13 September 2010

13 September - Hershey, Dahl, and Kiel

Today are three notable birthdays.
(I know that Milk Chocolate is their flagship, but I have always turned to the Dark Side)
In 1857, Milton S. Hershey, the philanthropist and founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company and Hershey, Pennsylvania.  He also endowed his school for orphan boys, the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School and co-ed), with a trust fund which holds the majority of voting shares in the Hershey Chocolate Company, as well as control of Hershey Park.  His "company town" of Hershey is favorably discussed in a recent book, "The Company Town" by Hardy Green.

In 1916, Roald Dahl, author of such dark and enduring tales as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Witches.  And those are just some of his children's stories.  Stories for adults are even darker and funnier, usually with a plot twist at the end.  If, while reading them, you find the storyline familiar, it is probably because many of them showed up on the television shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Tales of the Unexpected.

The Roald Dahl website focuses on the children's stories (but hey, I just read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again.  I love to see the brats get their comeuppance!)  And if you need ideas for ways to celebrate, go here to Roald Dahl Day

I think eating chocolate would be a fitting way to celebrate.  Mmmmm, chocolate!

Even more fitting would be a donation to an orphanage or shelter for children.

Today also, in 1939, Richard Kiel, actor and author.

Remember this guy?  I do.  I was a bit young to understand the punchline of the story, but I do remember that costume.  (Maybe I should make him the guardian of my recipes folder)

Then came The Wild, Wild West and the much-abused "Voltaire".  He liked toys and songs, and usually was quite gentle - except with Mr. West.

I must be one of the very few who remember him as "Moose Moran", the bouncer of Cash Conover's Golden Gate Casino, on the delightful and very short-lived Barbary Coast.

But this role was iconic.  'Fess up, now.  When "Jaws" fell into the shark tank in The Spy Who Loved Me, didn't you immediately think, "Oh, those poor sharks!"?

There are scores of others - these are the ones that I remember.  Mr. Kiel has his own website, where you can find a lot of good information about him (I understand that he now lives in my hometown of Clovis (California)).

Happy birthday, sir, and many, many more!