PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

Terry Oakes – Briefly!

Very recently I managed to pick up some original artwork by Terry Oakes and I am putting together a page of some of his paintings for PAN/Piccolo. Terry now likes to stay out of the limelight and declined my request for a photo of him with the artwork but he did mention the photo below was on a website where it also had a brief biography.terry-oakes1Terry was born – and still lives – in Merthyr Tydfil, a relatively small post- industrial town in South Wales. Naively deciding that his love of drawing could help him escape from a factory job, and driven by a love of Horror and Fantasy, he executed a series of sketches and paintings and sent photographs of them to various publishers.

A kind art editor at Sphere Books got him in touch with the late John Spencer, who had just founded an artists’ agency called ‘Young Artists’


From back cover of ‘La Derniere Syllabe Du Temps’

He saw potential in Terry’s work, and eventually got him commissions – which in time were sufficient in number for Terry to become a full time freelance illustrator. “From then on it was like a dream come true: to step inside bookshops and see my stuff on the shelves alongside the likes of Jim (Burns), Les (Edwards), and the inimitable Frank Frazetta – and to get paid, too! was as satisfying and self-affirming as anything that had happened in my life.”

Well-known in the 1980s for his SF/F, and “grand guignol” gothic horror illustrations and covers for Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone “Fighting Fantasy” gamebooks, “classic” British horror covers for books by Guy N. Smith, Richard Laymon, and many others, plus SF for major authors. Others from the ‘Young Artist’s’ agency, in the late 1970s,  were Jim Burns, Chris Foss, Bob Fowke, Angus McKie, and many others.

If all had gone according to plan I am currently in Berlin and hopefully this blog had launched itself. I’ll add the artwork next time.

In the meantime here are two books with the same Terry Oakes cover, I don’t have the artwork for this but it’s interesting that they are different titles but Terry is only credited on the French one (see above)

With two of the book covers I managed to get two back covers with vignettes but only one set is a matching pair. If anyone wants to guess the book titles they are very welcome but I show them all next week.



Paul Simmons

Slightly shorter blog than usual as my son is getting married soon and we’ve spent the last few days moving ‘stuff’ from here in the Midlands down to Kent where he’ll be living. We are sharing the driving using different routes for variety as the joys of the M6, M1, M42, M40, M25, M26 and M20 are now beginning to pall!


paulOn the plus side Paul Simmons very kindly got back to me with a couple of photos of the artwork I featured last week. I’ve added the picture of him with the covers to the existing page. Click HERE to see it.

Paul also took the trouble to emailed some more information on the SAS covers and replied to my first comment about did he get paid twice when Severn House used them?

I do not remember seeing the Severn House publication of ‘Mailed Fist’ or whether I ever received any payment I’m afraid. It’s disappeared into the mists of time now.

I’ve retrieved the artwork I have from my archive (aka attic) and have the originals of 5 out of 7 SAS covers and also ‘End Quiet War’ and ‘The White War’. Thinking back I remember only 7, the last being ‘Borneo Story’. The missing artworks are ‘Mailed Fist’ and ‘Marching Fire’ – I gave both those away to a couple of guys who had posed for all the reference – they were ex-military (one had also done a tour with the SAS) and supplied all the uniforms, kit and guns which were still legal to own in the 80’s). The SAS guy emigrated in the late 80’s when the ban on handguns and semi-automatic full-bore weapons was introduced after Dun Blane – he was running a combat firearms school in Phoenix, Arizona when I last heard from him. The artworks are all painted in oils on board or on canvas boards I made myself so have not deteriorated at all.

Severn House doesn’t credit Paul for the covers but does say ‘With acknowledgements to PAN Books Ltd.

Off to Berlin next Saturday for the week to see if they have an English Christmas Market so not sure if there will be a blog next Monday?

An offer ‘to good to miss?’ plus the SAS

Just received this tempting offer from -ING Creatives where my genius has been recognised at last (or is it really me plus several million others?)

Hi Tim,
I noticed you’re a creative like us and like what you’re creating.
We are wondering if you’d like to join our -ING Community in Dubai and be at our Creative Festival happening April 2017.

Apparently I can get a –

– Flight return to Dubai | Valued $1000 USD
– 3 night stay at a 5 star Hotel | Valued $900 USD
– Exhibition Space in our Creative Market to sell your works | Valued $3000 USD
– Half Page Spread in the Creative Festival Guidebook | Valued $650USD

Too good to miss or too good to be true?


Just idly rearranging books on a shelf yet again when I found I’d got seven titles in ‘The Fighting Saga of the SAS’ series by James Albany with covers by Paul Simmons. I contacted Paul by email to ask about them and he kindly replied;

Hi Tim
Guilty as charged.
I did these (and many others) during my early career after graduating from St Martins School of Art. I was very fortunate that I was able to go straight into freelancing, working for a large number of publishers during the late 1970’s and early 80’s including Pan, Hodder and Stoughton, Corgi etc.
I had done a few covers for Gary Day Ellison at Pan including ‘End Quiet War’ and ‘The White War’ when the Iranian Embassy Seige happened and the SAS were suddenly catapulted into the limelight – this series of books was obviously to take advantage of that. There were about ten in the series. I still have some of the original covers that I will try and find to scan and send to you.
I still also have some of the original artwork – three of the ones you have sent and two others. Also ‘End Quiet War’ and “The White War”. I’ll get them out as they are in storage in the attic and do some pics for you – also try and remember a few details.
Regards, Paul

Hopefully I’ll have more information to include in a future blog.

Finally I’m really excited to be in contact with Gordon who was actually one of the crew of the boat the ‘Lalun’ which PAN used to ship books from France to the UK from 1947 . He has lot of photos which his Granddaughter’s partner, Jake,  is kindly scanning in for me.

Arthur J La Bern

Following on from a blog of a couple of weeks ago where the title of a book changed completely when made into a film, here is another by Arthur La Bern.

3267931Arthur Labern was born in 1909 in Islington.He was  a crime reporter and correspondent for the ‘Evening Standard’ during World War 2. “It Always Rains On Sunday” (1945) was his first novel. By then he had changed his name from Labern to La Bern and was claiming Huguenot ancestry, but there is no evidence to support the claim. More novels followed including ‘Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square’ adapted for the screen and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was renamed ‘Frenzy’ but La Bern was unimpressed with the result. He died in 1990.

I seem to have had a few strange coincidences since the Book Fair last week in that Arthur La Bern lived off Russell Square and we’ve just finished re-watching the excellent TV series ‘Black Books’ which used the premises of Collinge & Clark for the outside shots,again very close to Russell Square. If I had done my homework I could have visited both sites, maybe next year?black_booksgroup_77951
A third coincidence was me scanning in the cover of the La Bern book ‘Hallelujah!’ while hearing on the radio of the death of Leonard Cohen.

censusFootnote: Still trying to find out where the ‘J’ in La Bern’s name came from as it’s not there on the census records of 1911. Was it added when Labern became La Bern?

The Paperback and Pulp Book Fair 2016

While down in London for the Fair I was pleased to see last weeks blog published itself on time, pity there were two spelling mistakes and the link disappeared. I tried to fix it using my phone but never managed to get it to save updates but all fixed now.


Having accommodation just around the corner meant we arrived just after 9:30 to find things already well underway. Now wishing I hadn’t come down on the train with a backpack as it meant I was a bit restricted as to what I could carry back.

It was good to meet up again with some old friends and put faces to others where we’ve only emailed.

The best purchase was a crown (examples were on the website courtesy of Jules Burt) but now I have one of my own plus a contact who has other PAN bits and pieces. Here it is shown on the top of the book by an author I’m featuring next week.crown1

I did actually buy a book to read, well there has to be a first for everything, namely ‘Softly Softly’ which has a picture of Frank Windsor on the cover. In fact Frank was born Frank Higgins, a local lad from round here.softlyAlso on at the same time was an Ephemera Fair and in a moment of generosity I bought my wife something which meant I’d spent more on her than on me! It was three printers plates for a Donald McGill postcard but it turns out we only had the red and blue plates, the yellow was for a different card altogether.postcard

“The Sterile Cuckoo’ or ‘Pookie’

I hope this blog appears as I’m actually still in London after the Paperback and Pulp Book Fair yesterday and have scheduled it to publish today. I’ll report back on the fair next week.

X692 published by PAN in 1967 was ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ by John Nichols made into a film in 1970. In the US the film was still called ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ but in the UK in was renamed ‘Pookie’ after the main character Pookie Adams. PAN republished it as ‘Pookie’ as a film tie-in with Liza Minnelli as Pookie on the cover.tsc6

HERE is a page showing both covers plus a few related bits and pieces mostly using the same photo as on the book. The theme music was ‘Come Saturday Morning’ which was a hit for the Sandpipers.

Irish writer Maurice Walsh plus ‘The Doctor’ and a reminder.

blackrockWhile in Ireland last month I intended to visit the birth place of Maurice Walsh who had books published by PAN in the early 70’s Unfortunately Lissleton turned out to be further off our route than I thought so I didn’t get to see the two memorial stones in the area. I wish I’d done a little more research before we left as we actually stopped off in the town where he died, without knowing it. This was Blackrock near Dublin where we found we were too early for the ferry and as it had a nice park next to the sea it was a pleasant place to while away an hour or two. The picture shows the Blackrock Dolman.

Maurice Walsh (21/4/1879 to 18/02/1964) wrote twenty books of stories of which probably the most well know is ‘The Quiet Man’ originally published in ‘The Saturday Post’ (1933) and later included in the book of short stories ‘Green Rushes’ The John Ford film was released in 1952 and stared John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

So far I’ve not been able to find the artists for the covers of the four titles PAN published although I could make some guesses. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

Back at the end of August I mentioned meeting Colin Baker as Dr Who at the Ford Hi-Tech Challenge. I’ve not managed to find the programme yet but my wife managed to find my invitation which Colin signed.who1

…. and finally if you are in Central London next Sunday …… I may see you there?14671105_10154207962664086_2014749659674116343_n1

“To boldly go” along the Wolds Way

ywwWe’ve just done our annual stretch of the Yorkshire Wolds Way. This makes it two thirds completed over four years so just two more years to go! These things can’t be rushed (literally) hence a brief blog this week.

I mentioned Star Wars last week and here are four titles including a couple from Boxtree, PAN’s imprint which specializes in film and TV tie-ins, illustrated books and humour.

I’ve also just got a stock sheet for September 1969 which I’m perusing carefully and have already found at least one title I hadn’t got. If I can scan it in chunks and join it together I’ll add it to the site.


State of the Art Computing and Beyond!

mecompHere I am hard at work writing the latest blog. As you can see I’ve moved on from my Sinclair ZX80 and now use the ZX81. I still have my heart set on a ZX Spectrum but one can only dream! Luckily PAN was there to help me with a range of books but mainly for the Spectrum.spectrumI do have a Spectrum somewhere and also a Z88 which has never been out of its box. Many years ago secondary schools were each given ten Z88s as part of the TVEI scheme but the majority went to the back of a cupboard and stayed there. I called in to one school a few years later to find them putting their ten, in unopened boxes, in a skip. I was offered the lot but looking on eBay I could have bought two for £1.50 I just took one but as this has nothing to do with PAN I’ll get back to mentioning their books ‘Sixty Programs for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum’, ‘The Spectrum Peripherals Guide’, Test Your Computer IQ’ and ‘PAN Study Aids Computer Studies’ I’ve also included a few from the net.


This last week it has been all go around here with the
Conservative Conference at the ICC in Birminghamconserv and the Star Trek Convention at the NEC, Birminghamstcon

Both have an ‘out of this world’ take on life and I though it was unusual that PAN didn’t have some connection with either but on checking I find I was wrong. PAN produced several Star Trek related titles including ‘Prime Directive’ which has on the spine another version of the PAN logo this time for Sciience Fiction. I’ve still not found the page on a website which featured all the variations, should have bookmarked it! Some PAN ST covers next week.


Gladys Aylward and a couple of PAN/Ballantines

burtGladys Aylward is probably best known for her work in China through the book ‘The Small’ Woman’ by Alan Burgess. It was filmed in 1958 as the ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’ starring Ingrid Bergman as Aylward. It also featured a very young 28 year old  Burt Kwouk as Li and most of the filming was done near Bedgellert in North Wales where in 2004 Kwouk returned to unveil what was the first of many plaques for the ‘North Wales Film and Television Trail’ PAN also published ‘A London Sparrow’ by Phyllis Thompson in 1972 jointly with Word Books.

Just sorting out titles jointly published by PAN and Ballantine (I’m not including the 130 war books possibly published by them in the 70’s) and today I’m including a couple from 1973 in the ‘Deryni’ trilogy with covers by Bob Pepper. For some reason or other the last volume ‘High Deryni’ was only published by Ballantine in 1976.


…… and finally, over the years, I’ve been looking for a couple of ‘Modesty Blaise’ tiles from 1979/80 which never seem to come up until last week when they both appeared at a price I was happy to pay. I’ve added them to the page but again it’s another that needs all the cover rescanning at a larger size – one day ….!