Bantam Publications, Inc. was a branch/subsidiary of Western Printing & Lithographing of Racine Wisconsin. Western went on to a much longer and successful publishing program in 1942 as a partner with Dell Books. LA Bantam was a bit of a mystery to collectors and researchers for quite a while. Here are quotes from some books:
"Making its debut in 1940 and terminating in 1942, the line of L.A. Bantams ran to approximately thirty titles." Allen Billy Crider (editor), Mass Market Publishing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982), p. 167.
"A series of twenty-nine books published by Western Publishing and Lithographing, they were distributed on the West Coast ... in the late 1930s." Thomas L. Bonn, Undercover: An Illustrated History of American Mass Market Paperbacks (New York: Penguin, 1982), p. 123.
"In 1940 Western produced a short-lived series of paperbacks...; 29 - 33 titles, perhaps seven with pictorial covers." William H. Lyles, Putting Dell on the Map (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1983) p. 6.
There are other examples. Since the early 1980s the number published has been confirmed at 29 with nine illustrated covers. The details are:
Numbers 1 - 28 have at least one version of the type-only covers; numbers 21 - 28 and A1 have illustrated cover editions.
There is still confusion about when the books were published thanks to Bantam not providing a print date, just a copyright date. There is some external evidence that narrow the publishing dates which I'll look at in a later post.
Here are the next eight LA Bantams plus some covers.
9 Enter the G-Men William Engle
10 1000 Facts Worth Knowing anon.
11 How to Win and Hold a Husband Lucille Martin
12 The World's Great Love Affairs Eleanor Packer
13 Children's Favorite Stories E. Lewis (ed.)
14 The Lone Ranger and the Secret of Thunder Mountain Fran Striker
15 Poems of Passion Ella Wheeler Wilcox
16 Grimms' Fairy Tales Emily Wayne
Bantam Publications 12
Bantam Publications 15
Bantam Publications 24 (illustrated edition)