PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

News from the Wirral and a Piccolo Series?

We have been away for several days so a very quick blog this week. We were camping on the Wirral where it has really been too hot to be pleasant so we looked for air conditioned places to visit. One was the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight where we kept coming across a film crew in almost every room. We tried really hard to stay out of shot(!) while I was trying to remember who it was that was presenting, the one with all the makeup who kept taking selfies? Turns out it was Giles Coren for a program on Sky Arts early next year. There is  a very tentative link in that there is a marble bust of PAN in the North Rotunda.PAN I also planned to visit the Williamson Art Gallery just up the road as it has a second hand book shop but we were ‘galleried out’ after nearly three hours so went down market and ended up sitting on the beach at New Brighton eating our sandwiches.

CrochetI spotted this title on a website and put in an order but still waiting for it to arrive to add a better image. Because it says ‘Piccolo Craft Books’ it sounds like a series but so far I’ve only found two titles., the one above and ‘The Piccolo Craft Book’ Anyone know of any more?

Just realised I’ve missed Raymomd Chandlers birthday on 23rd July. If he hadn’t have died in 1959 he’d have been 128. I’ll include his covers I intended for this week next week.

Finally I think this seller on eBay could be being a little too optimistic ……..Who

Brian Stableford and Angus McKie plus some more Piccolo updates.

There is a slight connection between last weeks blog and this in that they both include recycled artwork. On the Facebook ‘Vintage Paperback and Pulp Forum’ Ray Steptoe uploaded the cover of ‘The Paradise Game’ by Brian Stableford but said he didn’t know the artist. I thought it rang a bell and looked through my 1978 NEL edition of ‘Mechanismo’ by Harry Harrison and sure enough there it was on page 13 and credited to Angus Mckie. I’ve put together a page to show the six titles in the ‘Hooded Swan’ series by Stableford plus some of the same  artwork from other publications. I’m trying to track down McKie, who was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne in July 1951, just to ask him who commissioned the artwork, NEL, PAN or maybe they were for another publisher – any one help?


I’ve added four more covers to the Piccolo Picture Bafflers page plus an advert for them listing eight titles although I have found ten! Another cover added to the Colouring Guides so only ‘The Seashore’ (0330 298089) to go now. The picture below is from the back page of another title in the series.

SeashoreThe last update was one more cover on the Penelope Lively page for a later edition of ‘The Driftway’ with a cover by Eileen Gilbert

‘Zany Afternoons’ and a cover that’s still a mystery.

Randomly ‘Googling’ PAN covers, as you do, I came across ‘Zany Afternoons’ by Bruce McCall which was published as a Picador in 1983. It features drawings by McCall that appeared in the early 70’s in magazines such as New Times, Oui, National Lampoon, Crawdaddy and Playboy. I was forced to research this last title and managed to pick up a couple of editions from 1971 for a remarkably cheap price. I’ve put a couple of scans on the page. I hurriedly skipped past the pages of semi-naked ladies (typing difficult with fingers crossed behind my back) but lingered over the dozens of adverts for 8 track tape players.


A while ago I put on a cover and wondered if anyone recognised it as it was vaguely familiar. Well I’ve found where I’d seen it before but I don’t think it is right. The artwork is shown in an advert for the launch of a familiar book but I’ve never seen it in real life. Maybe a mock up using recycled artwork?  The advert is for sale HERE If anyone is interested in a single page ripped out of a publication for only …… have a look and see optimism.HH3UPDATE May have tracked down the artist, hopefully more next week.

3 Covers and a ‘How Much!!’ plus a Josh Kirby

As I’ve said many times before the pricing of books is a real mystery to me.
Having noticed I had three of the four Piccolo ‘Out and About’ series I thought I’d see if I could get the missing title. No luck on all the usual sites so I just thought I’d try some Amazon sites abroad as I’ve had some success in the past. I found the title “Farmer Joe’s Farm’ on a couple of them namely Italy and Spain. What I can’t get my head round is the price they were asking having only paid pence for all the others, how do they come up with these for a children’s 16 page book? Have a guess and then click on the sites below to see how close you came.


Did you get anywhere near? With the turmoil here in the UK and the pound falling against the euro I think I may have to give it a miss at the moment!

I have now got the third Dan McGirt book ‘Dirty Work’ with a Josh Kirby cover.

Finally I occasionally get asked some strange questions and I think Jem Birch wins for his last one but then again I do like a challenge. He asked if ‘Jet’ at three characters was the shortest PAN title and ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ with 42 characters was the longest? Luckily I have all the titles in one mammoth spreadsheet so thinking back to all those courses I ran on Excel I remembered how to ask for the maximum and minimum characters in a cell. The results were:

X593 Booth’s Handbook Of Cocktails And Mixed Drinks 46
G714 The Second Pan Junior Crossword Puzzle Book 43
X537 The Girl On The Bus and Other Love Stories  42
G505 The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner  42

M213 Mia   3
MP106 Sex 3
X15 Jet  3

So Jem was right with the shortest but not the longest.

Maurice at Zardoz and more Leslie Thomas

I’d like to say a very big ‘Thank you’ to Maurice Flanagan (and his wife) of Zardoz Books for the time and hospitality he gave my wife and I last Monday and Tuesday. We called round at his house where we saw all of his David Tayler roughs for PAN book covers plus dozens of other artworks for numerous publishers. After tea and biscuits we followed Maurice to the ‘secret location’ of his very large book warehouse stuck at the end of a lane in a delightful rural location. We parked up and spent the night of the summer solstice in Maurice’s field by his ‘man cave’ next to the warehouse. My only regret was the next day when Maurice reminded me as to how close we actually were to Stonehenge at this auspicious time, I could have gone and relived my hippy youth!
Spent so long looking at books that I forgot to take many photos but here is a montage of a few.


Top left – The man himself, Maurice Flanagan.
Middle Top – A poor photo showing a Tayler rough that was censored on the actual book cover – no blood!
Top right – Even my wife was fascinated by the amount of books.
Bottom left – A PAN display stand
Bottom right – Another PAN display stand
Middle – Something I just have to agree with.
Bottom middle – Parked up in brilliant sunshine after rain all the way down.

After showing the 12 Leslie Thomas covers by Paul Davies I found three from around the same time but with a squiggle by the drawing on the cover which I eventually twigged was G S for Glenn Steward. The picture on the front at the top continues over to the bottom on the back. I thought I’d be clever and join the two halves together not realising a large part must have been trimmed off so I’ve ‘recreated’ the missing bits. See them HERE

Finally I’m not usually into politics but I’d like to go on record as saying I voted to join the EU 40 years ago and now I’ve voted to remain in it. Just to say when it all goes horribly wrong it was nothing to do with me (if it doesn’t I’ll just keep quiet!)

From the Cradle to the Grave

We recently went to see the unveiling of a bust of celebrated author Jerome K Jerome who was born in Walsall in 1859 and lived there for almost two years before his fathers business collapsed and they moved to London. He rarely came back but in 1926 was made a Freeman of the Borough. He died the next year but I don’t think there is a connection!

I have included him as I am not only a PAN Fan but also of Jerome and have a large collection of his works and in fact one of his stories ‘The Dancing Partner’ appears in PAN X71 ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’

JKJThe chairman of the Jerome K Jerome Society, Tony Grey, is on the left and the bust was unveiled by local lad Jeffrey Holland on the right.

So from the birth of JKJ to a trio of books about the other end of life, ‘Famous Last Words’, ‘A Small Book of Grave Humour’ and ‘Dead Funny, Another Book of Grave Humour’ The latter two are rare examples of shaped books as I was told it was very expensive to do die cutting. Other examples are James Bond titles like the bullet holes in ‘Thunderball’ and the film strip on “From Russia With Love’

Off down to Wiltshire this week to meet up with Maurice Flanagan at Zardoz Books, report next blog

North American content with Dan McGirt and Mazo de la Roche.

Just a couple of things this week as the weather has been too nice to be sitting in front of a computer.

FantasyI picked up a book by a US author I have to confess I’d never heard of, Dan McGirt (sorry Dan) but the cover looked vaguely familiar. Was PAN trying to cash in on a considerably more well know author writing books of a similar genre? Click HERE to see if you agree.

While scanning the covers and looking at the spines I was reminded of the fact PAN had a whole series of different logos, this one fantasy, for different subjects in the 90’s. I once found a page with them all on but can I find it now …..! Maybe next week.

It was only while restacking books after the cat had a narrow escape from a collapse that I noticed in the early 1970’s series of Jalna titles, linked to the Canadian TV series, that some were printed in the UK and some in Canada. I’ve not got enough duplicates to hand to see if all 16 were printed in both countries or whether it was a case of some here and some there? Something to investigate in the future. I also noticed that although all the Canadian editions were printed by Ronalds-Federated Ltd there are 4 different printers for the UK editions.


The edition of ‘The Master of Jalna’ is dedicated to Hugh Walpole who was a very good friend of  Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books and has been mentioned previously, Walpole dedicated at least two of his publications to Bott.


Hilary Hayton and ‘Doris the Cat’

PlayThe opening title for ‘Play School’: was created by Hilary Hayton in 1964 who established a team dedicated to contributing graphic design. illustration and animation to BBC TV Children’s Programmes.Tipps




In the 70’s Hilary created ‘Crystal Tipps and Alistair’ resulting in  50 x 5 minute animated films and the publishing of 10 Crystal Tipps books and two annuals.




In 1982 Hilary started her own animation studio to produce ‘Doris’ which was a series commissioned by ITV and based on her ‘Doris’ books published earlier that year by Piccolo. A second  series followed with 40 x  5 minute films and 13 more ‘Doris’ books but not published by Piccolo.


April1950Following on from last week I’m still puzzled by the apparent mind reading antics of websites. Why did eBay offer me a copy of Tit-Bits from 1950 with an article about the off-side rule by Jimmy Hagan? Did it scan my brain and found that in fact we lived next door to Jimmy Hagan in the 1960’s when he was manager of West Bromwich Albion football club as the club owned the house. Apparently he often entertained well  known football persomalities such as Don Revie, Tommy Docherty and Jeff Astle there but all I remember is shooting the gnomes in their garden with an air rifle belonging to their son – ah – happy times!

PS I have emailed Hilary Hayton but no response so far.

Three Covers

This week I’m including a few covers I’ve meant to mention for a while.

The  first is the recycling of the Josh Kirby cover which originally appeared on the front cover of ‘The 13th PAN Book of Horror Stories’ and turned up again 7 years later on the from cover of ‘Der Wolfsmensch’ from Pable in Germany. Have any of the other PAN horror covers appeared on books by other publishers?

On a group on Facebook there was a mention of an auction including an odd variation on a PAN cover for ‘Live and Let Die’ A couple of us asked which auction as we couldn’t find it but didn’t get a response from the poster. Maybe they wanted to keep it to themselves? Anyway here it is below, possibly Taiwanese but it doesn’t look like any I’ve seen before. OddBond

I was looking at James Herriot covers when I noticed on an Australian booksellers site a variation on a cover I’d not spotted before. As the postage asked was astronomical I looked for it on UK sites and managed to get a copy. I’m now left puzzling if there is a third variant in Australia or it was just a bad photo where there is not pink on the cover.

Talking of postage I always find this to be a mystery. I wanted a boxed set of six Herriot titles from Canada. Postage was quoted at $10 but when I ordered them I was asked for the same again to cover the ‘extra’ cost so how come I could get all 16 Jalna titles posted to me for $8.50 and I checked to confirm that would be the price?

Finally I’m used to Gmail offering me wonderful deals on items I’ve just searched for but for it now to get personal and decide after reading my emails they are Spam is a bit much. Someone I’ve emailed on and off for a long time apologised for not getting back to me recently as that’s where he eventually found my last communication!

Paul Davies FOUND

Last week I mentioned I thought I’d found the artist who did at least 12 covers for Leslie Thomas titles, well I had and Paul Davies kindly emailed back;

“Dear Tim,

It was indeed me, I have not seen these for many years and the artwork is ‘no more’. I think I probably binned it some years ago.
For your information the covers were designed by Gary Day Elison, Pan’s then art director and at the time I was working more as a visualiser than an illustrator/cartoonist ( I prefer cartoonist as we take ourselves a little less seriously ) Gary asked me to visualise a book called ” That old gang of mine” by Leslie Thomas which was due to be a photograph in the final version. Leslie Thomas liked the visual so much he asked for me to do all his books. I can’t for the life of me reason why as I think the drawings are awful, the best one being the first one, but they go down hill from there! I like to think that I’ve improved since.

People ask if artists ever read the books that they illustrate the jackets for, well in this instance my wife read them for me and picked out the best bits for me to illustrate! On “Come to the War” I was asked to drop in a bra, so decided to patch it in on the piano. I did protest at the time and said that there was no sex in this book and it was not relevant…which made a change for Leslie Thomas’s books. But they insisted.

The books were the sort of start to my illustration career, and the credibility it gave me was a great help to me, so I have much to thank them for. However as you will gather from my thoughts on them, they were not a high point personally! I’ve drawn better since and before.

I’ve had a quick look at the site and found it very interesting with some very familiar names there, and some incredibly talented artists, which is why I refer to myself as a cartoonist! This despite being in those days the Chairman of the Association of Illustrators for two years with a lot of involvement from Brian Sanders. I’m not quite sure how I ever got voted in, perhaps being a bit mouthy helped.

For your information I made a living from drawing for 30 years then got a new career aged 58 when I got what my Mum would have called a proper job, working as a print rep for a local Gloucester company. I’m retired from there and have gone back to the drawing board. Unlike proper jobs drawing is something one does not retire from, but I’m sure you know that.

Kind regards, Paul Davies

PS If you put the drawings on the site, please tell everyone that I have improved and point them to my website


Tropic photo


DangerousTVI have also acquired the photo above that shows a scene from the ill fated TV series “Tropic” based on the “Tropic of Ruislip” book showing Ronald Pickup, John Alderson and Ronald Lacey.

I found PAN had a sticker printed to cover over the original circle on the cover of  ‘Dangerous Davies – The Last Detective’ to plug the TV series. I’ve not managed to find a copy so the image is off a website I found once – thanks to whoever put it on.

Finally I am hoping to speak to Paul Davies on the phone this week so may be able to add more later.