Move Over Charlie, Enter Roald Dahl’s Creepy TV Debut

The name of the series was ‘WAY OUT, with an apostrophe, and, yes, it didn’t last very long, but for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY fans (or better yet, the superior t_500x300earlier movie version with Gene Wilder starring and WILLIE WONKA in the title), children’s author Roald Dahl actually did host a spooky adult TV show way back in 1961.  The hell of it is, though, it’s never been made available on DVD, one reason why you (or anyway, I) may have never heard of it.  But for some information, check out “Roald Dahl’s 1960’s Version of ‘Twilight Zone’” by Trisha Leigh Zeigenhorn on lg_1c77caed344c-roald-dahl-way-out_openingDIDYOUKNOWFACTS.COM, via “Discover Roald Dahl’s Dark Side in His Creepy Twilight Zone-like Show, Way Out” on THE-LINE-UP.COM (or, the magic of serendipity strikes again!), by pressing here.  And with that all may be no longer lost — scroll down to the very, very bottom and there’ll be a link to see at least some of the episodes on YouTube.

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  1. Marge Simon

    so…Roald had a playhouse on TV too –he was older then, than in the days he did Way Out. His plays were also dark and disturbing or light and disturbing. I think they were done live.

    It’s ironic fun that he wrote “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”!

  2. There was TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED (a.k.a. ROALD DAHL’S TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED) on British TV apparently from 1979 to 1985, with him doing the introductions for the first two series (and which are available on DVD). Also I didn’t realize he wrote a number of adult short stories (TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED was also the title of a print collection of his, from which came the TV show in part, I think) and also won a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1983 at World Fantasy Con. Or at least so says Wikipedia.

  3. Roald Dahl was definitely an interesting person. Going through war definitely twisted him pretty hard. That’s very cool that he had a creepy TV series or two. Incidentally, the majority of his works, including “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” are not nearly as light and gay as the movies made them out to be. Wilder did an exceptional job pushing the envelope there. Every work, including THE BFG is jam packed with social commentary. Dahl should really be considered a peer of George Orwell, H.G. Welles and Rod Serling for his sharp jabs at society and the accepted norms. Disney just has to cuddle bug everything up and ruin the writers’ intended messages. Reading the books is essential! Then see if you still think “Charlie” is as cuddly.

    Can you just imagine those writers today looking at how horribly rude people have become to each other? Bradbury and Huxley as well. People have their ears closed with earbuds and hold their phones in front of their faces to block contact…self parking cars…even social media to a point because of all the governmental meddling…We see what we want to see or what others put in our heads-True

    Great post James!

  4. Brian-James, thanks! I remember years ago Billy Bob Thornton hosted a weekend late night movie show on some channel and one night the movie was WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY which he described as the perfect movie to invite your girlfriend to watch with you. The reason: the girlfriend would see it as a heartwarming tale about a boy and his grandfather, while “we” would be able to enjoy it because underneath it’s really a horror movie, particularly considering the gruesome fates of the other children. However, yes, that aspect does tend to be glossed over (but the oompa-loompas are still creatures that could give a kid nightmares!).




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