A late-vintage Orson Welles entertains and inspires parody in these four clips:
UPDATE: I probably put these in the wrong order. Start with third one; a booze-soaked Welles staggers through failed takes of one of his classic Paul Masson spots from around 1980. It gets better with every viewing.
First clip: Orson Welles agitating in a voiceover session for a frozen peas commercial. I heard this for the first time about 12 years ago, had forgotten all about it, and rediscovered it last night with the pleasure of seeing an old friend. YouTube clips with a single image and audio usually annoy me, but this still shot of Welles holding ad copy with a vicious scowl of pure contempt perfectly seasons this rant. Plus, I imagine he’d have stormed out of the studio if only he could’ve extracted himself from the chair. (It runs a little long, so even if you don’t play the whole thing, don’t miss the parody clip posted next.)
Next up: Short, delightful parody of the frozen peas rant from the sadly underappreciated animated show “The Critic.”
Clip de Trois: Somehow, I’ve managed to miss this clip until now. A stellar reel of outtakes with an enormous, inebriated Orson Welles filming a late 1970s/early 1980s Paul Masson commercial. The other actors look as if they are helplessly watching a house burn down. I vow to start every conversation tomorrow with Welles’ flourishing “mwaaaaaaAAAAAAAHH, the French . . .” (And by the way, I know “Clip de Trois” is incorrect. Of course it’s “Clippé de Trois.”)
Fourth clip: The third clip led to this parody link, with Groundlings and United Citizens Brigade performer James Adomian doing a hilarious, flawless impersonation of Welles in the Paul Masson spot. I’m not sure which one makes me laugh harder.