Orson Welles - Behind the Scenes

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Postby Guest » 01/21/07 02:17 PM

Orson Welles was a pitchman for Paul Mason wines for some time, earning a good fee for renting his voice and presence.

See this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBayVvFA6S8&NR for an example of what TV viewers saw.

See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcKrOCRn ... ed&search= for a peek behind the scenes and why working with Orson wasn't always a walk in the park.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/07 02:46 PM

Wow! When he was good, he was very, very good.... When he was bad...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/07 03:01 PM

Many years ago I, too was drunk once in a while. I'm glad as hell there were no video cameras around to catch it.

This exhibits the genuinely ugly side of things like YouTube, where this type of illegally-obtained bootleg footage can now be broadcast around the world and people humilated with absolutely no negative counter-balance to the idiots who post it.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/07 04:08 PM

Rita Hayworth had Alzheimer's before they knew what the disease was...people were certain it was simply the drinking...so you never know.

Ugly side of YouTube indeed! The world is now sadly littered with the cutting room floor.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/07 10:07 PM

I, too, have had a few glasses from the flowing bowl, but I never showed up for a gig too drunk to work. Orson inconvienced the entire shooting staff for what was a rather simple job, well within his abilities to complete in short order had he chosen to stay sober.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/07 10:12 PM

Alcoholics usually can't "chose" to stay sober.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/07 10:55 PM

Welles father was an alcoholic but I have never heard that he was. Perhaps he'd already done too many takes that day or perhaps he was merely acting...
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Postby Guest » 01/22/07 01:05 AM

Originally posted by Garland:
The world is now sadly littered with the cutting room floor.
That's a great line!
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Postby Noel Grassy » 01/22/07 12:52 PM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Welles father was an alcoholic but I have never heard that he was. Perhaps he'd already done too many takes that day or perhaps he was merely acting...
Good point! He was superb at "dead pan" and I've heard him admonishing producer types [re: The Jolly Green Giant voice overs] for simple grammar mistakes in the copy. So he seemed to be too much of a pro to really be dotted this much. Besides who'ld keep the tape rolling for such a display?
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Postby Guest » 01/22/07 01:40 PM

I never heard where Welles was the voice of the Jolly Green Giant. The credit has always been for Herschel Bernardi, an excellent actor who was also the voice of Charlie the Tuna. He played the taciturn detective Lt. Jacobi on Peter Gunn and was nominated twice for a Tony.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/07 03:44 PM

The Jolly Green Giant was, I heard, Ted Cassidy--who played Lurch in the Addams Family!
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/22/07 03:45 PM

The voice over Orson Welles did (or tried to do) was for Findus (the peas being one of several products.) Most people would listen to the audio of this session, screw up their faces and think Welles was just being "difficult to work with" but those of us who've done this work will empathize with Welles' reaction to poorly written copy.

There's a link to an MP3 of the audio at the bottom of this Wikipedia entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_Peas

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/07 08:04 PM

When you see masterful films that Orson Welles was able to make by taking stupid jobs like this just for the money (films such as Othello, Mr. Arkadin, Chimes at Midnight, and F for Fake, along with The Other Side of the Wind and The Magic Show, which haven't been completed or officially released), it's a bit easier to witness what must have been, for him, extremely humiliating.
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Postby Guest » 01/22/07 09:38 PM

Sir Lawrence Olivier was one of the very first major stars to appear in a commercial, well before Orson starting his career as a shill. Polaroid paid Olivier $300,000 to do one spot. Everyone liked it and Larry cashed the check, apparently without a bit of humiliation.

I was once told from someone who'd been on the set that Orson referenced Mason wines off camera as "horse **** ," but he took their money, shilled for them by renting whatever public prestige and believability he still had with the public, and cashed the check.

The films of his magic that I've seen weren't even remotely good performances except for the beginning one which had John and Cathy Daniel as assistants and the last performance which came off because he'd been taught the Hindu Yarn by Mike Caveney. All the other material in between was pretentious and, in most cases, unintelligible.
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Postby Guest » 01/23/07 05:18 AM

welles was the voice and face of Domeque sherry here in the uk.
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Postby Guest » 01/25/07 04:13 PM

There are a number of Hollywood luminaries who happily shill for products outside the US. Japan seems a large market for this.

Some years back my wife and I were involved in a project with Arnold Palmer. Our rep was back at his management group and saw a check come in from Japan, the six-month royalty check for Arnold Palmer golf socks. It was for $250,000.
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