Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Orson Welles in 'The Critic'

Orson Welles was one of the most interesting people to ever work in Hollywood. He was born in 1915. His mother was a concert pianist, who died when he was seven. He traveled the world with his father, a well-to-do inventor, who died when he was fifteen. After school, he tried unsuccessfully to enter the London and Broadway stages, traveling some more in Morocco and Spain (where he fought in the bullring).

In 1934, he appeared on radio for the first time. He began working with John Houseman and formed the Mercury Theatre with him in 1937. In 1938, he directed the Mercury Theatre On the Air in a dramatization of War of the Worlds, based on H.G. Wells' novel. Setting the events in then-contemporary locations and dramatizing it in the style of a musical program interrupted by news bulletins, complete with eye-witness accounts, it caused a nationwide panic, with many listeners fully convinced that the Earth was being invaded by Mars. Many lawsuits were filed against both Welles and the CBS radio network, but all were dismissed.

His first film to be seen by the public was Citizen Kane (1941), regarded by many as the best film ever made. Many of his films were commercial failures. He was married three times, to Virginia Nicholson, Rita Hayworth and Paola Mori, and had a child with each. Frank Sinatra was the godfather of he and Rita Hayworth's daughter, Rebecca Welles.

Welles was suggested as a possible suspect by author Mary Pacios, in Elizabeth Short's ("The Black Dahlia") mutilation murder in Los Angeles in 1947. Among other reasons, Pacios suggested Welles as a suspect because Welles' artwork for the surreal fun-house set in The Lady From Shanghai—although prepared three months before the murder—was similar in many ways to the mutilation and bisection of Elizabeth Short. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia, ordered the footage cut before release because of its disturbing resemblance to the murder.

Orson Welles with the only painting not cut from The Lady From Shanghai.
Welles said of himself that he "started at the top and worked his way down." He ended his career doing TV commercials and voice overs. George Lucas refused to have him as the voice of Darth Vader, because he was too well known.

But some people can't leave well enough alone.

The Critic was an animated TV show that ran for 23 episodes, from 1994-1995. The series was resuscitated on the internet in 2000. Ten 5-minute episodes were broadcast during 2000-2001.

The main character, Jay Sherman—a critic who has to review films he doesn't like for a living—was voiced by Jon Lovitz. The show included skits about prominent people, including Orson Welles. The following is a compilation of those skits into one video.
Yes, Rosebud Frozen Peas
Full of country goodness and green pea-ness.

    The Critic   

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