After sifting through all the possibilities of what could be the theme of our first project, the idea blender started its thing and I got a call from Dennis inviting me to come out to his place to unveil a seed for the project.
Our first goal was to find a theme that best fit the vintage of the Continental Cafe game. Since we are industry guys first, we looked at this as an opportunity to make a game with a theme that we could never do in a commercial environment (even though some would say that some of our themes that we developed in-house we're a bit obtuse for the general public). We also wanted the theme to visually fit with a game from 1957. Of all the artists working in pinball back in the early years, Roy Parker is a big favorite among collectors and was an amazingly prolific artist. As Dennis points out, all of the people on Parker's backglasses are having as much fun as the person playing the game. So the mood of our project was definitely inspired by Mr. Parker's vast portfolio of happy people enjoying life in some decidedly American way.
Our second point of inspiration came from Dennis' appreciation for the lost art of Fruit Crate Labels. We actually worked together on a side project in the early '80's when Dennis thought we could tie into the Cabbage Patch Kid phenom by creating hand-built Fruit Crates that act as cribs for for the dolls. I did label art and Dennis built some prototypes...and I think we ended up giving them away to friends and family. But the point is Fruit Crate art is a unique and forgotten part of our culture that makes for good eye-candy.
And thirdly, we felt that you can't go wrong with Pin-Up art. The history of Pinball art has always been influenced by the great Pin-Up masters with many machines using the female form as a way to lure the customer over to the machine in the tavern or arcade. And again, since the base game of our project is from 1957, it makes sense to work in some influence from the haydays of pin-up art. And obviously, Fruit Crate art was also inspired by Pin-Up art. As a sidebar thought for the blender, we have also had success as a design team by employing the use of the double-entendre, so we thought it would be a great starting point to return to what's worked for us before on our first custom game.
So those are the broad influences that we used to get started. Then we hit the drawing board.
G & D
Credits: Daisy May Backglass by Roy Parker (photo courtesy of IPDB), source of "Foot High" crate label unknown, "Smoke Screen", 1958 by Gil Elvgren.