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Hank Janson

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Category: Literature
Reference No: 339
Status: Available
Price: £395.00
  Hank Janson

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Cult British writer of pulp fiction.
Hank Janson was the pen-name adopted by Stephen D Frances when he created the Janson character and wrote the first of the books, a novella entitled When Dames Get Tough, in 1946. The name seemed to him to have the right "hardboiled American" ring to it - in fact, "Hank" was chosen as the forename mainly because it rhymed with "Yank"!
Frances went on to write all of the 'classic era' (1946-1953) Hank Janson books, and many of the later ones too, although almost all of the post-1959 novels (the last was published in 1971) were the work of different authors and of inferior quality.
After trying his hand at a number of different jobs, and writing a few newspaper articles, Frances founded a small publishing company, Pendulum Publications, in 1944. This company published When Dames Get Tough, and its follow-up Scarred Faces.
Frances then struck a deal with publisher Reginald Carter, and the remainder of the "classic era" books - subdivided into five regular series and a number of "specials" - were published by a succession of Carter's companies. In 1952, Frances actually sold all the rights in "Hank Janson" to Carter.
The huge success of the Hank Janson books gave Frances a comfortable lifestyle and made him something of a minor celebrity - although he was reluctant to be interviewed and on the few occasions when he was, he insisted on appearing "undercover" in a mask and a hat, and with his body bulked up with sweaters (to disguise the fact that he in no way resembled the Janson image!).
In the early 1950's Frances moved to Spain, a smart move in that he escaped the main impact of the prosecutions brought against the Janson books at that time under the Obscene Publications Act, which resulted in Carter being sent to jail. When he later returned to England, Frances was acquitted of all the charges against him after claiming that he did not write the Janson books - which was strictly true, as he dictated them into a dictaphone and they were then transcribed by a typist!
Frances continued writing into the 1970's, although the last Hank Janson novel that can be reliably attributed to him was published in 1963. He died in 1989, at his home in Spain, of emphysema.

This is a unique black and white "Latimer of London" photograph, laid to a mount (overall dimensions approximately 12" x 9"), signed and inscribed in blue fountain pen ink to the lower border ("To the Ted-Mor Boys Club, with sincere best wishes from Hank Janson"). A little age toning and occasional very minor bumping to the edges, but overall condition is very good.

This is an amazing item. A leading authority on Hank Janson confirmed that this was, to the best of his knowledge, the ONLY known signed Hank Janson photograph in existence. He then asked permission to use this image on his definitive website. Since that time the image has been captured by internet search engines and is the only image to be offered (check Google Images).
A true "one-off"!