PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

Crossword Puzzle, Vernon Coleman and Sam Peffer.

Apart from needing PAN X705 to complete my PAN collection which happens to be a crossword book I was also after the last two Piccolo Crossword Books numbers 11 and 12. Luckily I saw a copy of 11 for sale from a ‘pile them high sell them cheap’ supplier who, for once,  included a picture. It looks like it has never been opened, now to track down 12 but I don’t actually have an ISBN for it which doesn’t help.

At the grammar school which was attended by my son they have a list of alumni including  Sir Henry Newbolt, Frank Windsor, Jeffrey Holland and Dr. Vernon Coleman. Vernon often appeared on television and radio and wrote several books three of which were published by PAN under his real name and two under the name Edward Vernon as they were of a less academic nature! Nice to see the correct use of ‘practice’ and ‘pactise’ but then you would expect that from a grammar school pupil (speaking as one myself!) The covers of these were by John Ireland who painted a lot of sporting figures and the Guinness ‘How it’s made’ posters. I found an address for him near Norwich and I’ve written a letter but no reply so far. I hope he is still with us?

Just as an aside which is the odd one out of Newbolt, Windsor, Holland and Coleman? Answer only Newbolt has a Wetherspoons pub named after him in Bilston.

I’m still working on the Sam Peffer negatives/photos he used to help with the poses for his book cover artwork. These are not just PAN but Digit, Arrow, Hodder, WWW, Romance in Pictures etc. and I’ve rejigged Sam’s pages now with three options. The first is links to the photo covers, the second just to artwork and the third a miscellany of Sam related bits and pieces such as the below, Sam and Kitty’s wedding certificate. These will be added to over time.

Duns Tew Publishing, Puzo, Sam Peffer and RIP Kirk Douglas

I was disappointed when I found this poster listed for sale that it had already been sold. Duns Tew published Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming PAN book covers as greetings cards of which I have a few but I would have loved to have been able add this poster to my collection. The page I made a long time ago certainly needs updating!

After posting a several Mario Puzo covers recently I’ve added a couple more but I’m still one short of the covers I know exist, namely ‘The Dark Arena’ from 1989. I nearly missed the subtle difference between the 1972 and the 1977 editions of the film tie-in for ‘The Godfather’ Have you spotted it?

I’m still going through the Sam Peffer (above with Kitty) negatives and photos I have and recently added a few more PANs including ‘Miss Silver Comes To Stay’, ‘Dark Duet’  and ‘A Case For Inspector West’, the others being 10 Days To Die’ from Panther, Wantons Die Hard’ from Digit and ‘Middle Mist‘ from Arrow. Since I put on ‘Middle Mist’ I found another cover from two years later that used the same model. The original photo was from Sam’s great niece Kathy but the hands were not quite right for the Arrow cover but were for ‘Nurse in Love’ I have since found a strip of negatives which show the same model but with her hands in many different positions and have managed to pair up the right ones.
STOP PRESS More are being added all the time and the list will be update as I find covers for all the different publishers. The page is HERE

I was sorry to hear Issur Danielovitch, better know as Kirk Douglas, passed away at the good old age of 103, I always think him in one of my favourite films ‘The Vikings. He appeared on the front cover of X131 ‘Two Weeks in Another Town’ from 1962 with, coincidentally after mentioning him previously, is by Sam Peffer. Pan also Published Kirk’s autobiography ‘The Ragman’s Son’ in 1989 (Not to be confused with ‘The Ragman’s Daughter’ by Alan Sillitoe)

Puzzling Comment, ‘The Guardians’ and Wonky ‘Oggy’

I do like to get comments as they always illicit the same response from me namely that this means it’s not just me reading the blog.
I recently got this;
“I am a clearance coordinator with Cleared by Ashley, Inc.; we are working on a feature film and Production is interested in using one of your father’s artworks as set dressing in the movie. Can you please provide me with an email address so that I can you the details of our request? Thank you for your time and consideration.  We look forward to receiving your response. Best wishes, Keith Block, Cleared by Ashley”
I emailed back to say I was a little confused (no change there) especially the reference to my Father but as it was attached to the blog mentioning Julek Heller were they trying to contact him? I said I would pass on their contact details to him so he could decide if he wanted to respond or not.
They replied;
Dear Tim, Sorry for the confusion. Thank you for your reply. Trisha
So still confused but I’ll report if there is any follow up.

There are sixteen titles in ‘The Guardians’ series by Richard Austin but PAN only published ten of the titles originally from Jove in the US. I am wondering why PAN labelled number ten as ‘The final adventure in the blistering new series’ when there were at least another five later titles already published in the States at this point? Richard Austin was the pen name of Victor Milan who wrote over one hundred books and who died on the 13th February 2018. All the PAN covers are by Gino D’Achille while I’ve only identified three of the Jove editions. ‘Armageddon Run’ is possibly by D. Cook while ‘Devil’s Deal’ and ‘Valley of the Gods’ are both by Cliff Miller I only bought the later six titles by Jove for completeness, the first ten are off the web.

While visiting Attingham Park recently, to drop off some books for their second hand bookshop, I couldn’t resist splashing out 25p on a Piccolo edition of ‘The Travels of Oggy’ illustrated by Hans Helweg. It was only when I got home I realised it was a wonky binding with the title on the spine being more on the front cover than the spine and a blank sliver on the back edge. It’s not very often you come across copies like this, they are usually sliced from the top or bottom.

Nearly forgot to mention Jules Burt’s latest video featuring nearly all of the first one hundred titles from PAN. I’d forgotten how good some of those early covers were. Click HERE to see the video.

Golden PAN Awards, Lee Stannard and ‘Moonraker’

I mentioned two more ‘Golden PAN Awards’ last week and here are the recipients. The first is to Kate Morton for The House at Riverton’  published in 2006 with the award for a million copies sold being presented by Anthony Forbes-Watson in October 2019. 

The second is to the Pinch of Nom team on 9th January for a million copies sold of 100 Slimming, Home-style Recipes’ This title was only released in March 2019, reaching the million copy threshold by July 2019. Alysoun at PAN says “Maybe the fastest any author has achieved Golden Pan status!”

While still trying to track down the artists for the ‘Horizons’ series I got a reply from Lee Stannard who produced the cover for the one title I don’t actually have. It was the one a very kind librarian, Sally, in Australia scanned for me namelyThose Summer Girls I Never Knew’ by Richard Peck from 1991. If anyone does have a spare copy………? 
Lee replied “Hi Tim, Yes I did a few covers for Pan Horizons as well as Pan’s main list and Picador. I probably have the artwork somewhere but it would take some digging out – I’ll let you know if I unearth it sometime… thanks for the appreciation. Lee” Fingers crossed although so far I’ve only found the one Horizon title and this Picador. I was looking at it for quite a while before I realised what seemed familiar, my Grandfather was Edmund White as well.

I recently picked up a Bonhams photograph taken after the acrimonious auction of original PAN artwork back in 1991. It was a photo of the 1956 edition of Moonraker’ with the Josh Kirby cover but it was the sticker on the back I found more interesting which says how much it actually sold for.

Plastic covers, Hans Helweg, Alan Cracknell, Golden PAN Awards and RIP Sonny.

It’s about a year ago since I last updated the page of PAN titles with plastic covers and have now done the same again. So far I have fifteen but five of these are different versions of the same book namely ‘The 35mm Photographer’s Handbook’ I seem to remember that at one time 35mm was definitely going to become redundant but like vinyl records it’s coming back so might these titles?

Still adding Hans Helweg Childrens Covers or new scans when I’ve actually got the book rather than off the web. There is another ‘OUP’ structured reading title, ‘Lassie’,  an American printing of ‘Olga Takes Charge’, ‘Treat Shop’ and ‘Cowboys’ (the latter two include work by other artists) and another Puffin title ‘To Sunset and Beyond’

Thanks to Andrew Crease for recently leaving a comment which made me realise when I had put together a page for Alan Cracknell I had not included the two ‘Radio Times’ covers of his that I had (I’m sure there must be more) This has now been rectified and they can be found if you scroll down. Just as an aside when I was at teacher’s training college one of the tutors was Miss Joy Sinden who was the sister of Donald as on one of the covers. Apparently he visited her quite often but I never saw him.

Alysoun at PAN recently emailed to tell me about another Golden PAN being awarded for a million copy seller. I didn’t know about this one which made me go and do a search. I managed to find yet another I’d missed and I’ll tell you what they both are in the next blog but can you work out before then who is holding this one?

I’ve just found out that we lost a PAN stalwart on 30th December 2019. namely Sonny Mehta. Sonny launched Picador books in 1972 and later became Editor in Chief at Knopf. This photo below is one I took of him at the PAN 70th party where he was joined by Marilyn Warnick the Books Editor for “The Mail on Sunday” He is survived by his wife, the novelist and film-maker Gita Mehta, whom he married in 1965, and their son.

‘Morse’, Russell Braddon, Morton Thompson Junior and Jules Burt.

Occasionally I spot books at a price I can’t resist and hence I have now added a couple of later ‘Morse’ titles at the bottom of the page although one shouldn’t be there as it doesn’t pass the ‘Little Man’ logo test while the other does on the spine.

Back in October I spotted a photo for sale on Amazon from a seller in Iceland. It was of Russell Braddon holding his ‘Golden PAN Award’ for selling a million copies of ‘The Naked Island’ I expected it to take a while but was surprised to get a call from a Mr. Williams in Leicester to say he had my photo included in with one he’d ordered. He kindly posted it on last week and it cost him £7.40 to send it tracked. I hope he can get is money back from the seller who I’ve contacted to tell them about their mistake. I’ve also put on the page a copy of the programme for the ‘Naked Island’ which was done as a stage play. I find it amusing as it lists what must be sponsors such as ‘Bear’ brand stockings and ‘Abdulla’ cigarettes although it points out smoking is not allowed! It’s also good to see a familiar name in the cast, Sam Peffers go to Japanese soldier Burt Kwouk. I’ve also included a photo of the original Tayler artwork but as it was behind glass there are a lot of reflections unfortunately.

After mentioning the original Hans Helweg artwork I got for a couple of Morton Thompson covers recently (I’m still trying to find the 1969 edition of ‘Not As A Stranger’) I was surprised to see his son had more hits which is probably due to him killing his mother. Apparently on the evening of February 5, 1962, Morton “Bud” Harold Thompson Jr., 27, fatally stabbed his mother, Helen Sincere Scheuer, 53, with an ice pick. Scheuer was trying to solve a crossword puzzle at her kitchen table when Bud suddenly attacked her from behind. After receiving 11 stab wounds, she stumbled out of her apartment and called out to her landlord, Forbes Exter who immediately called the police but she died shortly. after.  Scheuer was a former newspaper writer and the ex-wife of former screenwriter turned best-selling author Morton Thompson. Scheuer and Thompson Sr. met while working together at the Hollywood Citizen-News in the early 1930s. The couple married and had two children, Milllicent and Bud, before divorcing in 1942. Afterwards, Thompson Sr. moved east, married his New York literary agent, and wrote the best-selling novel “Not As a Stranger” Thompson Sr. didn’t live long enough to see his novel adapted for the big screen. He died of a heart attack on July 7, 1953. Eleven days later, his second wife committed suicide. In court, Bud Thompson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. However, after psychiatrists ruled that he was sane, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Morton Howard Thompson Jr. died in a VA hospital in Prescott, Arizona, on March 29, 1989 at the age of 54.

Finally I’ve mentioned Jules Burt and his excellent YouTube videos before and can recommend the latest one featuring James Bond movie tie-in books. This had nothing to do with the fact that Jules gives my website a plug, thanks Jules.

Disarmament, a poster and a couple of dustjackets

Thinking of all our fellow book collectors out in Australia suffering the fires. I know we have many in the affected areas especially New South Wales and Victoria, stay safe.

Welcome to a new decade. In the late 1970’s and early 80’s there were many campaigns for disarmament and the ‘World Disarmament Campaign’ used an extract from ‘North-South’ in a leaflet they printed in 1981. HERE is a link to it and other related items on the same theme including more titles in the ‘PAN World Affairs’ series. I’ve not heard about the campaign for a while but apparently it is still going HERE but doesn’t seem to have had anything added to the website since 2006.

I spotted this ‘eye catching NOT‘ poster for ‘The Godfather’ on eBay in Australia but on looking at the price I might give it a miss.

NB Just noticed it’s now dropped by $50 but still not tempted.

I mentioned I was getting PAN 74 “Flames Coming Out of the Top’ with the second elusive book jacket as a Christmas present to myself. Well it was there amongst my presents (no sign of X705 Santa!) and I’ve re-scanned all the three variant covers plus the three for PAN 90 “Action For Slander’ On checking where they were printed I see all of the copies of PAN 74 state the text set up is by Richard Clay and Company Ltd but printed by Firmin Didot in France while the first two edition of PAN 90 are also printed by Firmin Didot while the third is printed by Richard Clay.

Just looking up Firmin Didot I see they are still going and they are under the name Societe Nouvelle Firmin Didot. Around 1800 the  family owned the most important print shop and font foundry in France. Pierre Didot, the printer, published a document with the typefaces of his brother, Firmin Didot, the typeface designer.

Talking of dust jackets makes me wonder if I’ve become allergic to dusty paperbacks as ever since I’ve been moving stacks around after Christmas I’ve had an awful cold but then again so has Jackie and she keeps well away from them!

‘Happy New Year’, Paddington Bear plus a greeting.

Wishing all PANFans a Happy 2020 and here’s to many more blogs about PAN Books, their artists and anything else that comes to light.

After watching ‘Paddington 2’ which is still one of my favourite recent films there was a documentary on the author of ‘Paddington’, Michael Bond. They visited his daughter, Karen, and on the wall was a portrait of Michael holding a book and I was surprised to see it not not what I would have expected but rather ‘Olga da Polga’ with a cover by Hans Helweg. PAN also published several of the ‘Paddington’ titles. Also on over the holiday was another of my favourite films ‘Small Soldiers’ written by fellow PANFan Gavin Scott.

It was really nice to get a call out of the blue last Tuesday from artist David Scutt who wished me a ‘Happy Christmas’ I’ve mentioned David before as he painted four PAN covers but also many more for other publishers including the Phillip Pullman covers for ‘His Dark Materials’ series as serialised on BBC TV recently.

Merry Christmas and Lydia Monks.

Seasons greetings PANFans and I hope you get all those elusive titles in your stockings this year. I’ve asked Santa for ‘X705’ AGAIN this year after being let down on so many previous ones. I made a few greetings cards from the artwork above of which I have the original by Gavin Rowe from 1972. If you click on it you can see which book it was for.

As I mentioned last week I would like to say a very big “Thank You” to Lydia Monks who, when I contacted to congratulate her on her ‘Golden PAN Award’ and to ask to buy a signed copy, by return of post sent me a lovely complimentary copy very much personalised for our Grandson William Jack. Unfortunately I am being forced to give it him for Christmas-  Bah Humbug!

Lydia not only dedicated it to William but added all the figures from the story. Mind you I’m keeping the signed card that came with it.

HERE is a page showing Julia and Axel with their awards plus Lydia with hers and several of their book jackets with stickers for milestones over the years.

As for presents I do know I’m getting ‘Flames Coming Out of the Top with the second elusive book jacket but this is only because I bought it myself! Hopefully it will appear in the blog after Christmas when I’ll re-scan all the three variant covers plus the three for “Action For Slander”

Happy 20th Birthday PANFans!

It was on the 16th December 1999 that I first registered the domain name which became the home of this website. Since then there have been many others including as someone once suggested and I liked it but it just redirects back to the original. 

I used the ‘Wayback Machine’ to get the earliest screenshot it had captured and it was from 25th November 2002. I’m really surprised that it has not changed that much apart from the inclusion of the now weekly blog of which this is number 419. This actually works out at more than one a week since I it started it on the 1st march 2012. I also noticed while capturing the screens it still said ‘First Twenty Five’ at the top so now changed to ‘First Forty Five’ which is more accurate.

Here are details of Christmas book signings at ‘The PAN Bookshop’ but unfortunately it look like we are too late for both of them, not just by a few days but by a few years! Just looking at the address I noticed it’s Reading which seems to be a different place to the one I thought it was in Fulham (as in photo above) which closed on the 19th January 2008. Did the Reading one close at the same time?

Doing a quick’ Google’ I found a couple of pictures related to the ‘Butts Centre’ in Reading but no sign of a book shop. One is an outside view and the other of DJ David Jacobs with ‘Miss Ty-Phoo Tea’ at the opening of the complex in 1971 Thanks to ‘Berkshire Live’ for the photos.

My son and his wife plus two month old grandson William are visiting this week and I was really ‘chuffed with what I managed to get him for Christmas. All will be revealed next week when they return home for festivities in Kent as I don’t want William reading this blog and spoiling the surprise! My wife says “Ha Ha”