PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

Birthday Treat

As it was my birthday last Friday and a hotel chain was doing a “too good to miss” offer for the weekend we decided to be tourists in Birmingham even though it is only 10 miles away. The hotel couldn’t have been better placed, right in the city centre and we had a list of things to see with top of the list being the new Library of Birmingham, just a 10 minute walk away. On the way to visit the Sea Life Centre we watched a barge breaking the ice and which coincidently was named “Aquarius” my star sign. Then to the new library followed by a visit to the Willard Wigan amazing miniatures exhibition on the 3rd floor and we were lucky enough to meet him and shake his hand. I didn’t realise he comes from a couple of miles away from where we live. At the library I was really impressed to see that they had kept the Shakespeare Memorial Room from 1882 and rebuilt it in the rotunda on the 9th floor. We finished the day seeing the new exhibition at the museum displaying “The Staffordshire Hoard” where we stayed so long we actually got locked in! Finally had a brush with the law as met up with our daughter, a police officer, who was on duty in the city centre that evening. She looks too small to be driving a large police car but it was a brief meet as a call came in, the blue lights came on ……. and off she went.

The only real second hand book shop in the city centre Readers World (video shows shop eventually) was closed when we got there as we’d left it a bit late but as I’d been there recently I wasn’t too bothered. Back to books proper next week.

Cover Designs


Peter (07/71) and Ian (08/64) Fleming

I’ve often mentioned how unattractive I find some titles as I do judge a book by its cover. It was while sorting the 1974/75 titles in the ‘Grand Strategy’ series I found what an amalgam of different image sources had been used although not altogether unpleasing. I then looked at some of the later reprints and realised it was all down hill from then on. I have picked one title ‘Operation Sea Lion’ by Peter Fleming, Ian’s brother as I’m sure everyone knows, and scanned three versions from 1975, 1984 and 2003 as below. Peter often described himself as “a kind of uncle of James Bond’s”

……………. and in spite of me being determined not to I have added to Barbara Cortland’s covers page making the number now 102!

Just noticed that Rod Tayler died on January 7th and although he appeared in many films I always think of him in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier and the PAN Book cover by George Sharp from 1977.


“So Long and Thanks For All the Fish” Promo Material etc

Peter Tiejten (whom I’ve mentioned before and worked with Ken Hatherley in the Art Studios at PAN in the 70’s) was responsible for book promotions. I have several photos of  bits and pieces used to promote the 4th book in the ‘HHG’ series “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ HH5Peter writes “Douglas Adams always caused the cover and promotion departments loads of problems because of his late delivery of manuscripts. Usually the cover and display material had been completed before Douglas had finished writing the book – which meant anything went. “So long, and thanks for all the fish” called for a stuffed bird in a display case on the front of the brochure (obviously!) and inside, another picture showed the plug having been inserted in a socket; the bird had disappeared from the perch and all that remained were a few feathers! Each display bin was sent out with “a fistful of feathers” along with the books. Douglas was a lovely chap who very kindly signed a copy of “So Long…” for me BEFORE it had been printed. How? He signed a blank dummy book – which I still treasure!!! ”

I’ve put a few more of the photos on this page

Gary Day-Ellison, PAN Design and Art  Director (1977 to 1988) at the time said “Now, this is what I mean by massively late. Sales needed a cover to rack up the orders. I had to deliver the design for the hardback jacket before Douglas produced the book. I made him promise to tell me what he had in mind. On his way out of the Fulham Road offices he stuck his head round my office door to brief me. He said, “It’s called ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’. And left.I sat, lost for words. A few minutes passed and his head re-appeared, “But there are no fish in it.“, he declared – and fled. This left me license to match enigma with enigma. And when the penny eventually dropped, it landed in a pint of Guinness and produced a ‘lenticular print‘. I found one of a walrus that morphed into a dinosaur, originally produced as a give-away for a cereal packet. Douglas Adams wrote in my copy ‘The silliest jacket in the history of history itself'”


Click on walrus to see it morph.

Which Anniversary Year?

I think 2015 should be the year PAN celebrates 70 years but they probably won’t until 2017. PAN was registered as a limited company on the 1st September 1944 and their first title ‘Tales Of The Supernatural’ was published in 1945 hence 70 years this year. For some reason or other PAN decided that ‘Ten Stories’ from 1947 was their first title (well it is numbered 1) but their CEO up to September 2007 Richard Charkin, on his blog, agreed with me. I’m too modest to also mention the several glowing reference he gave to my website such as “Anyone who is the least bit interested in the history of publishing will enjoy Tim’s brilliant ‘First 25 years of Pan Books’ website. In particular, the covers are sensational, the site has scores – all evocative”superA couple of PAN related ‘projects’ I have in hand include a visit to the ‘British Museum’ to actually see the original bronze on which the ‘Golden PAN’ award is modelled now it’s back from it’s world travel’s and not normally on display. The other is updating the pages on the founder of PAN Books, Alan Bott. I have a family photo album that belonged to his son, Simon, (kindly lent to me by his son, Adrian) and I will include a lot of these soon. Here is a sample one of A J Bott with A S Frene(?) in front of a Desoutter Sports Coupe from 1929Alan John BottFinally I have a small pile of 6 Barbara Cartland titles to add to her page which will bring the total shown up to 100, definitely going to stop there!

Happy New Year 2015

Happy hunting for all those elusive titles and I know it’s going to be the year I get that last title on my list X705 – or maybe not.

Just getting ready to hang up this years calendar and to all those who wanted one, sorry they’ve all gone, which is not surprising as there is only ever one. Last year it was a selection of Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer covers and this year features the Shute covers of George Sharp. Unfortunately PAN did not foresee that I would make a calendar and only published 22 titles which messed up my two covers a month. I’ve had to pad out December with a couple of other examples of George’s work.

Here’s to the next 52 blogs for 2015 which will be another eclectic mix of topics but all vaguely PAN related including, hopefully, something for everyone.

UPDATE Having added a screen shot to the ‘As Seen on TV’ section last week, the first for ages, just like buses another comes along. It’s one for the eagle eyed from the antiques programme ‘Bargain Hunt’

Happy Christmas 2014

KingsWith Christmas upon us this week I thought I would mention ‘The Christmas Book’ edited by David Larkin and published in 1975. It is called “a graphic celebration” but is really just a collection of 40 Christmas themed pictures by different artists ranging from Arthur Rackham, through Norman Rockwell to Anne Mandeville.

I have also managed to add screen captures to the list of As Seen on Television in the Miscellany section, something I’ve not done for a while. It was an edition of ‘Flog It’ and they auctioning a model of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but it also included a copy of the PAN title from 1968 for which John Burke got paid the princely sum of £875 outright.. When they were talking about the book the couple who brought it in expressed surprise when told the original story was by Ian Fleming in spite of it quite clearly stating this on the cover! I was hoping to include a clip but BBC IPlayer has just changed the format and it will only play through their viewer but I like a challenge ….

15th Birthday, Jack Hayes and Barbara Cartland

We’re raising the flag to celebrate
the fact that
will be 15 years old tomorrow.


By Hayes, not for PAN but Hamlyn. the cover of ‘Flags’

Hanging on my wall for many years have been a couple of original covers by Jack Hayes, fortunately both signed, of two titles from the ‘Captain Blood’ series by Rafael Sabatini. This made me look to see how many other covers he painted for PAN and with the two already mentioned I make it seven.
One thing I have not managed to find out is any real details of his life, DoB, death etc. so if anyone can help?

Having succumbed to a mad ‘bulk buy’ of Barbara Cartland titles I am now up to 94, all scanned and bookmarked on the site but never again! I may see if I can find a few more to get to 100 but I don’t think I’m inclined to be a completest this time even if it meant I could find out if “A Kiss From A Stranger” was the only one with the PAN logo bottom right instead of top left like all the others so far!
NB With so many images on one page it does take a while to load!

‘The Best Of American Crime Fiction’ Series

hANDCUFFSFollowing on from my reference in the last blog to Hillary Waugh, who coincidently died on this day in 2008, I began to look out the covers with the same style as ‘Last Seen Wearing’ thinking there were probably only half a dozen but I eventually found 20. This may not be all as I found them by guess work and looking along the shelves. There may be some as variants on other covers than I’ve not discovered yet.  They are all labelled ‘The Best Of American Crime Fiction’ and have the stylised ‘handcuffs’ with a graphic in the middle. I’ve not found any with an artists name and look as though they were done by two or three different hands. I’ve put them all together on one page as several people have mentioned they like to see them like this rather than one at a time. As usual I look forward to hearing from anyone who can add to the list or help with artists.

Last Seen Wearing ……

Having returned late last night from a long but very cheap coach trip weekend away in Belgium (made even longer by 2 people having out of date passports only discovered on returning to the UK which now means the driver’s passport gets confiscated until sorted so we couldn’t leave them behind even though most people wanted to!) I realised I’d forgotten this weeks blog so bit shorter than usual. On the plus side we did get to see(?) the De Panne 19th Endurance cycle race on the beach in thick fog. It also had a second hand bookshop and I was pleasantly surprised to find four in Rochester when we called in for a couple of hours on the way down to Folkstone. Unfortunately couldn’t find anything I wanted to buy at a price I was willing to pay!

Last week I was moving books around and picked up a copy of “Last Seen Wearing” by Hillary Waugh and happened to glance at the back where there is a supposed memo to PAN from P.C. After racking my brains I came up with Peter Cheyney as fitting all the criteria and so contacted Adrian at his excellent Peter Cheyney site to see if he agreed. It was then that Adrian pointed out that Cheyney died in 1951 and the book was from 1960, maybe it just takes PAN along time to make decisions – nine years?

I cannot discover who the artists were for either of the variations of cover but the 64/66 variation is in a series and I have a scan of the original artwork for ‘The Neon Jungle’ but is listed as artist unknown. I presume the same artist did all of these so will check on the others.Neon Jungle X446This has inspired me to look at more back covers, something which is on my to do list plus scanning them and getting them on the site along with larger rescans of all the titles.

Douglas Adams Boxed Set

Just acquired an unread boxed set of the five titles in the ‘Hitch Hikers Guide’ trilogy which have facsimiles of the original covers. These were published in 2002 by TOR Books which is the science fiction/fantasy imprint of PAN Books. They have used the 79, 80, 82, 84 and 92 covers but as someone put on Amazon in their review “Bought this as a gift for someone. They were desperately disappointed, with the paperback cover images. They are so obviously a fake. It looks as if the person who created the cover images could not be bothered to do a decent job in scanning the original paperback covers. However, the content of the books. Brilliant. But why would you wish to buy a box set of the original paperback editions? To have the originals, or a very good copy of them. And this is a very poor copy of them” with which I have to agree.

They are all labelled ‘Commemorative Edition” which I took to mean commemorating a year since his passing but on checking it is actually 11 months! Any other suggestions?

DouglasAdamsGoldenPanDouglas Adams received ‘Golden PAN’ awards for the first three HHG titles.