October 5, 2017 posted by Steve Stanchfield

A Look At “Cuphead” (2017) and it’s Inspiration: “The Picnic Panic” (1935)

Happy fall, cartoon folks!

In the world of Thunderbean:

There’s a bunch of sets in some sort of progress, and this past handful of days has been working on other than my own projects. I hope to put finishing touches on several projects in the next week as soon as I can get back to them. Fleischer Rarities still in progress but basically done at this point as well as the Little King Special set, Cartoons to the Rescue and All Scrappy/ All Warners.

On these various past offers, I still get a ton of emails asking for this or that special set or if this or that pre-order is available. After saying “no” for many months, I decided to put together a list of everything that is in a pre-order state as well as the ‘Special’ discs and make them available for one more week (now through October 12). Here is the list, on the IAD forum. If there’s anything you missed that you’d like, it’s a good time, as it’s getting harder here to do all the ‘special’ sets. All proceeds will go to help get the various Thunderbean sets finished. Thanks to everyone that has helped ‘crowd fund’ these efforts in this way.

From the world of gaming comes an excellent homage to 30s animation

The new game Cuphead for computers and PS 4 Xbox One, was just released. This game features hand drawn animation in an early to mid-30s style, and does a great job of creating a really fun and unusual look. The game has an amazing amount of levels and backgrounds, with many tip of the hats to classic cartoons. It’s fun to just watch a lot of the game play on youtube if you can avoid obnoxious ‘gamers’ reviewing it while onscreen! Just type ‘Cuphead’ into youtube and you’ll see the many, many uploads.

Here’s a little sample:

Here’s a few of the homages on the parts of the game I’ve seen that I liked especially:

The ‘Comi-Color’ homage title (here’s one of the originals and their version)

Here’s some lucky guy holding the original prop book used in those old Iwerks cartoons main titles.

Their ‘Father’ is a dead ringer for the father in Van Beuren’s The Picnic Panic (1935)

From “Cuphead”

From “Picnic Panic” (1935)

There’s a sequence that pays a nice little tribute to the greta backgrounds in the Cab Calloway sequence from the Fleischer Betty Boop cartoon Snow White.

Since The Picnic Panic seems to be a pretty big source of some of the inspiration, I thought I’d put it up here. It’s a fun little short, and we’re currently working on a restored version for the final Rainbow Parades Blu-ray. The original title card was lent to me by my friend and fellow cartoony guy Kevin Osgood.


Have a good week everyone!


  • Steve,

    Thanks for the Estimated Times of Arrival on the IAD page. Not that I ever doubt that you’ll deliver eventually, but it is reassuring to get at least an idea of when I can expect the discs to arrive, though I understand those ETAs are not carved in stone.

  • That should be the Xbox One, not the PS4, Steve.

  • Hey Steve,

    Do you combine shipping if multiple discs are ordered? I may have to pick up several of these and was wondering if you ship them out all at once.

  • I’ve never seen PICNIC PANIC complete. I have a 16mm print, but it’s missing the live action opening and closing and, after the titles, goes right into Mr. and Mrs. Coffee Pot’s picnic. Can’t say I regret too much the missing live action stuff. I’d have hated to sit through very much of that. I liked the earlier Van Beuren cartoons much better than these later Silly Symphony knock-offs. The earlier ones weren’t always terribly funny, but they at least had an appealing weirdness about them.

  • Obnoxious gamers? Really?

    Have you not considered that some of us LIKE these “obnoxious gamers” or even ARE these “obnoxious gamers”, you are disrespecting and insulting?

    • He definitely was joking, since he teaches college students how to design obnoxious games!!! Relax! LOL

    • NSX…..sorry; I should have clarified that: I didn’t mean *all* gamers of course- or even all reviewers (there’s lots of fun ones). Why would I write a review of a game and insult gamers (people) in general? To be fair, it’s a leap to say I was disrespecting or insulting anyone. There’s lots of reviews of this game already, and, some of them are, by anyone’s estimation, difficult to listen to at best. I was just pointing out in a comical way that the popularity of the game means you might by accident, and fairly easily, find some really noisy reviews by excited you tubers with questionable taste or watchability. I hit four of those being finding a decent one. One of them actually included an opening with a melody played with fart noises. Now, *that* truly is obnoxious!

    • Besides obnoxious gamer reviews is more likely to mean that the reviews are obnoxious not the class of “gamers”. Like saying a
      ‘short Buddhist treatise’. It means a short treatise on Buddhism not a treatise for short Buddhists.

    • NSX Have you considered that by getting bent out of shape that you’re basically proving him right?

  • It’s great that people in gaming are paying tribute to early-to-mid ’30s cartoons. Sure, there was Doug TenNapel’s Earthworm Jim, but he no longer has the rights to that for now…

  • Never really noticed it before but the prop book Jerry is holding, is not the same prop used in the cartoon films…. No music score artist credits, and the coloring of the hinge binder is different as well as in the Comicolor icon

    • The prop book I’m holding was used in the opening titles for THE QUEEN OF HEARTS (1934). Here’s a frame grab:


  • I love A Picnic Panic, which I think is the title, not The Picnic Panic. No doubt it was some of the inspiration for Cuphead, but Cuphead seems to me to be inspired by the whole 30s animation look and feel, and in full technicolor. It is gorgeous to look at. However I think it is sad that Molly Moo Cow did not get even a mention. She was not a big star, but she was a fine little star, and A Picnic Panic, although she got no billing, was her first film. I thought she did a great job.

  • Unfortunetly the youtube review culture it can be very toxic. Whether its movies, video games or some thing else, the resent CA fallout is good example of this. But there are also good channels out there.

    But there have been plennty of video games over the years based on classic characters
    Disney: Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy,
    MGM: Tom and Jerry
    Warner Bros: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Speedy Gonzales
    Fleischer: Popeye, Betty Boop
    Famous: Casper
    Walter Lantz: Woody Woodpecker
    Pat Sullivan Studio: Felix the Cat
    Terrytoons: Mighty Mouse
    DFE: Pink Panther

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