Monday, April 02, 2007

Obsessive Compulsions: Orson Welles and the Frozen Peas

The first in an occasional series of small valentines to the jagged shards of popular culture I keep stabbing into my insatiable brainmeat over and over again. As I incessantly relive these small and perfectly-formed moments of wonderment, the enthusiasm overflow is going to spill out right here.

Many years ago, whilst recording the narration for a Findus commercial in the UK, the great Orson Welles, in all his eloquent, curmudgeonly, Dionysian glory, starts sniping and arguing with the producer and the director. It’s all on tape. And it is phenomenal.

I cannot stop listening to this recording. I just can’t. For nearly two months now, whenever I need an irrational laugh, I listen to it. And it gets funnier every time. Partly because of Orson’s rumbling, irritable baritone. Partly because of his glorious turns-of-phrase. Partly because of the ineptitude of the crew working on the commercial, and their inability to placate the talent. Partly because of the surreal experience of hearing a great man arguing about something so patently trivial. It’s all here and more.

I’m not sure that I can articulate exactly why I love this so damn much. I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to. It’s enough to know that I do. And who needs my shapeless musings, when you can get at the good stuff yourself with a couple of canny keystrokes? For your edification (and for my own personal reference), here is a slew of stuff relating to that recording session and it’s crumb, crisp coating. Links ahoy!

To hear this piece of unintentional comedy gold, click here.

For greater detail on that recording session, as well as a transcript, click here.

For more Orson Welles insanity, here he is absolutely shit-faced trying to get through a Paul Masson wine commercial:

Some more Frozen Peas love! The classic episode of Pinky and the Brain entitled Yes, Always that spoofs the infamous recording session:

And one last thing – an interview with Maurice LaMarche who used Welles as the basis for The Brain’s voice, and some nice anecdotes about his own love affair with that tape.

Got all that? Good. Now, altogether now: “We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where Mrs. Buckley lives. Every July, peas grow there...”


b esalways said...

"Mmuahaaa! The French!"

Love it. This is also my first PINKY AND THE BRAIN, so I must look out for more.

I need new animation - as much fun as POCOYO is...

AKA said...

Aw, I love POCOYO! One of the only kid's shows I can enjoy just as much as my daughter does.