PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

Doctor Who etc.

One of those strange coincidences last Monday when I was watching the TV show ‘Pointless Celebrities’ while my wife was sorting through old photos.ColinColin Baker, the 6th Dr Who from 1984 to 1986, had just lost in the first round when my wife found the photo below His partner on the show was Simon Williams who incidentally appeared as Group Captain Ian ‘Chunky’ Gilmore in the Dr Who story ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ but with Sylvester McCoy as The Doctor. He was also in the Dr Who spin off ‘Counter-measures’Who2I remember very well the occasion when the photo was taken, it was the ‘Ford Hi-Tech Challenge’ from 1985 where children had to come up with innovative ideas. I can still recall the winning idea which unfortunately wasn’t the best and has never been seen or heard of since (I think they chose the most photogenic child!) Colin Baker came along to present the prizes and wrote on my programme  ‘You are welcome aboard the TARDIS anytime’ and signed it ‘Doctor ?’ as apparently due to BBC arrangements he was no allowed to use ‘Dr Who’ I just wish I could remember the ‘safe place’ I put it. I was proud of my A1 sized ‘electronic poster’ which was touch sensitive and plugged into the BBC Computer although the royalties barley scrapped into four figures as we ended up giving most of them away especially to Ford for ‘The Motor Show’ although I still have 3 in my garage and open to offers!

Who1Having mentioned the above title being offered on eBay for over £1000 I see someone got a ‘bargain’ when it was reduced by over £990 as it is now listed as sold.Doc

……. and finally with all the talk of it being 100 years this week since the introduction of Royal Navy fast boats it reminded me that it was a later one of these that PAN used to transport their books printed in Paris across the channel to Kingston. I am rewriting my Alan Bott page (very slowly) but the holding page shows the boat.

“Who got the job?” and Richard Ballantine

JOb Advert    In 1971 PAN placed the above advert in the papers. I don’t think they would be allowed to say it “… will suit a man…” these days. I wonder who got the job?


PAN had connections with Ballantine Books in the States and published many titles jointly such as these Shute titles with Coleman covers and I’ll put up some more in a couple of weeks. There was also a connection in that Richard Ballantine, the son of Ian and Betty Ballantine, had his best selling ‘Richard’s Bicycle Book’ published in the UK in both PAN and Piccolo editions plus by Ballantine in the States. Richard was born in New York in 1940 and moved to the UK in the 70’s. He died in London in 2013. PAN also published ‘Richard’s Mountain Bike Book’, ‘Richards 21st Century Bicycle Book’ and ‘Richard’s Cycling for Fitness’

RichardI was intrigued to see he is wearing the same jumper in the photo as on the book cover but then again I had a very similar favourite jumper back in the 70’s

Finally thanks to Peter who pointed out that I had a duplicate scan in the Craft Books series I mentioned last week. I have now added ‘Knitting Things’ which, although listed as one of the series, does not actually say craft on it!

“Flight of the Doves” and another ‘look a like’

Only a couple of items this week as having been in The Netherlands I’m just adding this at the last minute. Nothing to do with books but if you are in The Netherlands I can highly recommend a ride of the Stoomtram.

Flight11I recently noticed that PAN/Piccolo/Piper seemed to have published several editions of the Walter Macken title ‘Flight of the Doves’ made into a film in 1971. The Piccolo 1971 edition features the same artwork by Brian Bysouth as the DVD cover, film poster and LP cover. There is no mention of Brian Bysouth in the book but I did find he put a lot of his posters into an auction last year including this one.

PAN published two editions for the film with similar screen shot covers in 1971 but one has SP on it which stands for Scholastic Publications. In every respect, apart from the cover, they are almost identical although the SP one only has a price of 20p on the back whereas the other has several for different countries. Scholastic was a company that sent catalogues of books to schools for children to chose reasonably priced editions similar to adult book clubs. I was teaching at this time and remember this was the bane of my life, I couldn’t never get the money to balance and often had to make it up myself but on the plus side teachers got complimentary copies which were supposed to go on the classroom shelves but mine came home and I still have one or two.

Now I know it must be difficult to come up with new ideas for covers but the PAN cover for ‘Gold Mine’ from 1970 looks very similar to the PANTHER cover for ‘Pit’ from 1969 but as they both have a mining/death theme it might be just coincidence?Smith

Greetings from the Netherlands plus some Piccolo titles.

I hope this blog launches today as scheduled as I am currently enjoying the hospitality of the Dutch travelling on vintage steam ships and trains if all goes according to plan.

Hitch1I may need to take my ‘Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Europe’ and so I’ve just added a scan of the first edition to the Travellers page. I spent a lot of time in the 60’s hitch-hiking around Ireland and when I looked at this book this week I though you couldn’t actually live on some of the prices quoted in the 1971 edition but on doing a few sums I think you could. It was written for the US traveller so prices tend to be in cents so 70 cents for a bed and 50 cents for a meal with an exchange rate of two and a half dollars to the pound.

CraftI mentioned the Piccolo Craft series of books and have now found a third title for knitters, the search goes on.

ColourI picked up a copy of the tie-in to the appalling children’s television series ‘The Double Deckers’ saying it was in the Piccolo Colour series of books but it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the ones I already have on the site, anyone any ideas apart from it does have colour photos in it?

Raymond Chandler

I meant to tie this blog in with a birthday, in this case Raymond Chandler’s  but as usual have missed it by just over a week (July 23rd) PAN published nine of the Chandler titles plus he also wrote a foreword to ‘Bang to Rights’ by Frank Norman.

While looking into Chandler’s background I found it interesting in that there was the possibility of a couple of links between Chandler and Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books. Chandler came over from the States and worked on the Daily Express newspaper in 1911 and again after the war in 1920 albeit for a week! This was the time (1909/29) the Express was edited by another American, Ralph Blumenfeld, whose daughter Josephine married Bott.RAFChandler was also training in the RFC/RAF  but didn’t finish before the war ended. Here he is in his RAF uniform but as can be seen he has not got his wings. Alan Bott was also in the fledgling RFC/RAF and was awarded the Military Cross and Bar.

HERE is a page showing the PAN photo covers with assorted credits plus the three collections of his work. The collections have covers by Nancy Slonims who I’ve emailed so hopefully a reply soon. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Middlesex University.NSlonims_main_staff[1]
Just had a message from eBay asking if I was still interested in 9 Penguin Chandler titles so I had a look but noticed 8 were Penguin and 1 was PAN. I didn’t feel the need to buy them but I have grabbed the photo to compare cover styles. You can see it HERE

Tailpiece. Just had an email from eBay telling me that there has been a reduction on ‘The Making of Doctor Who’ and I will now save £992.97 – not a bad discount plus free postage!Doc

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!)