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Robin Garr

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Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Robin Garr » Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:07 pm

A discussion on the Netscape Forum about old television wine commercials ("Chill a Cella" and "Little old wine maker, me") led inexorably to Orson Welles intoning "Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time."

This led in turn to a fishing expedition on YouTube, which turned up not only this clip showing the original Welles ad, plus an outtake that's both funny and pitiful, this film clip showing an obviously "over-served" Welles repeatedly screwing up a take of the commercial.

I thought these clips were too funny not to share on this forum, too, so here you are! :)
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DebA

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by DebA » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:02 pm

Oh my...I remember this commercial RG! The out takes are definitely more entertaining, although, they tend to diminish Mr. Welles' rather autocratic bearing. ;)
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Ian Sutton

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:27 pm

I'm guessing Paul Masson indeed didn't sell wine before it's time, that time being the 1970's :wink:
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Robin Garr

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Robin Garr » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:41 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:I'm guessing Paul Masson indeed didn't sell wine before it's time, that time being the 1970's :wink:


Ian, I remember visiting Harrod's in London in the early '80s and being bemused to find that Paul Masson was one of the few American wines readily available in Blighty. "What must they think of us," I wondered ...
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Bob Ross

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Bob Ross » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Thanks for the link, Robin -- hilarious. I'll beef up my essay on this advertisement thanks to you; here's the current version on WQ101:

The most memorable U.S. wine campaign ever was Orson Welles intoning, "We will sell no wine before its time," for the Paul Masson brand in the late seventies, and the image stuck: of wine as a special-occasion drink, which should be drunk in the right year, using the appropriate glasses, paired with the right food.
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, November 17, 1997.

We sell no wine before its time.
Paul Masson, NBC TV, November 16, 1987, quoted in Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations, James B. Simpson, 1997.

We will drink no wine before it’s poured. Many sources.

Jason Brandt Lewis thinks that Orson Wells saying Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time -- when the wine takes 4 months to make -- is a just a crock of sediment.
Don Chapman, The Honolulu Advertiser, 1970s.

Robin Garr: Putting on Wellsian grumble: "Thursday was a most excellent vintage ... "

Napa Valley vintners (several): Orson Wells: “No wine before its time.” Banker: “It’s time, Paul.”

Tonight Show Johnny Carson and his Mighty Carson Art Players did a skit entitled "TV ads we'd like to see". One of them had Johnny, waist stuffed with pillows and cotton in his cheeks, as Orson Welles. He majestically declaims, "Here at Paul Masson, we will drink no wine before its time". Then there's a cut to a skid row alley where Carson, dressed as a skid row bum, glances at his watch, gleefully exclaims, "It's time!", unscrews the cap a bottle in a paper bag and proceeds to chug-a-lug the contents.
Paul Winalski, WLDG, 2001.

Regards, Bob
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Ian Sutton

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:22 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Ian Sutton wrote:I'm guessing Paul Masson indeed didn't sell wine before it's time, that time being the 1970's :wink:


Ian, I remember visiting Harrod's in London in the early '80s and being bemused to find that Paul Masson was one of the few American wines readily available in Blighty. "What must they think of us," I wondered ...

Robin
Don't worry, the competing wines were Blue Nun, Black Tower and Mateus Rose. Yum :mrgreen: those were the days! :roll:
regards
Ian
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Dale Williams

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Dale Williams » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:30 pm

I did find the outtake amusing, but a bit sad too. Let's don't forget that Orson Welles is one of the few people in American cinema* who probably deserve to be considered a genius. Few things are as guaranteed to stop me flipping channels as running across "Touch of Evil," "The Magnificent Ambersons" (even butchered), or Kane. It's not just as a director either- Hank Quinlan or Harry Lime are extraordinarily well played. On the Youtube Masson commercials the "tasting party" one gives one just a hint of a glimpse of the younger Welles. A man of some personal failings, but who struggled pretty hard not to sell out for a long time. I'll cut him some slack for the ads.

* some would consider his stagings of Shakespeare in Haiti or the Mercury Theater stuff as genius of stage and radio, too, but I'm too young for WPA theater or more than a few recordings of the radio stuff.
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Thomas

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Thomas » Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:12 pm

Yes, Dale. I'm on your page about Orson. Hollywood's system kind of forced him into doing those commercials and magic tricks.

The other sad part of the story is what the Paul Masson Winery used to be, when Martin Ray owned it, and what it became in corporate hands.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Carl Eppig » Sat Nov 18, 2006 10:30 pm

Actually Paul Masson is useful these days. We use the bottles for decanters and our flowers love the wine.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by David M. Bueker » Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:25 pm

To be honest, I think the outtake is fake. The head of Orson Welles does not fit the body it is on.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Orson Welles on selling wine before its time

by Bob Ross » Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:45 pm

It's worth mentioning that "F is for Fake" is a wonderful Welles film. David may be right about more than Riesling. :)

http://www.criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=288

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