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

‘Drum’, ‘Three Restoration Comedies’ and a ‘new’ cover.

The first of the two covers by Hans Helweg this week is for T14 ‘DRUM’ from 1965 by Kyle Onstott. PAN produced at least three different covers with the first being slightly tweaked for the third varient of it where the figures are moved in front of the buildings., not really sure if that actually improves it!

The second Hans Helweg cover is for X356 ‘Three Restoration Comedies from 1965 which was also published as GP15 in 1953.with an introduction Norman Marshall. The three plays are ‘The Way of the World’ by William Congreve, ‘The Beaux’ Strategem’ by George Farquhar and ‘The Country Wife’ by William Wycherley. This is one in the ‘Famous Plays Series’ of which PAN published many over the years. I feel a page coming on!

It’s always a surprise to find an ‘new’ cover for the numbered sereis as I spotted on eBay. Unfortunately I was not the only one and the fierce bidding soon reached double figures, luckily I managed it for £10 which is about five times what I’d like to pay, It was from Milo in the Netherlands whom I’ve bought off before as he  had the less common covers but not for a while.  It was for X349 ‘The Battle at the Villa Fiorita’ of which I only had the film-tie in version but have now got another with the same date but a painted cover although I can’t spot an artists name. It looks as though it might be based on the hardback 1963 Macmillan edition cover as below painted by William Stobbs. I was intrigued to see the message on the back of the one I have just recieved that says ‘Special Open Market Edition’ which I’ve not noticed on a cover before. I found this which explains it Open market When rights have been granted exclusively in North America and the British Commonwealth the rest of the world is typically considered an open market. This means both the US and the British publisher may sell there’ 

Next weeks blog is a special with three Hans Helweg sets of sketches for covers with a very similar voyeuristic theme!

Happy Birthday Emily, H.H. update, ‘Totem’ and a new business card!

Tomorrow, July 30th, will be Emily Bronte’s 201st Birthday. All though she wasn’t a prolific writer at least PAN published one of her novels in several editions. Click HERE or HERE to see them. Here is an appropriate joke from the latest ‘Private Eye’ magazine.

This week has been mainly taken up with re-scanning book covers by Hans Helweg. As he did over 250 this will be a long term project. I’ve put together a page from my notes when we met Hans’ widow Sue and sent the URL to her. She was very happy with it, just a couple of tweaks and confirmations on details needed. It’s now back with her and waiting approval to launch it upon the world.

I spotted the above poster for ‘The Totem’ someone had posted on a Twitter feed and of course couldn’t help but spot the PAN logo, looks like another item to add to the ‘Wanted’ list. The book cover is another from George Sharp who says it’s modelled on himself.

For a long time my cheap and cheerful business cards have said the site celebrates 25 years of PAN Books when now that has been extended to 45+ years plus a newer tag line. You know sometimes an offer comes through that seems just too good to miss? Well this was that time and I’ve now got 1,000 cards for not much more than the price of 100. Gone for the minimalist look but double sided and this time no advert for Vistaprint on the back!

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!

The Man From ? and a couple of deaths.

Not PAN but I feel they missed a chance when I spotted these two titles. How good would it have been to have ‘The Man From PAN’ Maybe I need to write it?

Sorry to say there were two deaths last week, both on the 30th May and both with a PAN connection.

Wendell Ray Burton (July 21, 1947 – May 30, 2017) was an American television executive and former actor. He is best known for his co-starring role as Jerry Payne with Liza Minnelli in the 1969 film ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ with the book of the film being published by PAN in 1970 It was renamed “Pookie” in the UK after the character played by Minnelli.~

Molly Peters (15 March 1942 – 30 May 2017) was an English actress probably best known for her role as nurse Patricia Fearing in the James Bond film Thunderball. She features in the middle cell on the back cover of the 1965 edition. Just noticed on both of my copies they don’t have a UK price just the Australian one although they are both UK printings?

The Eric Tenney (non PAN) painting arrived last week and in spite of the best efforts of the seller to protect it, the carrier managed to smash the glass. Luckily the picture is fine and I was going to change the frame anyway.Finally had some great news this week in that we have at last got permission to go out on our local disused railway track to start clearing vegetation as we want to open it up as a leisure greenway. We walked it with the new Land Manger responsible for it and he was so enthusiastic I think we are still in shock after all the negativity we’ve had in the past. He even thought my hare-brained scheme was a good idea, namely to put back just a token piece of track (art installation?) All I need now is some rails, some sleepers and some very strong people!

Hedger (not Edgar) Wallace and another PAN boat.

I recently bought a ‘bumper bundle’ of bits relating to the book ‘End Quiet War’ by Hedger Wallace. Wallace was born in Winchester on the 14th October 1927 and died in Fulham in February 2000. IMDB has credited him with 56 appearances in films and on TV. In the package was a signed copy of the PAN edition, plus a letter included with the contract, the contract itself, a couple of photos and the original typed manuscript. The cover is by Paul Simmons who coincidently a while ago kindly sent me a photo of covers which included this title.

I also came across a book “Coming Down The Seine’ by Robert Gibbings which mentions Alan Bott and a different boat to the ‘Laloun’ which was also, apparently, used for shipping books from France. In September to coincide with the 70th anniversary of PAN issuing book numbered ‘1’ and the next 9 which were all printed in France I’ve got a great article from Gordon who was the mate on the ‘Laloun’ carry those first copies. I’ve tried to get PAN interested in his really entertaining memories but disappointingly they’ve not reacted so far.
I’ve asked Gordon if this might be a photo of the ‘Yarvik’ or just one with the same name although it is the right length and was built for war work. I’ll hopefully have an answer soon but Gordon is presently touring around on the continent.

Finally I’ve been emailing Linda who runs the entertaining ‘Catherine’ site. I knew of her via the ‘Angelique’ site run by Anna who mentioned it to me. Interestingly Linda has three PAN editions which are the same as the UK ones but are all printed in Canada. I mentioned to her I would need to contact my wife’s cousin who lives in Oakville (the same Oakville from where came Eric Monkman fans of University Challenge) to go out scouting for me. Linda is Swiss but actually learnt her English while living in Hamilton, literally next door to Oakville.

UPDATE: Gordon has just replied “Yes” same boat, more when he gets back from Bruges.

PAN and W H Smith

While looking on the ‘Illustrated007’ website I noticed Peter had a photo of shop window displays featuring PAN and James Bond. It was credited to just ‘Robin’ but after a couple of searches I found Robin to be Robin Harbour, the very well know James Bond fan who happens to live just a few miles from me.

RobinI contacted him and he very kindly called round with his scrapbooks so I could scan in all of his cuttings from the magazine ‘Contact’ the Smith’s in-house journal. Robin told me he worked at our local branch in the 60’s and was asked to throw out old copies of the magazine but luckily he removed several relevant pages before doing so.

In the 60’s W H Smith ran competitions for window displays and gave prizes. I  have included all the ones we know of HERE plus a couple of other articles relating to PAN and James Bond. If anyone knows any others or has original copies of the magazine I’d love to hear from you.

I discovered that the W H Smith’s archives are held at ‘The Museum of English Rural Life’ based at Reading University. They kindly looked through all the copies they have of  ‘Contact’ and could only find a reference in number 22. They have scanned in the cover which features PAN in a window display. They contacted W H Smith to obtain their permission for me to use it on my website, fortunately they said ‘Yes’

JB1Just think how much some of those items on display would go for today when they probably ended up in a bin somewhere but then again their value is in their scarcity.

Happy New Year

HarrySmallThis year I became a patron of the arts actually commissioning artwork. A while back I mentioned Colin Wyatt and how he drew for Playhour Comic taking over drawing ‘Harry Hamster’ from Peter Woolcock. I jokily asked Colin if he would be interested in resurrecting Harry for me and he replied he was more than happy to do so hence the new picture on the website front page. I’ve still not made a real connection between Harry and PAN but I’ve a good imagination!

Amongst my Christmas presents were two pieces of artwork by Glenn Steward namely the front and back covers for ‘That Magnificent Air Race’ the novelisation of the film ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’ by John Burke. I am still trying to work out how best to scan them as they are framed and under glass and I’m reluctant to cut it open. Here they are photographed through the glass, more on this book in a later blog.

I was also in communication with John Raynes just before Christmas asking if an anonymous cover was his? It was interesting it that it was the first time I’ve known PAN use the same artwork twice but for completely different titles, one from 1966 and the other 1976. John replied

What a cheek, to use the same artwork for completely different books – I’m amazed. I wonder which was first and whether the chap in the background is still there, just cut off in the Byrd cover – what can be seen of the free brush work looks the same. Anyway it’s not mine’

The answer to John’s question is ‘Yes’ the hand is still there and I’ll do a better scan of both covers soon. Does anyone know the artist?SameArt

Finally I’d like to say Happy New Year and here’s to many more blogs in 2016, keep those questions and comments coming.

PANs in Film etc.

bfi_logo_transp[1]Save Lunch SmallI think, from his Facebook posts, Johnny Mains is working his way through the British Film Institute catalogue. He let me know about one I’d not heard of namely “Lunch Hour” starring Shirley Anne Fields. In one of the scenes she is in a post office where there are a couple of shelves of PAN titles plus a carousel with some more. I started to try and list them all but then thought I’d get a life  instead. I did eventually work out the one in the carousel is “The Devil Never Sleeps by Pearl Buck. Click here to see a few more screen captures and feel free to make your own list.

Since I put on the page of Pamela Belle covers last week I’ve had a reply from artist  Fred Gambino in the States and he is going to see if he can find the original artwork he painted for the 1994 edition of ‘Silver City’ Fingers crossed.

photo[3]I’ve also heard back from Mike Pretty who gives an interesting insight into Raplh Vernon-Hunt amongst the following;
Yes, still working for the Eden Project, though thanks to the wonders of modern technology I’m working for them in Australia, having married again, this time to a Sheila.
I worked at Pan from 77-82, running Picador, reporting to Sonny Mehta. (I previously worked at Jonathan Cape, and Sonny claimed he hired me because I was presumably able to cope with Tom Maschler, which he couldn’t. I like to think I had other talents, though!) I knew Ken Hatherley, and other people you have mentioned, like George Sharp and Peter Tietjen (I remember him turning himself into Zaphod Beeblebrox for the launch of Hitchhikers Guide and blowing up his second head!). Also Dave Larkin, John Marsden, Jacqui Graham, Gary Day-Ellison, Geoff Mulligan etc etc. Expect I’ll be able to dredge up a few more names if I try hard, but it was over 30 years ago…
Ralph Vernon-Hunt was still MD while I was there. He had a disconcerting habit of farting loudly during meetings as I recall…he once called me a poof because I was wearing red shoes!
I was lured away from Pan to work with Carmen Callil at Chatto & Windus, but that’s another story.
I confess my interest in Pan books themselves these days wanes around the mid-60s, my youth in other words. In recent years I have amassed quite a collection of Pans (including a lot I bought the first time round, particularly the war books). I’ve even found a few in Oz, although the climate isn’t kind to cheap paperbacks, what with the heat, the damp and the termites.
I find your site most enjoyable.

Cheers, and more power to your blog.
Thanks for the kind words Mike.

‘The Film Classics Library’

‘White Rabbits’ or whatever you are supposed to say on the first of the month for luck but it’s not worked with the weather, where is Flaming June? Certainly not here in the UK but moving on to more important things …….

I’ve sent many a happy hour looking through the eight(?) titles in the Richard J. Anobile series ‘The Film Classics Library’ studying for quizzes but I don’t think any have actually cropped up as questions so far! For those who may not have seen them they consist of thousands of stills from the films plus dialogue and even the start and end credits (quiz goldmine) The maltesenallPAN published four titles under the Picador imprint and Darien House, Flare Books / AVON published another four all of which can be seen HERE There are some variations in the cover stills between the UK and US editions and I’ve just scanned the versions I have. I particularly like the shot in ‘Stagecoach’ where there is a pan following the coach through Monument Valley as I can say I’ve stood on John Ford Point from where he filmed it.Stageback

I’ve also found the last of the Cartland titles I knew I had and was looking for last week plus I’ve added ‘Mazes 2’ which eventually arrived in the post but still no sign of ‘Mazes for Fun 4’

Vladimir Koziakin Mazes

Bit shorter blog than usual because of my father-in-laws funeral last week and also because of the non arrival of a couple of books that should have been with me quite a while ago. I found I had three of the four Mazes For Fun titles published under the Piccolo imprint so I bought number 4 plus the PAN ‘Mazes Book 2’  to go with number 1 all by Vladimir Koziakin. These are the two covers I wanted to scan and would normally wait but have decided to go ahead without them this time. Apart from possibly being Russian I can’t find much about Koziakin, does anyone know any more? He was a prolific producer of mazes with themed titles such as ‘The Hardy Boys Mazes’, “Flash Gordon Mazes’, ‘Greatest Car Mazes’ and ‘Monster Movie Mazes’ but these were not published by PAN.


A sample page from ‘Mazes for Fun 3’

……… and just when I thought I’d completed my Cartland challenge I find I’ve mislaid one of the titles! I thought there were 133 with the pictorial covers but I have now scaled down to 129 as 4 of the last few turned out to be film tie-ins so have photos on a pink background. Be warned, these will appear later!