Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!
Roald Dahl (which I found out a few years ago is pronounced “Roo-ul” rather than “Row-ald”…my bad) was born on September 13, 1916. He’s one of my favorite authors, and one of the “children’s” authors whose books I think are fantastic for adults to read. While they’re problematic (usually if someone is obese, they’re somehow villainous or stupid, if not both) they’re quite a bit of fun, because he doesn’t write down to children.
Dahl was born to Norwegian parents who lived in Wales, and was raised on stories of trolls and gremlins which, of course, later influenced some of his writings. He was a member of the RAF during WWII, and in 1953 he married actress Patricia Neal. They had 5 kids before Neal divorced Dahl in 1983. That same year, he married his 2nd wife, who was with him until he died on November 23, 1990.
Growing up, I read all of the Roald Dahl books they had in my Elementary school library. And each one was just as good, if not better, than the others. Of course, everyone knows Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (born out of Dahl’s incredible love for chocolate and his desire to make a chocolate bar that Mr. Cadbury would like). A whole slew of his books have been made into movies: Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches (my favorite!), James and The Giant Peach, and The BFG.
One thing I didn’t know was that a couple of his short stories for adults have filmed adaptations. Remember “The Man From Hollywood” from Tarantino’s Four Rooms? Yeah, Roald Dahl wrote that. It was also filmed for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents under the name “The Man From The South” and it starred Peter Lorre and Steve McQueen. When the British anthology series Tales Of The Unexpected (which ran for 9 years and was created by Dahl) began, the first episode was a version of the story starring Jose Ferrer!
Also, Dahl wrote screenplays for two movies based on Sir Ian Fleming works; the screenplays for You Only Live Twice and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang were first written by Dahl, and then later rewritten by other writers.
In Africa, the UK, and Australia, today is known as “Roald Dahl Day.” To celebrate, I’m going to find some delicious chocolate and eat the heck out of it! And maybe read a Roald Dahl book or two.