It's not every day that a publisher with two and a half employees secures a worldwide license with a Hollywood studio, but that's what happened to 23-year-old Surrey Publishing. In its first foray into licensing, it signed a four-book deal with MGM Consumer Products for the Pink Panther. Shag, a retro-hipster artist who has illustrated eight of Surrey's books on drinks and parties, also created original illustrations for MGM's Pink Panther 40th-anniversary licensing effort, a coincidence that led to the partnership. "We're thrilled beyond belief," said Susan Schwartz, Surrey's publisher. "The books are cool, sharp and hip."
The four books, written by Adam Rocke and Eve Lederman, include Pink Panther Cocktail Party, which includes a CD with music and video clips from Virgin Records' Pink Panther Penthouse Party; as well as a "cocktail deck"and a journal, which features classic Fritz Freleng animation images rather than Shag's work. Distribution includes gift and gourmet stores, retro furniture shops and Web sites. Although the books are not movie tie-ins, they should get a boost when MGM releases its Pink Panther film, starring Steve Martin, this fall.