Instructions: The giant peach is floating in the ocean but our heroes are surrounded by ravenous sharks. James has convinced Earthworm to act as bait for the many seagulls circling overhead, but his courage won’t last long! As each one swoops, James must lasso it with spider’s web before it pecks poor Earthworm. How many seagulls can you catch? James will tie each one to the peach stem as you go…
How was your Christmas? I spent some time over the break working on the website. The timeline has changed from static text pages to a new, dynamic version that includes images. You can filter it by category as well. I’ve also added over 20 audio books to the site, including several in Czech, Dutch, French, and German.
Did you notice there’s a brand new coat of paint here at RoaldDahlFans.com? The brilliant illustrator Matt Hinrichs created custom illustrations for Dahl’s stories that have formed the basis of the new look. I hope you like it!
Here’s a closer look at Matt’s artwork. Isn’t it fabulous?
Thanks to Trove, I was able to track down another long-lost Dahl essay. This one was written by Roald Dahl himself and it’s called “My Wife, Patricia Neal.” It was published in the September 22, 1965 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly. (I believe it’s the same essay that was published as “Patricia Neal’s Struggle to Live” from the September 1965 issue of Ladies Home Journal.)
I’ve added some scans from the magazine as well as an excerpt featuring Dahl’s description of Neal’s jumbled speech during her recovery, which he later used as inspiration for the BFG’s speech. (I found it pretty shocking that they gave cigarettes and alcohol to a pregnant woman recovering from a brain injury!)
I’ve added a couple more programs for The Honeys, Dahl’s ill-fated play that only ran for 36 performances on Broadway. I’ve since learned that the script was rewritten and retitled “Your Loving Wife” for a UK production in 1956. That one didn’t fare much better though! I also found a cool Charles Addams advertisement from the Broadway production.
It’s not often I get to read a story by Roald Dahl that I’ve never read before! Recently I had that wonderful thrill though when I finally managed to track down a copy of Dahl’s 1952 essay “The Amazing Eyes of Kuda Bux” in an old magazine on eBay. I knew that Kuda Bux had been a real person, an Indian fakir who walked on fire and claimed to be able to see without his eyes. I knew that Dahl had written a “hard-to-believe true story” about Bux, and then twenty-five years later used him as inspiration for “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” What I hadn’t realised though was just how much of “Henry Sugar” was already present in the earlier work. I’d estimate that 90% of the fictional account of Imhrat Khan’s life in “Henry Sugar” is reproduced nearly verbatim from the earlier essay. I’ve detailed the differences between the texts here if you’re interested. I guess the lesson is that Dahl didn’t hesitate at reusing and recycling earlier work when it suited him!
Did you know that the title of The Minpins is changing? According to this blog post from roalddahl.com, a new edition will be published in 2017 entitled “Billy and the Minpins.” The book will also feature illustrations by Quentin Blake for the first time ever.
Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “The Minpins was Roald Dahl’s final story for children and it is the only one his principal illustrator Sir Quentin Blake has yet to illustrate… The new title is drawn from the title Roald gave to an early draft of the story. We think it’s perfect as Billy is a quintessential Roald Dahl hero and deserves to be seen in the same light as Charlie, Matilda, James, Sophie and all the other child heroes readers around the world know and love.”
I just discovered that there are a few episodes from ‘Way Out available on YouTube! This playlist collects them all. I have used those videos to transcribe Dahl’s introductions and concluding remarks from ten of the episodes, which you can read through here.