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 the old Paul Masson wine brand.
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 reading of the line, “We will sell no wine before its time.”
Featured here are a few of his classic ads for Paul Masson, from both print and TV. 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
Orson Welles: Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time
Featuring actor Orson Welles: “Experts will tell you they drink Paul Masson Pinot Chardonnay because of its full varietal aroma, brilliant color and long pleasant finish. What they mean is… it tastes good.”
Orson Welles for Paul Masson’s chablis
This television commercial aired on May 5, 1980, and featured Orson Welles pitching the brand’s chablis:
Orson Welles for Masson Cabernet Sauvignon (1980)
Experts say Paul Masson Cabernet Sauvignon is a mature, complex wine, with nice wood. What they’re trying to say is… it tastes good.”