Orson Welles was a remarkable talent. He scared the heck out of America with his 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. His Hollywood debut was Citizen Kane in 1941 — in which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred — and is often considered the greatest film of all time. Not bad for a first try. He also went on to make other critically acclaimed films, such as The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil.
As great an actor and director as Welles was, however, it would be remiss of us if we did not touch on some of his later, slightly less epic works.
Starting in the late 1970s, Welles was featured in a series of famous TV commercials for everything from frozen peas, to beer, to Paul Masson Vineyards. While it seems odd that such a distinguished and brilliant talent such as Welles would turn pitchman, it was obviously effective — sales of Paul Masson wines increased by one-third during the campaign, featuring Welles now classic baritone intonation “We will sell no wine before its time.”
Featured here is one of his classic ads for Paul Masson champagne. Of course, no mention of his commercial work is complete without some of the classic outtakes — and we’ve included one of those for your enjoyment as well.- AJW