His first published work launched his writing career by accident and his wartime adventures are depicted inaccurately and sensationally.His children's books were some of the best beloved of the twentieth century and the gremlins were creatures of RAF folklore. He also wrote adult macabre stories with dark humor and surprise endings, more than 60 of them. "The Smoker" was filmed twice in 60 and 85 on Alfred Hitchcok Presents, and adapted in the 95 film The Four Rooms.
Tales of the Unexpected was adapted to a successful TV series of the same name, Quote Note his references to My Uncle Oswald.
Roald Dahl's story "The Devious Bachelor" was illustrated by Frederick Siebel
when it was published in Collier's (September
Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S.
Forester, was "Shot Down Over Libya." Today the story is published as "A
Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by The
Saturday Evening Post for $900, and propelled him into a career as a writer.[citation
needed] Its title was inspired by a highly inaccurate and sensationalised
article about the crash that blinded him, which claimed he had been shot down
instead of simply having to land due to low fuel.
His first children's book
Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore.
The book was commissioned by Walt Disney for a film that
was never made, and published in 1943. Dahl went on to create some of the
best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the
He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of
macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise
ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Collier's, Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Playboy and The
New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining
worldwide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared
in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death
(See List of
Roald Dahl short stories). His stories also brought him three Edgar
Awards: in 1954, for the collection Someone Like You; in 1959, for the story
Landlady"; and in 1980, for the episode of Tales of
the Unexpected based on "Skin".
One of his
more famous adult stories, "The Smoker" (also known as "Man From the South"),
was filmed twice as both 1960 and 1985 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock
Presents, and also adapted into Quentin Tarantino's
segment of the 1995 film Four Rooms. This bizarre,
oft-anthologised suspense classic[citation
needed] concerns a man residing in Jamaica who wagers with visitors in an
attempt to claim the fingers from their hands; the 1960 Hitchcock version stars Steve McQueen and Peter
His short story collection Tales of the Unexpected was adapted to
a successful TV
series of the same name, beginning with "Man From the South".
When the stock of Dahl's own original stories was exhausted, the series
continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahl's style,
including the American writers John Collier and Stanley Ellin.
acquired a traditional Romanichal Gypsy wagon in the
1960s and the family used it as a playhouse for his children. He later used the
vardo as a writing room, where he wrote the book Danny, the
Champion of the World.
of his short stories are supposed to be extracts from the diary of his
(fictional) Uncle Oswald, a rich gentleman whose sexual exploits form the
subject of these stories. In his novel "My Uncle Oswald" the uncle engages a
temptress to seduce 20th Century geniuses and royalty with a love potion
secretly added to chocolate truffles made by Dahl's favourite chocolate shop, Prestat of
Memories with Food at Gipsy House, written with his wife Felicity
and published posthumously in 1991, was a mixture of recipes, family
reminiscences and Dahl's musings on favourite subjects such as chocolate,
onions, and claret.
Dahl ranks amongst the world's
bestselling fiction authors, with sales estimated at 100 million.
The Gremlins (1943)
James and the Giant Peach (1961) — Film: James and the Giant Peach (live-action/animated) (1996)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) — Films: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Magic Finger (1 June 1966)
Fantastic Mr Fox (9 December 1970) — Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox (animated) (2009)
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (9 January 1972) A sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Danny, the Champion of the World (30 October 1975) — Film: Danny the Champion of the World (TV movie) (1989)
The Enormous Crocodile (24 August 1978)
The Twits (9 October 1980)
George's Marvellous Medicine (21 May 1981)
The BFG (14 October 1982) — Film: The BFG (animated) (1989)
The Witches (27 October 1983) — Film: The Witches (1990)
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (26 September 1985)
Matilda (21 April 1988) — Film: Matilda (1996)
Esio Trot (19 April 1990)
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (9 May 1991)
The Minpins (8 August 1991)