King Features Holiday Greeting “Audition Reel”

One of the cleverest animated Holiday Greetings I’ve seen this year came from King Features, the folks who manage the careers of Popeye, Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, Flash Gordon, Dennis the Menace, The Phantom, Mutts, Mr. Bill, Blondie and Dagwood – among others…

King’s VP Creative Frank Caruso wrote and directed the piece working with Smiley Guy Studios (in Toronto) to do the animation. He told me, “I really wanted to take the characters out of their all too familiar environments and make them REAL for the ‘audition’…”

“Real” or not – its pretty good. Click here (or image above) to see it.


  • http://farleftside.com Mike Stanfill

    Clever production but, Oh My Dog, come into the 21st century, King Features.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I think it’s best if they’re left behind anyway!

  • eeteed

    why do olive and bluto have 5 fingered hands, but popeye only has 4 fingered hands?

  • wever

    ….. wow some of those voices were bad.

    • http://www.trevour.com Trevour

      Yeah, the limited animation, gags, and worn-in tape effects were fine by me, but some of those voices made me cringe. Especially the unconvincing ho-hum casting director voice – Ben Stein himself would’ve been more lively.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Cartoonnetwork

    I thought it was great, limited animation and all. And there are some ‘modern’ characters there like Jeremy from Zits or the characters of Mutts. The only part I didn’t like was the photo-finish, since they are not animated there it does look stale.

    But I always love to see anything with Popeye and Betty Boop in it.

  • http://www.smileyguy.com Mike Valiquette

    Thanks for the shout-out Jerry! This was great fun to work on. All the artwork came directly from the King Features library, and our crew at Smiley were psyched to be getting their hands on iconic characters like these. That chance just doesn’t come along too often. Mat Garbulinski was our in-house director, and Joel Gregorio did the amazing effects work. The vision came from Frank, and despite some tight deadlines and a natural disaster in NYC, I think our team pulled it off. Happy holidays!

  • http://deaniac.deviantart.com Deaniac

    I love how the Zits footage cut Jeremy off right as he was about to make a certain explicative. Didn’t get the Mutts one though…

    I thought the whole clip was very amusing.

  • http://www.portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    ohhhhhhhhhh, my GOD! Talk about “Holiday CHEER!” Thank YOO! Fantastick!!

  • Kevin Martinez

    I love how The Fleischer Popeye interpretation is so iconic, that even in a King Features reel, they use it instead of any of the newspaper comic incarnations.

    Says a lot about the power of cartoons.

  • Mapache

    Gretings form the past!

  • http://blog.mrcreativeshop.com MR Creative

    Great job! Fun stuff…

  • Jake

    why dont you guys get Billy West for Popeyes voice instead of all these other terrible voices. He is exact to Jack Mercer.

  • http://youtube.com/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    Pretty cool, though I missed the Katzenjammer Kids…