PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

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.

Leslie Thomas covers by Paul Davies

DaviesNo luck contacting Paul Davies yet but click HERE if you want to see the 12 covers I found so far that he did for Leslie Thomas titles in 1979. Were there editions in the same style for ‘Stand Up Virgin Soldiers’, Arthur McCann and All His Women’ and ‘This Time Next Week’? After mentioning ‘Tropic of Ruislip’ which became the TV programme ‘Tropic’ that proved to be a bit of a failure I didn’t realise there was also a TV series called ‘The Last Detective’ based on the ‘Dangerous Davies’ book. It was certainly more successful than ‘Tropic’ running for 17 episodes in 4 series’ from 2003 to 2007. The only reason I found it was while looking for something better to watch that ‘Eurovision’ I came across ‘The Last Detective’ being rerun on the ‘DRAMA’ channel. I watch a bit but ended up switching back to ‘Eurovision’ but not sure why as that’s nearly four hours of my life I’ll never get back!

Still hunting down the last couple of Jack Higgins covers and managed to find ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ but it could be yet another variation as I though the edition I wanted  would be 1991 while this one was 1985. Just ‘Storm Warning’ from around 1990 to go possibly!

STOP PRESS: Just found a site that might be for Paul Davies. Here is a drawing from his website of his idea of a Book Shop Owner which is very much like the PAN covers in style.BookShopOwner

Big Screen, Little Screen

StickerI recently picked up a copy of the film tie-in edition of ‘The Dark of the Sun’ by Wilbur Smith because it had on its cover a sticker to promote the film. What I am left wondering about is why the title was changed for the UK ? The word ‘The’ was dropped from the US version but changed completely to ‘The Mercenaries’ over here. The same artwork by Frank McCarthy was used for both versions of the poster.

It was while I was sorting out my Leslie Thomas titles with covers by artist Paul Davies (are you out there Paul as I’ve not tracked you down yet?) that I noticed one of the other editions mentioned that ‘Tropic of Ruislip’ was quote “Now a hilarious ATV network series” which of course needed checking out. Apparently it was a complete flop and luckily the ATV network had a strike at the same time in 1979 and the series just slipped away into oblivion.

The Paul Davies series of Leslie Thomas covers will appear next week or as many as I’ve managed to find so far.

Spent last Saturday at Waddesdon Manor, a completely over the top ‘chateaux’ built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as a weekend retreat but really disappointed as not a PAN book in sight to add to my ‘As seen in National Trust properties’ page. Not even a second-hand book shop!

To finish here is a photo of Leslie Thomas taken in Edinburgh in February 1971 where he is shown with three of his titles in PAN editions namely ‘Some Lovely Islands’, ‘The Love Beach’ and The Virgin Soldiers’Edinburgh 2nd February 1971

A trip to Birmingham plus a few other things.

Back to BacksWe have just come back from spending a few days being tourists in Birmingham. Although almost on our doorstep we’ve never really appreciated how much it has to offer. We stayed in one of the last remaining examples of ‘Back to Backs’ in the country, not one open to the public I hasten to add. It was a three storey Victorian ‘cottage’ (the middle block on the right in the photo above) It made us appreciate how hard life was for them back then, the Wi-Fi was so slow, awful TV signal and the en-suite was really tiny but on the plus side it was in the Chinese quarter so great choice of restaurants and The Hippodrome theatre was literally across the road so we went to see ‘Let It Be’ a tribute to the Beatles. We went on a tour of the other houses open to visitors and was pleased to see in the tailors shop a PAN title and so have been able to add to my pages of ‘PAN as seen in a National Trust property’


SmallBloodA few books arrived while we were away including a copy of ‘The Fortunes of Captain Blood which I had felt sorry for as it got relisted so many times on eBay I thought I’d put it out of its misery BUT on closer inspection I noticed it was the first copy of this title I’ve seen that had been trimmed in such a way as to actually show half of the name of the cover artist. I already knew who the artist was as I have the original artwork plus another in the series both clearly signed.


Eye3Still helping Colin Larkin track down his unknown covers both for title and artist and managed to find them for ‘Where Time Winds Blow’ by Robert Holdstock.with a cover by Michael van Houten. Michael emailed “It is indeed one of mine. One of the very earliest covers I made. I’d forgotten about it in fact, though I remember creating the weathered surface was the most enjoyable aspect, I think I’ve still got it buried in my studio somewhere”

…. and finally I managed to pick up a copy of Exocet’ by Jack Higgins from 1993. The scan I had on the page was from the tiny thumbnails found inside the cover of another title so I wasn’t sure it actually existed. Only ‘Storm Warning’ and ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ from the same date to find now.

Bits and Pieces.

Recently I was lucky enough to be offered some PAN advertising material including 4 copies of the hard to find PAN Record, numbers 29 to 32, and some order sheets. I’ll put them on the site over the coming weeks, here is the first one. I’d love to get my hands on the ‘Goldfinger’ display box.GoldfingerDisplay

I’ve also added another screen capture to the ‘As Seen on TV’ pages and again it’s from an antiques programme namely ‘Bargain Hunt’ where there was a row of Fleming titles under a table they were looking at.


532-unknown.jpgThis weeks mystery cover looks really familiar but I just can’t bring it mind so any one recognise it?400….. and finally I was at little premature with my mention of Shakespeare covers a few weeks ago. I should have looked organised and tied them in with the commemoration of the 400 years of his death last Saturday 23rd April.

The JALNA Series by Mazo de la Roche

JalnalogoFor a long time I’ve been trying to track down all the different editions/covers for the sixteen titles in the ‘JALNA’ series but I had let it slip a little. It was a letter from fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch which including a wonderfully put together series of scans of his copy  of ‘Young Renny’ which he says “was a bit of a b* to stick together” that made me look at them again. Now I don’t normally approve of writing in books but this looks like a labour of love by the owner Margarita Norah N Purcell who appears to have been born on Christmas Day in 1906 and died in Camden in 1981. I’m wondering if she did this with all her books? She could possibly be one of the earliest PAN Fans detailing the dates and numbers etc. What a strange thing to want to do!

HERE is a page of large thumbnails of all the PAN ‘Jalna’ covers I’ve found up to now. Some are ‘gifs’ and cycle through the different editions and eventually there will be a page for each title showing all the covers in a larger size with their variations. I am also trying to track down more artists especially for the 1965 edition of ‘Variable Winds at Jalna’ as I have the original artwork. I’ve left a blank where I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a cover due to date etc. and a message if there could have been one. I would love to get hold of the 1978 edition of ‘Variable Winds at Jalna’ as the one shown was this size at the only place I found it, namely eBay. There is no way I can enlarge this and unfortunately I missed the book which was in Ireland and more annoyingly didn’t sell. If you are out there please relist it.

While helping Colin Larkin sort out some of his covers I did find a couple of interesting things on the early editions of ‘Whiteoaks’ It was while trying to find the cover artists I noticed on the 1959 edition it clearly says Hans Helweg on the tree trunk on the right but on the 1960 it has been disguised although you can still read it if you look very carefully, What I hadn’t noticed until Colin pointed it out was that the lady had become more modest! Probably fed up with the man looking down her top!