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The Inside Story of Orson Welles' Drunk Wine Commercial


Vidor
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 I was driving just a few days ago and passed where someone had sat a bunch of cardboard boxes out by the curb for recycling and one of them was for PAUL MASSON And I had to imitate that wonderful bizarre pathetic drunken laugh of Orsons and say out loud to myself:

“aHaHa HaHAHAHaHa!!! PAUL MASSON:  the finest Califormian champagne!!!”

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6 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Nice to get the full story.  I had seen the outtakes a few years ago, and I just presumed he was drunk.

 

Oh I'm pretty sure he was drunk and just making excuses to the poor guy who wrote the article above.

Anyway, those outtakes manage to be both hysterical and depressing, as one can't watch them and not think about how poor Orson couldn't get better work.

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You will find this first hand account on Wellesnet.

drunken

Director recalls drunken Orson Welles wine commercial

March 23, 2021

 

Orson Welles fans cringe — and YouTube users snicker — when they see a TV commercial outtake of the seemingly drunken actor-director hustling for Paul Masson.

The embarrassing footage, originally passed around for years on VHS tapes, went viral in the digital age and has inspired numerous “Ah, the French” memes.

But veteran British commercial producer and director Peter Shillingford, who was the assistant director on the infamous shoot, offered a compassionate account of the incident in a recent interview with Mel magazine‘s Brian VanHooker.

Shillingford recalled how Welles had a contentious relationship with the ad agency men because he insisted on rewriting the copy. Welles appreciated how Shillingford kept them at arm’s length during the shoot.  “I never saw an outburst from him, but there were confrontations between him and the agency, even though he always changed their dialogue for the better.”

Welles shot eight commercials between between 1978 and 1981, always proclaiming “Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time.” He was credited with boosting sales for the California winery by 30 percent. (The “French champagne” commercial was the the fifth in the ad series and debuted in early 1980.)

Shillingford described working with Welles during those commercial shoots as a “bundle of laughs.”

“I’d stay with him at lunchtime too. I’ve read that he’d demand these huge meals, but he never ate lunch on the shoots I did with him. I’d sit with him and have a snack and he’d tell stories of old Hollywood and they were outrageous,” Shillingford said. “Those were magic times.”

On the day of  the “French champagne” shoot, Welles’ limousine arrived two hours late for the 10 a.m. shoot at a Los Angeles mansion, Shillingford recalled. He was beckoned to the limo by Welles, who appeared to be drunk, sleepy and mumbling.

“I’m in trouble, Shillingford,” Welles told him. “Last night I was filming in Las Vegas. We had camera problems so the shoot went late — to dawn! I have not slept at all!”

He explained that he had taken a sleeping pill when he left Las Vegas to sleep in the limo, but it had only just begun kicking in and his speech was beginning to slur.

Welles attempted three takes to poor results and the dismay of the ad agency reps.

Shillingford arranged for Welles to take a nap in one of the mansion bedrooms for a few hours in hopes of salvaging the shoot.

“By 3 p.m. he’d been seated, and he delivered the lines perfectly. We were done by five, getting everything we needed without overtime. I remember him grinning at the furious agency guys as he walked away from the set.”

Schillingford added, “On the way to the limo, he thanked me and said, ‘Lunch tomorrow, Shillingford, Ma Maison! One o’clock?’”

“Of course I accepted. How could I refuse?”

* * *

 

The finished TV commercial for Paul Masson’s champagne:

 

The three aborted takes:

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On 3/26/2021 at 3:51 AM, Vidor said:

Few things have made me literally laugh until I cried, but the outakes of this commercial were one of them.

 

https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/orson-welles-drunk-wine-commercial

Sorry, but a few seconds in a box took over my PC screen requesting the entry of my e-mail address I assume in order for someone to send me some more of the SPAM they were trying to pester people with.   So I didn't get to read all the text or see any outtakes.

Sepiatone

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30 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Sorry, but a few seconds in a box took over my PC screen requesting the entry of my e-mail address I assume in order for someone to send me some more of the SPAM they were trying to pester people with.   So I didn't get to read all the text or see any outtakes.

Sepiatone

Scroll up a bit.  Bogie56 posted a story that covers the same ground as the linked article.

Also, I just "x"ed out of the email address request to read the original article.

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