For the record, I have to state that I do not PERSONALLY think Orson Welles is a failure. But in order to create conflict and move the plot forward, I have to put comic-Tom in an aggressive stance and have him say something inflammatory to provoke our guest – Brian Carroll from Instant Classic.
Comic-Tom is taking the short view on Welles’s career. One mired by depression, morbid obesity and borderline alcoholism. All of which are handily (sadly) represented in these infamous out-takes from a commercial Welles did for California Champagne company Paul Masson.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the most visible representation of Welles in the last 15 years comes from this parody piece from The Critic. Which, I have to admit, played a role in defining Welles as a individual for me several years before I studied him or even knew who he was…
This, of course, being a satirical twist on the also infamous audio outtakes from a radio spot Welles did for a company that sold frozen peas.
Think about this for a minute: The director of what is argued to be The Greatest Motion Picture of All Time arguing with some marketing guy about the copy he’s being paid to read in a frozen peas radio commercial. It’s just… bizarre.
Of course, these late-career foibles are easy to reach for when you’re trying to make an argument against Welles and his impact. Personally, I think he was a genius. If maybe a genius who got in his own way a little too often.
But put it in context. If you made Citizen Kane and followed up with The Magnificent Ambersons, I think that means you pretty much get a free pass career-wise for the rest of your life. Those were two big, important, stylistically rich films that everyone not only needs to see, but to own. It’s important film history – work the set the template for countless films that followed.
There’s a reason everyone recognizes “Rosebud,” even if they don’t know what it means.
I don’t know if I would have been compelled to add this disclaimer under normal circumstances. But I’ve already gotten a few people writing to ask “Why do you hate Orson Welles.” I don’t hate Orson Welles. I think he’s awesome. I’m just sacrificing my comic avatar for the sake of moving the plot forward.
I think I’m going to wrap up this story line on Wednesday, so be sure to come back for that. Afterwords, it’ll be back to making fun of what’s currently in theaters!
See you then. Have a great day, everyone!
Welles made one great movie he spent the rest of his career trying to top! He was a man stuck in time who wasted all of his credibility before dying a bloated joke! A WASTE OF A LIFE!
A manic depressive voice-over artist and champagne pitch-man who squandered his genius.
You worship a failure.