chittyBritish authors Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming are two of the most interesting literary figures of the 20th century and have given the world many great stories and novels. Some other time I will post about their place in history for their efforts during World War II where they shared real-life experiences even more thrilling than the fiction they became known for (let it suffice that they were Ally spies).

Mr. Dahl went on to be the beloved children’s author of such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Mr. Fleming, of course, is best known for giving the world James Bond.

But is interesting to note that Mr. Fleming strayed into his friend’s Mr. Dahl’s world with his book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

I am most familiar with Chitty from the musical film version I first saw as a kid. To this day I am traumatised by the depiction of the evil Child Catcher in the film – seriously the scariest thing I ever seen on screen. As part of the BBC’s honoring of the film’s golden anniversary, I learned that the Child Catcher was added to the book by Dahl when Fleming asked for input. Suddenly, the world makes a little more sense. The Child Catcher is very Dahl and Fleming never wrote another children’s book.

Meanwhile, there is a great piece about Ian Fleming’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 50 years on from publication, posted on the website of the BBC that is well worth a listen,

About the BBC’s recognition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 50: “Most of us know the film of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its inventor father, Caractacus Potts, the twins Jemima and Jeremy and their adventures in their flying car. But few realise that Ian Fleming’s original book is quite different. Potts was ‘Pott’ (or Crack Pott) in the book, the original manuscript’s adventures take place in Kent and Northern France, and it was screenwriter Roald Dahl who added the characters of the Child Catcher and Truly Scrumptious. Brian Sibley speaks to Fleming’s nieces, Lucy Fleming and Kate Grimond, and to Ian Fleming bibliographer Jon Gilbert, to hear how Fleming’s only children’s book was written and published. Fleming told the original story aurally to his son Caspar, and he only decided to write it down long hand when he was convalescing after serious illness. The book coincided with the last years of Fleming’s life and contain some of the elements of the Bond Books – a great adventure story at its heart and the love of cars. The vehicle itself was inspired by Fleming watching the racing at Brooklands and a legendary driver called Count Zborowksi, who had a car named Chitty Bang Bang.”

Listen to BBC Radio’s celebration of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 50 here.

Meanwhile, the book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – which incidentally is one of my lifelong friend Lynda’s favourite books – is still in publication after all these years including a new hardcover edition released in honor of the anniversary.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.