Orson Welles’ G & G Whisky Ads

Japanese booze companies have a long history of recruiting western movie stars to peddle their products, assuring the actors that the ads will never be seen is the US. (In the 70s and 80s, they hadn’t, of course, accounted for the invention of Youtube.)
I’ve written in the past about the embarrassing Japanese commericals of Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Gene Hackman. Those guys were at the peak of their careers and shamelessly making a fast buck, but in the 1970s, no one was more washed up and desperate for cash than Orson Welles, who appeared in ads for G & G Whiskey in 1979. He was so bloated by then he only appears from the chest up!

Quite a step down for the director and star of Citizen Cain.

Welles, at least, was qualified to talk about whisky: he was a total piss-head, as you can see in these out-takes from another of his alcohol ads:

You see, although he gives the G & G Whisky brand a touch of class, the evident decline in his career was, ironically enough, a great advertisement for sobriety.

Welles’ most humiliating career low was yet to come, however, in the form of a commercial for Findus frozen peas. He berated the director, declared that the script was “shit” and stormed out of the recording session. You can hear the hilarious, oft-bootlegged out-takes below.

Via Japan Probe and Mari’s Diary

8 Responses to Orson Welles’ G & G Whisky Ads

  1. billywest says:

    Actually, Welles did some commercials in America for a cheap-ass brand of wine. At the end of the commercial, he always said, “We will serve no wine before its time.”

    They started selling that crap in a box during the 80s.

  2. He used the money from these ads for his film projects, which he found it difficult to get funding for, despite being lauded (by this time) as having made the greatest film of all time.

    You have to admit, there’s few others who could make the copy for a whisky ad sound like Shakespeare.

  3. roaf says:

    He certainly comes out of the whisky ads with his dignity intact. But frozen peas?

    Billy- I went through a stage of drinking a lot of boxed wine when I first came to Japan because it’s so cheap. Terible hangovers, though!

  4. His last work as an actor was in “Transformers: The Movie”. At least the frozen peas clip is entertaining.

  5. roaf says:

    Haha! The sad thing is, you just know there are probably guys out there who think that Transformers was the pinnacle of his career.

  6. A friend of mine was disturbingly enthusiastic when he played some Youtube clips of it to me recently…

  7. Tisha says:

    I just found this post by search engine, you got something interesting topics here. Definitely going to visit daily as i do on http://www.rapidpig.com/Now+That's+What+I+Call+Club+Hits+(2009).html. Cheers.

  8. I’m not sure how you could prove that it was your original material., though i know anything you write is technically copyrighted.

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