PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

A Couple of Celebrations.

Missed it again, this websites birthday on the 16th so belated greetings for its coming of age – 18 years and still going strong.
Here’s to many more blogs and postings and hopefully comments from anyone reading them.

With Christmas coming up I thought I’d share a piece of seasonal artwork by PAN cover stalwart Glenn Steward I bought off eBay for peanuts, I think it cost me more in postage than I paid for the artwork itself. He painted it as an idea for his personal card for 1995. I like Glenn’s work and have a few examples including the perennial favourite ‘The PAN Book of Card Games’ used for thirty years over several editions. I also have the front and back covers of ‘That Magnificent Air Race’ and the ‘Hanging Hitchcock’ which my wife hates (I really must update a couple of those pages)

Although not that much is know about Steward he was a very keen cyclist and was art editor for ‘The Sporting Cyclist’ with a seasonal issue like this which doesn’t seem to contain any of his artwork so here are a couple of cyclist he painted for a greetings card.
… and finally I went out for a Christmas lunch for members of ‘The Friends of Pelsall Commons’ as my wife and I are ‘Wardens of the Little Commons’ which means we do grand things like litter picks. It was at lunchtime and half a bottle of wine was beginning to take its toll but at least I’m wearing my PAN top as they said wear something red and that was all I could find – honestly!

Thomas Forman, printers plus a couple of snippets.

Now I don’t know if I ever gave it much thought but I think I naively believed the covers for PAN books and the text blocks were done at the same printers but I now know that not to be the case. forman2So far I’ve only found one printers, namely Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd, who were a huge and long established printing concern in Nottingham until they went out of business in 2000. It was while looking at some images in the Thomas Forman archives I first spotted a familiar cover ‘The Striptease Murders’. I contacted the preservation society who kindly sent me the following email

Dear Tim.

Formans printed a number of book covers for Pan Books. We also hold printed samples of the following titles: Man Meets Dog – Konrad Z. Lorenz The Way Back – Vincent Brome Bony Buys A Woman – Arthur Upfield

Howard F. Parker (Secretary) Thos. Forman Preservation Society

I’ve put together a page HERE which gives a little of the history plus links to the newly scanned covers of the four mentioned titles. I’m taking the opportunity,when revisiting back pages, to put on larger scans. This is something I would like to do for all but it just takes time – and is mind blowingly boring!

I’ve also added a newspaper clipping from ‘The Valley Morning Star’ from 31st July 1976 which has a report of Ralph Vernon-Hunt presenting James Herriot with four Golden Pan Awards

Lastly but by no means least I’ve managed to get a first edition copy of Alan Bott’s  book ‘An Airman’s Outings’ This still has the very rare dustjacket and was published by William Blackwood and Son in Edinburgh in 1917. airmansoutings

Colin Larkin and his PAN Book Covers

ColinA  few weeks back it was my pleasure to visit Colin and his partner Jenny and to see for myself his fabulous collection of original artworks used for PAN covers. There are over 550 pieces and I was so mesmerised that after several hours I’d still only managed to look at a quarter of them. Another visit is required soon as Colin is hoping to sell the collection to someone in The States as they were always intended to be his pension pot. I was offered them but unfortunately their price is a little too high even if I was to half it when I’m telling my wife! Jackie came with me on this visit but found the pleasures of wandering around the local village more interesting than covers – can you believe that!

I’m sure Colin  won’t mind me saying he is probably best known for all the music related books he has written over the years which total nearly 60 titles including works for ‘Guinness’ and ‘Virgin’ He is the brother of David Larkin who was Art Director at PAN in the 70’s and 80’s and so when PAN were having a clear out, having failed to reunite a lot of the works with their artists, he was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. When Ken Hatherley thought PAN could sell them to raise money for charity rather than put then in a skip Colin offered a sum of money which was accepted and given to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

It was in 1991 that Colin found he had a serious family problem and would need to sell the artworks to raise money. As was widely reported at the time the Bonham’s auction was boycotted by disgruntled artists and so not as many works were sold as was anticipated.

I have a personal interest in the collection in that in 2004 fifty six works went missing and Colin asked me to keep a look out for them coming up for sale. I was able to tell him I had already been approach and had, not knowing they were stolen, expressed an interest in purchasing them if the price was right. After numerous emails the transaction just went dead at the sellers end so I was not left with the dilemma of whether or not I kept stolen goods! With my information Colin was able to identify the thief and a prosecution was due to take place in court. I had been interviewed by the police and was on standby to be a witness but it never got that far. Here are some more details still available on the BBC News website, I was apparently the ‘art dealer’ as mentioned in the penultimate paragraph. It never got as far as court as most of the works were recovered.

I was so overwhelmed by the collection I failed to take as many photos as I intended but HERE is a page with a selection.

There are still one or two ‘unknowns’ in the collection, not only for artist but also book title, so I’ll include one a week for the next few week.500-Ratoutou-_.JPG#0A9A

Carl Wilton etc.

Very little is known about Carl Wilton apart from the fact he was a prolific cover artist painting numerous covers for PAN amongst others in the early 1950’s. Searching on-line I found several references to a Carl Wilton living at 8a Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea in the mid 30’s (where Dylan Thomas lived during the war) This Carl Wilton appears to have moved in the late 40’s and early 50’s to 5c Chenil Studios, Kings Road, Chelsea. Click HERE to see the original artwork for 23 Wilton PAN titles.

The reason I mention Carl was that I have just picked up some original artwork by him from 1960 though not for PAN but Hodder and Stoughton. There is a link between these two companies because as from the 3rd May 1947 PAN had the financial backing and titles it needed to expand thanks to help from these three major publishers, Collins, Macmillan and Hodder & Stoughton. Shortly afterwards a fourth, William Heinemann, joined them. Hodder had been reluctant until Alan Bott finally persuaded Hodder & Stoughton’s Editorial Director Leonard Cutts to join and Ralph Hodder-Williams was nominated to the Pan Board.

If anyone can add any information about Carl Wilton a lot of people would be very pleased especially post 1957 when he seems to have disappeared, possibly died, but I can find no record of this event.

HaileyJust found the following cutting from the Sidney Morning Herald from July 21st 1976 mentioning the ‘Golden PAN Award’ set up in June 1964 by PAN Books for authors selling over a million copies of a title. I’m currently attempting to compile a list of all award winners with their book titles but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and consult PAN to see if they have a definitive list.

The main problem is that several other organisations also have awards with the same name for things like gold panning, food banks etc. plus there is also a Golden PEN Award for new writers but again used as a name by several organisations including the Nigerian Brewing Company.

I do have a standing invitation from The British Museum to let them know when I am next in London and able to visit as they will get the original Roman bronze, used by PAN as the basis for their award, out of storage in the Hamilton Collection.


Tailpiece – Just found that David Tayler has been deleted from Wikipedia. He was marked for this for some time and we tried to keep his page but it went yesterday. I’m left wondering why, when you see how many pages of dross are still on there! I’ll make a page for him on this site ASAP.

A Walk on the Wold Side + Two Mystery Artworks

Lovely weather for our third outing walking along the “Yorkshire Wolds Way” where we have actually reached and just passed the half way marker. At this rate it will be 2018 before we finish but might just decided to go all out and finish it next year.
Why is it that signs always seem to be pointing uphill?

I’ve added this photo of Gavin Rowe who did several Piccolo covers but we have no idea if the artwork he is holding was actually used in a book. We have the Facebook members of Jane Badger Books helping but no luck so far, any ideas?GavinRowe
… and as promised last week an unknown artwork which was a free gift from Eileen Strange last summer included when I bought several others off her. I’m  sure I’ve seen it before but it just won’t come to mind. Any one help?Mystery

Bookseller, New Scanner and Violette Szabo

As I’ve told my wife so many times I just can’t help buying books and now I’ve discovered why. It’s in the genes as both my Great Great Great Grandfather and Great Great Uncle (both named Charles Lowe) ran ‘The Great Book Mart’ in New Street Birmingham from around 1855 to 1903.Masthead I’m putting together pages with some of their bits and pieces like fliers and signed books they published plus miscellaneous newspaper cuttings. Unfortunately the firm came to a sudden end as shown below.GladstoneTrying to scan documents for the above has been proving difficult as I’ve only had an A4 scanner up to now. I set out this week just to buy an A3 scanner and ended up with an all singing, all dancing wireless scanner/printer/fax/phone with 3 media drawers etc. but it still won’t let me stack up a pile of books to automatically feed through and scan. Am I asking too much? I’m sure it must be possible which reminds me of my Sony C7 Betamax Recorder which had a Betastack. This allowed you to stack four tapes with either a different recording on each or twelve hours continuous recording apart from the two minute tape changeover when the most important bit of the film usually happened! This was almost completely mechanical and I was really pleased to find this site about it. I still have it all in the loft somewhere.

More original artwork scans next week when I have mastered the new scanning beast but in tribute to Violette Szabo G. C. whose medals were sold at auction this week I’ve rescanned G105 ‘Carve Her Name With Pride’ signed by the author R. J. Minney. Szabo

Sad News, Gumbles and Dust Jackets

Sadly my Father-in-Law died last week. Bob had been suffering for several months but passed away peacefully in his sleep. R.I.P.

I mentioned in the last blog the passing of Desmond Digby original illustrator of the “Gumbles” books and went to sort out my three titles I knew PAN published under the Piccolo imprint. I was surprised to find that I had forgotten one was a later edition after Piccolo changed to Young Piper and that the cover was actually by Sandy Nightingale. I’ve sent her an email and will keep fingers crossed for a reply. PAN only published three of the four titles written by Sidney Wakefield and didn’t include the “Gumbles in Trouble” or the omnibus edition.

I also spotted a variant of a dust jacket on Flickr. This time it was for “Flames Coming Out the Top” by Norman Collins, PAN number 74, and the challenge now is to find a copy. To see the others go HERE. You’ll notice that there are two variant dust jackets for PAN 90 “Action For Slander” as well which makes me wonder how many of the others had more than one?

Flames

Tenuous PAN Links in Croatia

Just returned from a couple of weeks in Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Montenegro and while I was there I was looking for PAN connections and offer these three very tenuous ones on this page. panbeerThe first is just because of the name while the other two have character links. I shall be sampling the beer very soon in my PAN glass given to me by the café owner in Lovran.
Croatia and especially Dubrovnik are really fantastic places to visit. We had an interesting day in Dubrovnik as they were filming “Game of Thrones” series 5. Everyone was trying to get a good look and being shouted at by security guards saying ‘No photos, no photos’  (Apparently we didn’t see the best bit as it was the day before when they filmed Cersei Lannister made to walked naked through the streets – ooops sorry – plot spoiler) The following day we went to Montenegro and so missed the four huge cruise ships disgorging their 10, 000 or so passengers for a couple of hours in the medieval streets of the walled old town!

……. and finally I couldn’t leave the Novetel Brussels without letting them enjoy  ‘probably the best PAN paperbacks website in the world!”

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Ralph Holmes Vernon-Hunt 2

HuntRalph Holmes Vernon-Hunt was the nephew of Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books. Born on the 23rd May 1923 he was educated at Malvern College and later served in the RAF where he was awarded a DFC. As mentioned in the last blog he worked at Hudson’s bookshop in Birmingham immediately after the war where he learnt all about the book trade (Coincidently I’ll be passing where it was this morning returning hire suits – see tailpiece!) On the 27th April 1946 Vernon-Hunt married Elizabeth Mary Harris at Northwich.

It was in 1947 that he became Sales Director at PAN where he remained until 1962. Whilst at PAN he was responsible for bestsellers like ‘The Dambusters’, ‘Enemy Coast Ahead’ and ‘Peyton Place’ The most successful titles were Fleming’s James Bond novels. In ‘The Times’ obituary it states;

“Vernon-Hunt himself (at his own instigation, it is believed) was the first visual interpretation of Mr Bond, when his face appeared on the front cover of the first of the Fleming yarns”

This is patently wrong as the ‘Casino Royale’ JB from 1955 was supposed to be based on Richard Conte, ditto Dick Orme from 1959 and Sam Peffer modelled Bond on himself for the 1957 ‘Live And Let Die’ so Vernon-Hunt was certainly not the first.

In 1962 he left PAN to join the newly established publisher Paul Hamlyn as Sales Director but returned to PAN in 1969 as Managing Director. In 1980 he became Deputy Chairman of PAN but retired two years later due to ill health. He died on 10th November 1987 and was survived by his wife and two children.

“He was a charming man with a driving personality which together with a charismatic and buccaneering style of salesmanship made the name of Pan books famous all over the world”

To see a copy of Ralph Venn-Hunt’s will click HERE

The film ‘Goldfinger’ premiered in London 50 years ago on September 17th 1964 so I’m using that as an excuse to include the cover featuring Vernon-Hunt as JB. Coincidently Vernon-Hunt’s uncle, Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books died suddenly on the 17th September 1952 aged 58.GoldfingerNot PAN but can’t pass without saying congratulations to our daughter Katherine and partner Stuart. It was a really lovely wedding last Saturday. All the best for a very long and happy future together.

In Memory Of Moxley RIP

Sadly last Tuesday we had to have our cat, Moxley, put to sleep. He suddenly went down with saddle thrombosis and the prognosis was not good. He was the same age as my website and was probably on my lap while I inputted at least 90% of the contents. It was our daily routine so I dedicate this site to his memory, a friend and companion. As I look out the window I can see his grave alongside the other seven much loved and sadly missed family pets from over the last 38 years.
Moxley2On a more upbeat note I have been contacted by a cover artist who did at least 14 covers for PAN in the 50’s and many others for different publishers. I am waiting for some photos and hopefully can name names next week. It makes such a change for someone to come to me rather than me badgering them!

I’ve also managed to get one step closer to getting a full set of the Piccolo Junior Crossword books unlike the PAN editions! I often check the numbers I am missing and number 7 was elusive until now when suddenly two copies become available!