PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

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 ….!

‘Ben-Hur’ and James Edwin McConnell

With the launch of the latest remake of ‘Ben-Hur’ I looked along the shelf to find my copies of  X32 ‘Ben-Hur’ by Lew Wallace. I have the first printing from 1959 and the 6th printing from 1962 which seem almost identical apart from the adverts in the back although I’m sure I read somewhere there were other differences?

The cover is by James E McConnell. The signature has only been half trimmed off on the 1959 edition but almost all on the later. It looks like he signed ‘Jas’
not ‘James’

jmHe was the son of Thomas McConnell and Margaret Loadman and was born in Bedlington, Northumberland on 15th July 1903. He married Adelaide Godfrey Bambridge in December 1933 and they lived at ‘Katina;, Nork Hill, Reigate Road, Epsom. Adelaide died in 1946 and he then married Rosina Lince in Tadworth on 27th September 1947. McConnell died at ‘Low Barbary’, Amberley Lane, Milford, Surrey on 4th May 1995. He left £155,004


The MGM movie from 1959 was to the fourth adaptation of the book by General Lew Wallace following on from the 1899 play by Klaw and Erlanger which ran for twenty years.

Then came the 1907 and 1925 silent screen versions. Only time will tell if the 2016 edition will be as well remembered?

Three more example of the many covers by McConnell for PAN are ‘Guns Up’, ‘The Foundling’ and my favourite ‘Riot’

Disappointed in Dublin plus a couple of updates.

Having just got back from a couple of weeks in Ireland I was pleased to find the two scheduled blogs had launched on the right day. We had a great time travelling round in our camper and were very pleasantly surprised nearly every day when the dismal weather forecasts turned out to be wrong!

On the penultimate day we were staying at Rathdrum and my wife wanted to go into the capital and the station on the Rosslaire to Dublin line was only ten minutes walk away. As it was nearly thirty years since we last went I agreed. There was no intention to visit bookshops but if we just happened to see one it would be rude not to call in wouldn’t it? The reason I say I was disappointed in Dublin (not with Dublin) is that we came across four second hand book shops and only one, the’Secret’ one, had any 50/60’s PANs (I found three) On the plus side the gentleman in the ‘Book Exchange’ in Talbot Street was actually interested in PAN’s and I gave him my website address so if your reading this “Hi”


I was going to include ‘Ben-Hur’ this week as a film tie-in to the remake (sounds like another flop) but having run out of time it will be next week. The two updates are for covers I couldn’t find recently ‘Emma in Love’ by Honor Arundel from 1973 and ‘Whirlpool’ by Colin Forbes from 1991

Honor Arundel, Mary Dinsdale and Carol(ine) Binch


GeneralHonor Moryfdd Arundel (pictured left above) was a Welsh communist who wrote poetry and children’s books. She was born in October 1919 and wrote over nine stories for children, three of which were published by PAN under the Piccolo inprint. Arundel married the actor Alex McCridle who was a regular television character actor and later appeared in the first `Star Wars’ film in 1977 as General Jan Dodonna, leader of the Rebel Alliance. Honor died in June 1973.

It was while scanning in the covers of the three ‘Emma’ titles I noticed PAN had slipped up. PAN often used the same text pages but changed the covers over the years. The titles printed in 1972 all say the covers are by Mary Dinsdale (pictured centre above) The reprints from 1988 all say ‘Covers by Carol Binch’ (picture right above) on the back cover but ‘Emma’s Island’ still says ‘Cover by Mary Dinsadle’ inside as well!

I emailed Carol as she kindly replied when I mentioned her before but not heard anything back as yet.

A Couple of Proof Copies and a Piccolo Cover

I seem to have a hectic couple of weeks coming up so slightly more rushed blogs than usual (you hadn’t noticed I hear you say?)

For some reason or other, for someone who always says he does judge a book by its cover, I also like proof copies and as I’ve a couple on the desk before me I’ve scanned them in. The first is the 1971 proof copy of How To Play A Good Game Of Bridge” complete with coffee mug ring and the second “Whirlpool” by Colin Forbes from 1991. I’m not sure the cover I’ve included for the latter is the 1991 edition as I can’t find my copy to double check. I do like the messages on these copies saying ‘…. not for sale’ etc. I’ve scanned them in scale to show the relative size difference.

I’ve just got a copy of the 1984 edition of ‘The Piccolo Bumper Crossword Book 1’ to add to the other firsts. While trying to find a first I kept coming across the 1994 edition and now I realise this is yet another page where I need to rescan all the covers again at a large size. PS Anyone got numbers 11 or 12 which are included in compilation book 3?

……… and finally I’ve just spotted this on a news page. It’s intended to cash in on the Pokémon GO craze but reminded me more of Geocaching which seems to have gone off the radar. “Aveline Gregoire set up a Facebook group a few weeks ago, called Chasseurs de Livres (“Book hunters”). Members post photos and hints about where they’ve hidden a book, so others can look for them. Once you find and finish reading the book you’ve found, you can “release” it back into the wild for other players to stumble upon” Why was my first thought that it was a way of getting rid of those books neither I nor charity shops want but I can’t actually bring myself to throw them away!

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!