Fleming himself envisioned additional installments for Chitty beyond the three merged into one, but he died before he was able to write more, she said.
“It’s one of those things that has been in the backs of people’s minds for a long time,” Grimond said. “Other than that, I don’t quite know why now.”
It might have something to do with publishing’s penchant for brand extensions, including numerous authorized Bond books by other writers. Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham) and John Gardner were among them.
Children’s books are no exception. The first authorized Winnie the Pooh sequel, “Return to the Hundred Acre Wood,” was released in 2009, and the first all-new Madeline story, “Madeline and the Cats of Rome,” by John Bemelmans Marciano, the grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans, was published in 2008.
There have been many other extensions for classic children’s books after the death of their creators, including the Babar, Wizard of Oz and “Little House on the Prairie” books.
The original Chitty, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car” has the Pott family acquiring a broken-down old car that slowly reveals magical powers after Caractacus repairs it.
Chitty not only flies but also floats on water, drives itself and protects the family during a calamitous trip across the Channel that involves a couple of kidnappings and a gang of robbers.
Fleming was criticized for a lackluster ending. He has the car flying the family off to an unknown destination, presumably to make room for future adventures.
Enter Cottrell Boyce. At 52, he said “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” was the first movie he ever saw as a boy, in an audience mesmerized when the car drives off a cliff and sprouts wings and propellers.
“It was a big day out to see that picture,” he said. “There were lots of cousins and treats. I went for Cherry Lips, one of my favorite candies. Everybody gasped when the car went off the cliff and it was at that precise moment that the picture froze and the Intermission sign went on.”
In search of a sequel writer, the Fleming family (Grimond and her sister are the daughters of Ian’s older brother, Peter) learned of Cottrell Boyce through a neighbor boy who admired “Framed,” the second of his three previous books. It features a boy whose family runs an auto shop.
“The car connection was there for them,” he said.
In the first of his sequels, the Pott family is long gone, replaced by the modern-day, biracial Tooting brood, complete with a mom, a 15-year-old daughter who always dresses in black and two sons.
The dad loses his factory job and the use of a company car (and its fancy navigation system). With help from his oldest son, he rebuilds a rusty, old 1966 camper van so the family can hit the open road. They install a massive engine they find up an oak tree in a junkyard and soon the magic begins, helped along by illustrations from Joe Berger.