I received an email today from Vicky, Derek Stowe’s daughter to say, sadly, he had passed away on the 24th September and I shall miss our infrequent chats on the phone where we often put the world to rights. Condolences to Vicky and all the rest of the family. Here is a passage in Derek’s own words as to how he started at PAN. “Top artist Derek A Stowe has designed a striking front cover, featuring the principal artists and a plug for the film” A first print run of 50.000 copies was ordered. This quote and publicity for me was, I can only assume, spotted by the major paperback publisher at that time – PAN BOOKS I was surprised to receive a Telephone call from Mr George Kam who was the Commissioning Editor for Pan Books. He asked if I would consider working for PAN? The fee would be 25 Guineas per book. I was delighted!
Sad to say very shortly after I heard from Vicky I got an email from Steve, Tony Whitehorn’s son to say, sadly, Tony had passed away on the 31st August. Condolences to Steve and all the rest of the family Here is Tony talking about part of his time at PAN in his own words. “Unlike at Panther, I did nothing but write blurbs at Pan. For books you enjoyed or admired you set about writing selling copy with some relish; for those that were of indifferent quality you got on with the job with what amounted to a mental shrug; but for the occasional real stinker, so bad that you wondered — along with Bos and Paul — why the expletive it had been bought in, you had to grit your teeth to crack it up in the usual way, to persuade people to waste their money on it”
It’s ironic that while Derek did the front of the books Tony did the backs. Both will be sadly missed but hopefully live on in the history of PAN Books.
We had planned to go down to Lymington to meet up with Gordon Young last week but unfortunately both he and his wife, Chrissie, have not been too well. Gordon is now 98 and has just finished the second part of his memoires as Export Manager for PAN in the 1950’s. I am pleased to be able to publish it on line HERE and if you have not read part one when he was first mate on the ‘Laloun’ then click HERE Gordon was awarded the French ‘Légion d’honneur’ for his part in the D Day Landings. Get well soon Gordon and Chrissie
(Richard) Walter Winward wrote three books for PAN plus four short stories that appeared in the PAN Horror series namely ‘Return to Devil’s Tongues’(6), ‘The Benefactor’ (8), ‘Stick With Me, Kid, and You’ll Wear Diamonds’ (9) and ‘Self-Employed’(10) Starting in June 1969 PAN began a campaign to push his novel ‘The Conscripts’with several mentions in the June and July editions of the PAN Books monthly list. I was pleased to pick up a counter display for this as they are hard to come by. It’s interesting to note the books in the displays have covers for 1969 edition but most of the artwork on the advertising material is related to the 1970 printing. The other two PAN titles were ‘The Success’ and ‘A Cat With Cream’ I didn’t think I had a PAN copy of the latter title and so looked to buy one but couldn’t find one for sale anywhere. Fortunately I had a better look and found it had been put in the wrong place. I can’t find out much about Winward apart from he was born on the 4th December1938 in York and what it says onFantatsic Fiction which also states he wrote 15 novels. He may have possibly died on the 13th January 2017 if I found the correct Walter.
Every now and again you come across a book which makes you think “Who thought that would be a good idea? “and this time it’s‘Illustrating Computers’ by Colin Day and Donald Alcock. Just click on the cover to see a sample page as to whether or not you agree.
I’m sure, like most book collectors, you get asked “Have you read them all?” to which I usually reply “Don’t be daft, I have 133 Barbara Cartlands!” but I did read a recent purchase namely ‘What A Way To Go’ by Peter Bowler and Jonathan Green. This describes the deaths of some famous and some obscure people but all in weird ways and often avoidable. For example I didn’t know Arnold Bennet was told not to drink the water in Paris as it contained typhoid bacillus. He pooh-poohed this, drank the water and shortly after died of typhoid. The cover is by Paul Sample who did several covers for PAN including nearly all the PAN Tom Sharpe titles.
This weeks list is from June 1967 and has some of the later titles still listed using PAN’s eclectic numbering system. Amongst them, on the back inside page is X705‘Junior Crosswords Book 3‘ that elusive title I’m still after. Click on the list cover to see the contents.
While looking at the above list I was reminded of a Gavin Lyall series from the 1970s I haven’t posted yet. They feature covers which include ones by Chris Foss and Harry Hants and for some reason or other have two versions of the same two titles published very close together. They also feature Lyall’s name more prominently that the books title.
It’s always nice to have an unexpected find in a book and in this case it was a letter in a copy of ‘We, the Accused’ by Ernest Raymond. It was from his wife Diana Raymond, author of ‘Between the Stirrup and the Ground’ She was writing to producer Peter Cotes and mentions PAN stalwart John Creasey and the programme Cotes produced for BBC2 in the ‘One Pair of Eyes’series. It was Episode 39 entitled ‘Down With All Parties‘ featuring Creasey standing for election and broadcast on the 2nd May 1970. Raymond wrote 46 novels plus plays etc. but PAN only published one while his wide Diana wrote 24 novels and again PAN only published one. Ernest Raymond was born on the 31st December 1888 in Montreux, Vaud, Switzerland and died the 14th May 1974 in Hampstead, London. Diana Ida Joan Thornton Raymond née Young was born on the 25th April 1916 in Milford on Sea, Hampshire and died on the 16th February 2009 in London. I’ve included the below as I’ve never come across something like it before.
I’ve been playing around with some of the software where you can make ‘books’ online for the stock lists I picked up at the Paperback and Pulp Fair in London recently. I have now decided the easiest, simplest and most reliable way is just to scan them in and make a webpage for them. I’ve randomly picked one off the pile which just happens to be for July 1967 and I’ll try and do the same for the next few weeks until I run out. Click on the image below to se it.
For those that do want to see my effort using ‘Visme’ click HERE but as it makes a 20mb file and as I can only get 100mb without paying I’ll stick to just putting them on a page at 3mb. As I have to scan them in, however I do it, putting them on a page is easier and quicker plus I can’t work out why the ‘book’ annoyingly jumps at the start.
When it comes to the books themselves I am happy to settle for a reasonable copy at a reasonable price if it is a title I haven’t got. My intention is to replace some with a better copy if one comes along but one glaring title has annoyed me for a long time and that is ‘You Can’t Hit A Woman’ by Peter Cheyney from 1961. All of its spine was Sellotaped and stood out as, literally, glaringly obvious. Prices being asked were often around £40 with postage whereas the earlier 1953 edition was £5. So when I saw a copy for a couple of pounds and similar for postage in very good condition I bought it. What was surprising was that it was from Germany and came as fast as if it was from here in the UK. Card on left found in the 1953 edition. Signature and photo are from my Collins 1948 edition of ‘Try Anything Twice’
A while ago I mentioned we were going on a trip to Portmeirion where ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed. This starred Patrick McGoohan as John Drake and ran for 17 episodes between September 1966 and January 1968 on ITV. The exterior shots were filmed there but the interiors were filmed at Borehamwood. Last Saturday was the day and sorry to say we were not that impressed. On the plus side, although the car and coach parks were full, it didn’t seem that crowded but on the down side everywhere seem to have private or residents only notices plus parts reserved for a wedding that was being held there which included the town hall. I did get a badge and a walk around the headland made up for some of the disappointment and luckily it was very warm but not sure where you could go if it was pouring with rain. PAN published a few series tie-ins which can be seen by clicking HERE
After rescanning the earlier dust jackets I’ve now done the same with a few of the later ones. They are four that feature the PAN man logo in a yellow box on part of the covers There is a difference between ‘David Copperfield’ and the later three in that it is like the earlier ones in not having a title which actually used the same cover as the jacket while the others do. Click HERE to see them. There are a few more with dust jackets and I’ll add them as I update pages.
Click on the image above to see a list of titles from PAN for July 1959 that I got from Steve Chibnall at the Paperback and Pulp Fair. The snippet below from the list reinforces what was mentioned in last weeks blog – films sell books!
A few years back we made a detour to visit the village of Pett Botton to do what thousands must have done before and that is stand under the blue plaque. This says that Ian Fleming stayed there to write ‘You Only Live Twice’ While just checking details, as this title also features in the comment above about later dust jackets, I was sad to see it had closed down. We may be as guilty as others in that we didn’t actually stop for a meal, maybe if more people had it could have survived?
UPDATE Since I posted the above on a Facebook page there seems to be a consensus that Canterbury City Council may have been a little over generous with the truth. Fleming did live in the area and probably visited the pub but was residing at ‘Goldeneye’ in Jamaica in 1964 where he died. It seems he may have written notes at ‘The Duck’ but not the book.
I have been following a post on eBay and was tempted to bid but it soon went outside my price range. It would have been nice to have added it to the collection but for that amount of money I decided to leave it to someone who was probably a Bond fan and not a PAN fan but then again they could have been both. Click HERE to see the inscription.
STOP PRESS If you are looking to buy some PAN (and other publishers) paperbacks Jules Burt currently has some on offer on a first come first served basis from just £1 but don’t try for the Picador bookmarks, I’ve bagged those! Click on the image below to view it.