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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Charles Chilton (1917-2013)

Charles Chilton died on 2 January 2013 at the age of 95.

Charles Frederick William Chilton was born in London in 1917 and educated at Thanet Street Church of England Elementary School. After leaving school, he worked briedly in a sign factory in Gray's Inn Road and in Farringdon street in 1932 before joining the BBC as a messenger boy. He then worked his way up via publications assistant-storeman, assistant gramophone librarian, assistant gramophone producer until he achieved the position of full-time producer.

He's probably best known as the creator of two radio series, Riders of the Range and Journey Into Space and as the producer of The Goons. Outside of radio he is known as the author of Oh! What a Lovely War! which was produced on radio in 1964, then as a play in London and New York and, in 1969, was filmed by Richard Attenborough from a screenplay by Len Deighton.

In comics, Chilton wrote 'Riders of the Range' for Eagle from 1950, although later episodes were by some anonymous replacement. He also wrote another Western strip, 'Flying Cloud' for Girl (1952) and authored the strip 'Jet Morgan & the Planet of Fear' strip in Express Weekly (1956), based on the second Jet Morgan series, The Red Planet. Again, I believe later episodes were by another hand as the credit read "based on Charles Chilton's characters." Episodes of the strip were  serialised in Spaceship Away between 2005 and 2010.

The illustrations above are the paperback editions of Chilton's Journey Into Space saga, originally published in hardback by Herbert Jenkins in 1954, 1956 and 1960 respectively. The first pic. shows front (by Gordon Davies) and back covers from Pan 437 (1958) and batch two is Digit R770 (1963) and Pan G579 (1962) illustrated by A.W. and W. Francis Phillipps respectively. Lastly, the Pan G274 (1960) edition of Red Planet with a cover by Glenn Steward.

Charles is survived by his wife, Penny.

A review of Chilton's autobiography, Auntie's Charlies can be found here.

Obituaries: Daily Telegraph (4 January), The Independent (5 January), The Guardian (15 January).

1 comment:

  1. Started reading his biography just a couple of weeks ago. The description of the death of his mother was one of the saddest things I'd ever read! RIP.