PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

John Doxat “Stirred – Not Shaken”

Back in July fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch asked me about titles, namely which were the shortest and which were the longest. Well it turned out there were several contenders for shortest including  ‘Jet’, ‘Mia’, ‘Sex’, ‘BRM’ and ‘Raj’ but only one for the longest ‘Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ by John Doxat. This was first published by PAN in 1966 and a revised hardback edition was published in 1967 by Arthur Barker which seems to be a reverse of the norm.hardbackIn the blurb in the PAN 1983 edition it says “John Doxat, who has been described in an American journal as Britain’s ‘foremost thinking drinker’, was born the day the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo; was educated at Charterhouse and in Paris; practised varied journalism (wartime service in the Intelligence Corps); went into PR i9, and thence into the broader field of publicity and advertising with Booth’s, and in 1969 became publicity manager of Buchanan Booth’s Agencies Ltd, the DCL subsidiary, distributors of Black & White and Buchanan’s Reserve Scotch Whisky, Strathconan Malt Whisky, Booth’s Finest Dry Gin, High and Dry Gin, Cossack Vodka and Hine Cognac”

Click HERE to see the page of PAN covers including one variation from 1973 I’ve only found on an American sellers website where he is asking £42.28 plus £27.07 postage!!! Doxat seems to have written many books over the years but with a consistent theme, namely drink. One  has a link to another favourite of mine, James Bond, in that 007 gets a mention on the back cover of ‘Stirred – Not Shaken’ published by Hutchinson in 1976. This seemed like a very good title until I looked on Amazon and was amazed to see so many other books with the same title plus others with ‘Shaken – Not Stirred’

I’d love to go to the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19th this year but it’s not going to happen so I was pleased to see two PAN titles used in the montage for the Facebook cover photo.


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

Paul Davies – and a Happy New Year 2017

Since I first made contact with Paul Davies back in the Spring to ask about the 12 covers he produced for Leslie Thomas titles we’ve emailed on and off about various things. Just before Christmas Paul was generous enough to give me one of his cartoons he drew for the book ‘Some Missing Persons’

pdbookshop2I was so pleased it was the one depicting ‘The Bookshop Owner’, unfortunately a fast disappearing breed. Paul has a website showing many examples of his work and also a very amusing blog, I think we have a similar sense of humour and I’m looking forward to meeting him in the New Year, either up here or down in Cheltenham where he is having an exhibition in August. This makes a change as it seemed all the people connected with PAN in some way live in London or down south on the coast.


On a different note while trying to find something to watch on TV on Boxing Day I came across a BBC ‘Countryfile’ compilation on James Herriot where you had to look carefully, blink and you missed it, to see a clip showing a pile of Herriot PAN editions plus a couple of mugs. I’ve added a screenshot of it to my ‘As Seen on TV’ page.

We are now into 2017 and so I’ll wish you all the best with many happy hours finding and sorting those PANs, maybe this will be the year I get that elusive last title!

‘The PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’

Christmas 2016 has now come and gone which for us this year was a very quite affair with just our family of four but I did acquire for myself an interesting present. Due to unforeseen circumstances Johnny Mains is currently unable to continue his work on ‘The PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ Johnny kindly offered me his archives as he knew I’d keep them safe which of course I will in the hope that one day he may feel up to finishing it. Les Edwards is also holding onto the cover he painted hoping it may be used in the future.

lesedwardsAlong with many signed books, photos, manuscripts and contracts etc. I also got a couple of pieces of artwork for books 3 (William Francis Phillipps) and 16 (Alan Lee) I’ll be putting together some pages about the collection in the New Year but HERE is one with the covers. Book 3 is the later 1974 edition but uses the same artwork as X161 from 1962 which I’ll add later as it needs a new scan.

Here’s to many more happy finds in the future so I’ll wish all PAN Fans everywhere a healthy and prosperous New Year 2017

Terry Oakes at Last – and Christmas Greetings

Finally got around to scanning in the original three Terry Oakes artworks I recently purchased but my scanner now seems to have fallen out with my computer and is having a sulk! I’ve ended up photographing them and luckily I’d already scanned in the covers to go with them. I will add more when the connectivity problem is sorted.

I managed to get the covers for two of the three titles in the ‘Borribles’ series by Michael de Larrabeiti. They are the first and third titles as I missed out on the second which was used by Savatage for their ‘Sirens’ LP cover and was bought by a fan. Terry also did vignettes for the backs and I have these for the first and second but not the third as this was of a character called Treld who was named after Treld Pelkey Bicknell who worked at PAN. She begged Terry for it and he gave it to her and apparently it hangs on her toilet wall

The third piece of artwork is for ‘The Death Rays of Ardilla’ by W E Johns one of the six titles in his space series. The other five covers will be added when the scanner is back in action, hopefully this week.

wreathAs Xmas will have come and gone by next Monday it just remains for me to wish all our faithfully PAN Fans out there a very ‘Happy Christmas.

Germany and ‘Return of the Jedi’ + Birthdays

Back from Germany where the Christmas markets were very much the same as the ones here in the UK apart from the Striezelmarkt in Dresden, the oldest Christmas market in Germany running since 1434. It was so good we actually bought bits and pieces as presents, had Bratwurst and got merry on Gluhwein. We also got a free hotel room upgrade as my wife didn’t notice the shower tray was leaking and literally flooded the room. Must try that again next time we go.

Only a couple of things to report on the books front. Relating to another of my interests, Ian Fleming’s from around the world, I picked up 3 in German with the alternative Michael Gillette covers already having a set of the others in hardback.

I also found a copy of the Marvel Comics version of ‘Return of the Jedi’ but I didn’t know they jointly published it with Piccolo in this country. Click HERE to see my rather tatty UK edition and below is the US cover. It’s interesting to note how the UK pound has fallen against the US dollar looking at the prices on the covers from 1983. Then you got two dollars to the pound but now it’s only one and a quarter.

Sorry didn’t have time so Terry Oakes will feature next week.

17Nearly forgot, this site will be 17 years old in four days on the 16th of December.

UPDATE: Only just found out today (16th) that the site shares its Birthday with a PAN favourite, Philip Kindred Dick, who was born this day in 1928 in Chicago and died all too soon on March 2, 1982 in Santa Ana, California.pkdJust counting up how many titles has surprised me as I’ve only found four: ‘A Maze of Death’, ‘Galactic Pot-Healer’, ‘The Preserving Machine’ and ‘Nick and the Glimmung’ It may seem like more because there are so many cover variants on at least three of the titles.

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?