The not-so-finest hours of Orson Welles

With the passing of Dungeons & Dragons co-founder Gary Gygax the other day, we linked to a retro TV commercial for the role-playing game. Thanks to the magic of “related videos,” we also stumbled across this baffling ad for the board game Dark Tower. Starring Orson Welles. Board game. Orson Welles. To be fair, this kind of commercial work was one of the only sources of financing for Welles’ independent film work late in his career. He shilled wine, whiskey and uncensored TV, among other things. The notoriously difficult Welles had a few infamous commercial moments, including a blatantly drunk champagne pitch. My favorite, though, was when he walked out in protest of a poorly written ad for frozen peas. If nothing else, it inspired the most brilliant parody that ever appeared on ABC’s The Critic. But don’t think I’m mocking one of Hollywood’s greatest talents for his willingness to earn a buck. It’s not like he was the only one. UPDATE: In the comments, Marc Arsenault points us to yet another Orson Welles frozen-peas parody, this time from Pinky and The Brain. Maurice LaMarch, the brilliant voice talent behind both this clip and the one from The Critic, reportedly was inspired by the pea rant when he originally created The Brain’s personality.

—Posted by David Griner