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Orson Welles and a Little Too Much Paul Masson

Posted by perle0 on 2006-10-19 01:29:15 (13718 views)

If you're of a certain age, you probably remember the commercials that an aging Orson Welles did for Paul Masson wines. They featured the memorable tag line: "We will sell no wine before its time." In my house, this led to frequent shouting of "It's time to sell some wine!" often accompanied by pantomimes of turning empty pockets inside-out. (Yes, we may have been lame, but we did have fun--and a tasty beverage--on occasion.)

As it turns out, Welles may have gotten some of the inspiration from a source other than his theatrical muse--namely, the wine bottle, as this video shows.

The sad thing here is, of course, that Welles was an amazingly talented actor and director. He was the leading actor and the director of Citizen Kane, considered by many critics to be the best American film of all time. And many with less refined tastes have at least heard of the little ruckus he created with his 1938 radio drama adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds--a story so well-told that many tuning in halfway mistook it for real.

It's a shame that Hollywood could find so little to offer this talented man that he had to turn to commercials to earn a few bucks.

But, lest you think poor Orson made a terrible shill for affordable California wines (which were only just beginning to be recognized for their quality at the time), check out this video to see what a class act he could make of those commercials when everything was going a bit more smoothly.


Welles of Masson
Posted by Claritacola on 2006-11-08 11:31:02
hey kim!

Thanks for taking me down memory lane with the orson welles spots for paul masson. as a kid, i always thought he was cheesy.

i will say this, though, in defense of mister welles; the thin man has to be the best film noir film (pardon the pun) ever!!!!!

clare bourgoyne

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