PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

Website Crash, Grace Matalious and Stuart Bodek Again

After saying the moving of my website to another server so it could be secure seemed to have worked, well I seemed to have spoken too soon. On Tuesday it went down! For four and a half hours I was one of the 5% that my hosting company told me were affected on their clustering Linux servers. Now usually I’m more than happy to be in the minority but not this time although dare I say it, things appear to be back to normal. I am left wondering how clustering servers go down when I thought the idea was you could switch between them if problems occurred?

Back to what we should be talking about and that is PAN Books and in this case those from Grace Metalious. I did look to see if there was any specific date attached to her for now but unfortunately not. The reason I’m including Grace is that I picked up a 1970 edition of ‘Return to Peyton Place’ and looked to see how many variations I had of this and her other three titles published by PAN. The results are HERE and I’m sure there must be others I’ve not got. I also have the original artwork shown but have no idea as to the artist, can anyone help?

Metalious was awarded a posthumous ‘Golden PAN’ for selling over a million copies of ‘Peyton Place’ having died in 1964 at the all too early age of 39. Ian Fleming’s ‘Golden PAN’ was also awarded posthumously.

I’ve now got a copy of ‘Chalkhill Blue’ with the Stuart Bodek cover. The third title in this series ‘Painted Lady’ doesn’t have a Bodek cover. I also found a 1982 Guinness calendar with an example of his work. It includes pictures from other PAN artists like Mike Brownfield and Chris Moore.

..… and finally my wife and I were going to go down to the south coast last week to park the camper on Gordon Young’s drive while I got the rest of his story of his rise from ship’s boy on the ‘Laloun’ to export manager at PAN. Unfortunately, his wife of only 5 months, Chrissie, has gone down with shingles. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope to reschedule when the weathers a bit better in the Spring.


Now Secure, Robert Rankin and Stuart Bodek.

After being away for few days in North Yorkshire I came back on Thursday, bit the bullet and started the process of obtaining a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate for my website. The first part involved moving the site to a secure server and then issuing the certificate. This seemed to go fairly well but my site still said ‘Not Secure’ I got in touch with the help desk of my hosting company and they said I needed to add extra code to a file in the root directory. This was beginning to be a little outside my comfort zone but after making backups and Googling to find the code I went ahead and it appears to have worked as it now says it is a secure site. Unfortunately, due to my site being 19 years old next month, there is a lot of Legacy coding apparently (mainly frames which were cutting edge in 1999!) so as a work round until the day I update it all(!) the Blog and Search, because they use external links, load into a new window. Before nothing appeared when links to these pages were clicked possibly due to the enhanced security unless anyone knows better?

After speculating on why PAN only published three of Robert Rankin’s Brentford titles I heard from Mike Petty, who took over the Picador list from Caroline Lassalle in  1977 and he kindly offered the following information;

“I can shed some light on your Robert Rankin query. I published the Trilogy at Pan, thanks to some prompting from Alan Aldridge. I can no longer remember why the covers were so different, but I suspect No.1 didn’t sell so they thought they’d try a different approach for No.2. I’d left Pan by the time No.3 came out. You’d have to ask David Larkin or Gary Day-Ellison what the story was.

After a couple of years at Chatto I then moved on to Sphere/Abacus. I kept in touch with Robert, and nothing much was happening for him at Pan, so I published the Trilogy again, in one volume this time, plus No.4, The Sprouts of Wrath.

I then moved to Bloomsbury, where I published Armageddon: The Musical, They Came and Ate Us and The Suburban Book of the Dead. These were picked up in paperback by Corgi, who subsequently republished his backlist and became his primary publishers. I can’t remember how that happened, but ££ probably had something to do with it”

I recently contacted Terry Sandy at Durban High School regarding one of their alumni, artist Stuart (or Steward) Bodek and Terry replied at an amazing speed. He gave me the name and email address of a fellow pupil and artist, David Whitehead, who moved to the UK at the same time a Stuart but I’ve not managed to make contact, does anyone know of him?  Stuart was born in South Africa on the 17th of July 1947 and died all to soon in January 1996. I email Cecil Vieweg as he was a fellow South African just on the off chance and he kindly replied;

“Yes! I remember Stuart Bodek very well. I met him on arrival at Artist Partners, fresh faced and full of hope and ambition, but awestruck and humble meeting some of the old pros. Although he had some advertising experience, his knowhow and methods were still be experienced. I took him under my wing and we became good friends. Such a great pity that his life ended at a relatively young age. I’m not to sure about the details, but he died on or shortly after a tennis match. Late eighties, early nineties? He was represented by Artist Partners”

I have since found that Stuart married Carolyn Kaffel in Hendon in the early part of 1979. I’ve put a few of his PAN covers HERE and also included one by Liz Moyes as a place holder. Annoyingly I ordered the 1984 copy of ‘Chalkhill Blue’ a while ago and got the 1988 edition without the ‘PAN Man’ logo and so gave it away as in my new inclusion rule. Last week I ordered the 1988 edition (which broke my new inclusion rule!) as the cover was by Stuart Bodek and this time got the 1984 edition! Hopefully the right one will appear next week.Part cover of ‘Burning Bright’ by Brian Sanders featuring Liz Sanders nee Moyes.

Not Secure, Frankenstein, Fred and PAN Horror

Since Chrome has now decided my website is ‘Not Secure’ albeit I don’t ask for any passwords or credit card information I don’t want people to feel put off visiting the site when they see the message so this week I’m ‘biting the bullet’ and splashing out £25 a year for a SSL certificate. If this blog or website doesn’t appear next week it’s probably because I’ve screwed up all the settings!

I recently saw the Fawcett edition of ‘Frankenstein Unbound’ by Brian Aldiss and it looks almost the same as the PAN edition. The original hardback with this artwork appeared in 1973 with the paperbacks in 1975 but I’m left wondering why there as so many little changes on the PAN version, apart from the obvious face added, such as the way the hair falls and was this done by Paul Bacon the artist?

I must apologise to fellow PAN Fan Fred Cheetham who came over from Vancouver, Canada to see my collection and for me then to talk to him continuously about PAN Books. This sounds a little grander than it was it that he was actually staying in Shrewsbury with his brother and popped over on the train from there and not BC! Fred at one time worked for Collins who had the distribution rights for PAN in Canada.

For Halloween the BBC are putting on a series of 15 minute dramas based on ‘The Second Pan Book of Horror Stories’ starting on the 29th. I seem to remember they also did a similar thing with the first in 2012 but can’t find backup to confirm this.I’ve also noticed that yesterday (28th) the BBC were starting a dramatisation of “The Little Drummer Girl” by John Le Carre in six parts.

Talking of the ‘Horror’ books I was going to feature Stuart Bodek this week who painted the cover of number 27 but I’m still waiting for some replies to emails send out a while ago, watch this space.

“On The Road”, jogging and a trilogy?

Last year I was contacted by author Steve Turner regarding ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac and asking if I knew who the cover artists was? Although I’ve never been able to discover for certain who it might be, or where the original artwork is, I have long suspected it could be by Hans Helweg as he was prolific around the early 60’s with several that can be attributed to him very close number wise and in the same style.

‘The Voice at the Back Door’ is number X77 and definitely has HH on it while ‘On The Road’ is X84 and I can Image there is possibly a similar H on that? I contacted Sue Helweg, Han’s widow and she kindly replied “I don’t know for sure about the Kerouac but it is certainly very much like his work – I will see if I can track down any further info. I do still have a good deal of his original work”

Steve wrote a book published in 1996 on Kerouac called ‘Angelheaded Hipster’ and he is hoping to write another following the trail in ‘On The Road’ taking photos of the book in the locations mentioned. Steve has kindly sent me some examples shown HERE

I have a list of titles that I’ve come across on other peoples websites and if I see them for sale somewhere economically priced I might buy them but they are not top of the list. One was ‘The Complete Jogger’ by Bruce Tulloh which seemed to be very elusive but I then realised I was looking for ‘Tulloch’ and not ‘Tulloh’, suddenly hundreds of copies! Interestingly the runner on the cover is the late Simon Master who just happened to be around when they need someone to be photographed. Simon was at PAN in the 1970’s and in his obituary it says “Most people in publishing would have recognised Simon from the 1970s and ‘80s, a tall distinguished figure with impossibly thick-rimmed glasses. He and Sonny Mehta became legends from their time at Pan and Picador; Simon was first publishing director at Pan, then chief executive—the youngest head of a major publishing company at the time—from 1979 until 1987. Patrick Janson- Smith once summed up the Golden Age of paperback publishing as “Mehta & Master” Now I don’t want to name drop but as I said to Sonny at the PAN 70th birthday bash ……!

Just wondering why PAN only published two of the three titles in Victor Canning’s ‘Smiler’ series. I thought it might be because the third part was written much later than the other two but the hardback version was published in 1974. Puffin published all three titles in 1979.

Double Title Spreads, Robert Rankin and “Why?”

Having found a couple of authors where two of their titles are linked by the cover artwork I’m wondering if there are any more? I know some of the PAN/Ballantine’s (all titles will be added eventually) have the artwork from the front of one on the back of another plus the Julian May panoramas. I’ve put a couple of examples HERE although I had to fiddle the Tevis covers to line up by taking a bit off the top of one and a bit of the bottom of the other but no such problem with the Harris. I’ve emailed Paul Roberts, the artist who painted ‘Bodyguard 2’ used for the Thomas Kyd covers, but no reply so far.

Just because I have them to hand I’ve put the three Robert Rankin titles in the ‘Brentford Trilogy’ on a page. Not sure why they all had to have so disparate covers and did Rankin have a falling out with PAN in that they didn’t publish any of his later titles of which there are nine in this series?

Sometimes I look at something and wonder ‘Why’, is this art or just a way to spoil a good book? If you are keen to have something like this by Dave Buonaguidi you’ll need to outbid the current one of £50!


AIRPORT at last, Leominster and Victor Canning.

It was last Wednesday when the edition of ‘AIRPORT’ I’ve mentioned several times before eventually arrived from France and now means I have a name for the cover artist – Chris Moore.

I recently discovered I still had a 91 year old Aunt living in a care home in Leominster so popped over to see her last week but it also meant I could visit the antiques centres so often used on the BBC TV programme ‘Bargain Hunt’ (see ‘‘PAN as Seen on the TV’ although don’t think any are from Leominster) I was really pleased to see Stan who often appears as the one contestants haggle with. I’d heard it was all prearranged and when I asked Stan he said “I couldn’t possibly comment!”I ended the day with five books and amazingly when I got home found I’d only got one already. It’s more often the other way around. One of them was another Victor Canning title from the late 70’s series, namely ‘The House of Seven Flies’ in unread condition. It cost me all of £1.00 and I didn’t think it was worth haggling for.

Talking of television, and nothing to do with books, I had a starring role on TV as a litter picker. Our work to clear an old railway line made the local news as part of their ‘Active Autumn’ series. We thought it was for things to do in Autumn but appears to be referring to the stage of life of the participants!. I was asked to speak but I let 80 year old Brian do it as he’d bought a new hat!

As a foot note I’m often asked about my attire having both sweatshirts and fleeces with the PAN logo on as in photo above of me with Stan. It’s not really that I’m that dedicated (I hear my wife laughing for some reason or other?)  it’s just the website I get them from has a great range of colours, unlike shops, are competitively priced and the logo comes FREE! Who can resists a freebie!

Books sold, Algernon, Post and Puzzle (for me anyway)

Last Monday I was actually partaking in an activity where I received money rather than giving it out all the time. I bit the bullet and took a large amount of my duplicate PAN’s to Astley Book Farm where I got paid for them. They were a very mixed collection and in all conditions but I was more than happy with the outcome. I have had several wants lists from fellow collectors and I don’t think any titles on those lists were included. Amazingly I came away without buying a book but I’d forgotten what a good shop Astley is and will be returning soon.

After mentioning recently the fact PAN often produced several film tie-ins and wondering why I picked up a copy of ‘Flowers For Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes which showed PAN didn’t always ‘push the boat out’ to publicise film tie-ins as it just has a sticker on it.

When I put the Hailey ‘Airport’ covers on last week I was hoping that by now I would have received the copy I found in France and so have accurate date etc. I have tracked it for the last two weeks via several places in France and Germany where it appears to be stuck. I’m also waiting for a couple of titles from eBay I bought on August 14th but the delivery date hasn’t run out yet! I think I’ll stick with books from Australia as they seem to arrive in days but I think my fastest record from a non UK source is one from San Francisco bought on a Monday which arrived on the following Wenesday. The record from the longest was ten months from Canada. The seller decided it was lost and gave me my money back. I later told him it had arrived but he kindly said it was now a present.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Facebook site for vintage paperbacks and pulps, I was nominating ‘Sam Chard’ by Don Bannister as a candidate for an awful cover award but then said I turned it over to find a small picture. This looks really familiar but I just can’t think where I’ve seen it before, as another cover perhaps, does anyone recognise?

Spotted this optimist on eBay last week. There were no takers for either of them and I wonder how many times the seller will reduce them till they get to a realistic level?

STOP PRESS The copy of ‘Airport’ from France is now somewhere in the UK!

Hailey’s Airport, another Classic and a booksellers shop.

I’m still intrigued as to why PAN felt the need to bring out so many different covers for the same title sometimes very close together. One example is ‘AIRPORT’ by Arthur Hailey with two editions from 1970, one from 1978 and another from 1979. The first two are both film tie-ins and the later ones sort of go with the different series covers. I’ve also included a couple of titles from film spin offs.

A while ago I started a page of covers of the early to mid 70’s PAN Classics series. I thought I had most of them until I popped into a local charity shop and amongst the few books on the shelf was a copy of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and I hadn’t got it. I had to think carefully about spending all of 50p even though it was buy one get one free …………..! This really doesn’t happen very often these days as anything published in the ‘last century’ doesn’t appear to be worth putting on the shelves in most charity shops.

I’ve previously mentioned my Great Great Great Grandfather Charles Lowe, who had a second-hand book shop in Birmingham, as my excuse for not being able to stop buying books although it doesn’t really convince my wife. I’ve tried to track down a photo of his premises for quite a while and have just found one in the Birmingham Library’s archives. It’s from around 1889 showing the shop as ‘To Let’  as looking in trade directories he is not listed in 1888 but as being there in 1890. Now to find one when it was a bookshop.


Erle Stanley Gardner, Frederick Pohl and a BYO Bookmark

Having just picked up a copy of ‘The Case of the Lazy Lover’ by E S Gardner from 1972 I looked at the back and found it was another title in the series that PAN occasionally called;Soritng out the covers that are the same style I find I have 15 Gardner’s so far and they can be seen HERE listed in date order. Please let me know if you have any more to add.

I also picked up an unread copy of ‘Farthest Star’ by Frederick Pohl and Jack Williamson and is the first title in the ‘Saga of Cuckoo’ series but only this title was published by PAN. It has been signed by Pohl who did it very carefully and I’ve resorted to taking a photo rather than putting it on the scanner so as not to force it open.The cover for ‘Farthest Star’ is by Bob Layzell and I contacted him and he kindly replied “I’m afraid I no longer have a copy of “Farthest Star” but you may use any photo’s from my albums. I remember the art director of Pan at that time was called Dave Larkin who was very helpful and introduced me to “Young Artists” This cover was also the first I had published in 1976′ It surprises me how many of the ‘Young Artists’ covers for PAN were recycled for the ‘Anticipation’ s/f series by Fleuve Noir in France.

I also picked up a bookmark for ‘Bind Your Own’ (BYO) and this time advertising a PAN tile ‘The Last Enemy’ unlike the last one which was for a Fontana title. With the PAN covers you can also see the Dell cover  of ‘Falling Through Space’ the title ‘The Last Enemy’ was given first in the States.How to turn a perfectly good book into one that isn’t in 10 minutes or less!

Gavin Tudor Lyall again and RIP Liz Fraser

Having been away for most of last week I’ve only got a couple of things with the first being another page of Gavin Lyall covers. Colin Thomas (see last blog) was the photographer for at least one of them along with Derek Askem and Andy Whale. I’ve written to a Derek Askem but might not have the right one, no response so far. I emailed Andy with my usual “I hope I’ve got the right person and if “Yes” have you got any recollections of working for PAN?” and he replied “Yes I had got the right person and how could he help?” I again repeated my question but still awaiting a reply. The later covers are HERE

There was a lot in the news about Burt Reynolds dying on September 6th but nothing about Liz Fraser who was in so many films from my youth – and a few from later such as the ‘Confessions’ series which I have to ‘confess’ to having on DVD. She was said to be “best known for her comedy roles as a provocative “dumb blonde” in British films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s” This still from the film ‘I’m All Right Jack’ with Liz Fraser and Ian Carmichael was used by Glenn Steward who painted the cover for the PAN film tie-in for G319 from 1959. Liz also appeared in ‘The Americanization of Emily’ with the film tie-in edition being a second printing from PAN as G490 from 1964.