutor coordinated his assignments with his home school in Cleveland, where he returned after his turn in the spotlight,
and he bought a horse with a portion of his earnings. He grew fond of the animal husbandry that horse ownership required,
which nurtured his eventual ambition for veterinary medicine. "The vet that came out seemed to really like what he did," he
It's that catalyst that Ostrum tries to trigger for tomorrow's cast of veterinarians. He says it's important to engage aspiring
practitioners and veterinary students as early as possible so mentorship opportunities can steer the best and brightest into
large animal disciplines.
"You've got to find kids early in their veterinary career to recruit them," he says. "You need to show them your practice
and engage them so by the time they graduate, you've already hired them."
As if wrestling cows wasn't enough exercise, Ostrum finished the 2005 New York Marathon in less than three hours. "There is
a very physical aspect to this job, but there is also the mental aspect of problem solving that is very gratifying," he says.
"That's why I like this job."
The practice participates in Cornell's Food Animal Medicine Exploratory to help recruit. It's also part the Academy of Rural
http://www.ruralvets.com/), a collaboration of Midwest veterinarians who are developing a proactive network of internships, externships and other mentorship
opportunities to keep third- and fourth-year students engaged in the discipline.
"If we started earlier, then you have a shot at recruiting them," he says. "The hardest sell for some of these kids is the
isolation because no one grows up on farms any more."
Author Roald Dahl didn't look amused the couple days he visited the set for the movie version of his book "Charlie and
the Chocolate Factory".
"He was pretty quiet, and I got the impression he was rather disappointed," says Dr. Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket
in the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".
Of course, in just a couple of days, any movie set could appear to be a disjointed disappointment depending on what scene
was being shot. It could be a bit frightening, too. A psychedelic boat ride springs to mind.
Even the actors aren't always sure how production will translate to the silver screen.
"I was surprised that our editor was able to make sense of it," Ostrum says.