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What evil lurks in the hearts of men?
January 10, 2007 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Orson Welles may be best known as the director and star of Citizen Kane, but before he made movies he was a star of the radio. Although he gained notoriety by narrating War of the Worlds in 1938, he was also the voice of Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, and had a successful run as the creator and star of the Mercury Theater On The Air, which, after gaining sponsorship, became known as the Campbell Playhouse. Even after the heyday of radio, Welles provided his voice for The Black Museum series (based on real-life cases from the files of Scotland Yard), and The Lives of Harry Lime, a prequel to his role in the film The Third Man.
posted by supercrayon (38 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is my first ever post, so I hope it's not goofy or anything.
posted by supercrayon at 4:09 PM on January 10, 2007


I love it, but maybe I'm biased.
posted by thethirdman at 4:13 PM on January 10, 2007


Burg Kino in Vienna features The Third Man every Friday and Sunday, God bless them
posted by matteo at 4:28 PM on January 10, 2007


Looks pretty damn good to me.
posted by IronLizard at 4:33 PM on January 10, 2007


This is my first ever post, so I hope it's not goofy or anything.

Please don't whine before its time.
posted by hal9k at 4:34 PM on January 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


The second to last link seems like it'd make a killer post by itself. Too bad they're .ram files.
posted by brundlefly at 4:41 PM on January 10, 2007


NICE post
posted by squidfartz at 4:43 PM on January 10, 2007


Welles also helped Superman foil a real invasion from Mars in Superman #62, "Black Magic on Mars" (Jan/Feb 1950).
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:44 PM on January 10, 2007


In later years, he was reknowned for his voice-over work.
posted by jwest at 4:50 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Supercrayon, this is a very good post! The only major thing you left out: Welles was 26 when he did "Kane." TWENTY-FREAKIN' SIX! We're all losers by comparison. Hell, 40+ year old Orson himself was a loser by comparison.
posted by kimota at 4:51 PM on January 10, 2007


In later years, he was reknowned for his voice-over work.

You mean his final role as a big toy who attacks a bunch of smaller toys?
posted by juv3nal at 4:57 PM on January 10, 2007


Excellent post! I'm listening to the first episode of The Lives of Harry Lime now. "From Hungary come goulashes and csardases.... As I said, I love the taste of paprika..." What a voice! And what kimota said.

"Your name used to be Lily, and you used to be a blonde..."

Love the zither too!
posted by languagehat at 5:04 PM on January 10, 2007


Cool!
posted by Paragon at 5:05 PM on January 10, 2007


This Is Awesome. For even MENTIONING The Third Man you get serious point.
posted by tkchrist at 5:05 PM on January 10, 2007


Great post dude. As if Orson Welles was Unicron, he just gets better the more you learn about him.
posted by Count at 5:30 PM on January 10, 2007


Hey, FYI, Archive.org has TONS of old radio serials, like the aforementioned Mercury Theater On The Air.

A personal favorite of mine is X-Minus One.
posted by zerolives at 6:14 PM on January 10, 2007


i used to listen to the lives of harry lime all the time when i was a kid (in reruns of course ;) and it gave me an obsession con-artist films and books.
posted by grex at 6:30 PM on January 10, 2007


Someone already covered this, but I would like to underline that Orson Welles really is most well-known for being the voice of Unicron in what is essentially an animated pornography for eight year old boys.

Lasers, robots, Weird Al, Eric Idle, Orson Welles and fucking Spock, all in one movie!

Actually, I've really liked the handful of Welles movies I've seen. The only one I've watched more than once remains Citizen Kane though... Well. I suppose I have also watched Transformers: The Movie more than once, but not in a long, long while.

His decision to cast himself as Othello in his own Othello was, um, interesting. And led to lots of inappropriate humor while I was watching it.
posted by sparkletone at 7:01 PM on January 10, 2007


With all due respect, sparkletone, I don't think Welles is "most well-known" for his Transformers voicework. He's well-known for a wide range of things, mostly his movies. Even within the realm of voicework he's known more for his wine commercials, that freakout he had while reading a commercial script (the recording of which makes the rounds now and again), and for being impersonated on "Pinky & the Brain" -- not "Transformers".

If today is Wednesday, I must be pedantic.
posted by smashingstars at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2007


This is good, and goes well with the Ken Nordine post that came not too long back.

Course, my favorite Welles film was F for Fake.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2007


(edgeways' Ken Nordine post)
posted by kid ichorous at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2007


Niceness.
posted by parki at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2007


Oh how I wish that someone would convert those Lives of Harry Lime files to MP3 or similar format, because RAM can eat my ass - as the kids say.
posted by cerulgalactus at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2007


Goofy post... and by goofy, I mean freakin' great, supercrayon! Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2007


My favorite is his portrayal of Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre.
posted by goml at 8:14 PM on January 10, 2007


Great Post!
posted by hadjiboy at 8:58 PM on January 10, 2007


holy fuck, orson welles did the voice of lamont cranston?!

awesome post.
posted by shmegegge at 9:07 PM on January 10, 2007


Some of the Harry Lime radio stuff was also a precursor to Mr. Arkadin, which is amazing.
posted by pablocham at 9:10 PM on January 10, 2007


I have long argued that Casablanca was the pinnacle of American film making. I have specifically spoken out against Wells' far less interesting and eternal Citizen Kane as always stealing the spotlight from, what I consider to be a far better film.

That said, you're post was absolutely excellent. No argument whatsoever. I am enough of a film nerd to be the guy who calls out Wells, but I will also be the guy to break a pool cue over the back of someone who disparages the genius that is the guy who revolutionized film making as we know it.

Have no doubts supercrayon, you keep putting together quality posts like this, and you will draw many fans. Myself included.
posted by quin at 11:08 PM on January 10, 2007


If this is your first post, you are off to a terrific start. Faved.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:40 PM on January 10, 2007


Perfect timing as I'm half way through this excellent summary of his life and work, so nice one supercrayon...
posted by Mintyblonde at 6:39 AM on January 11, 2007


Citizen Kane was pretty good work for a 25 year old.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:09 AM on January 11, 2007


I have specifically spoken out against Wells' far less interesting and eternal Citizen Kane as always stealing the spotlight from, what I consider to be a far better film.

I love both films, and -- respectfully -- I think this is a little silly. "Casablanca" is very well-know and respected. It's not like there's only one film that film-buffs love. If there was, we could complain about the fans that "Kane" or "Casablanca" steal from the great films of the silent era!
posted by grumblebee at 9:52 AM on January 11, 2007


Perfect timing as I'm half way through this excellent summary of his life and work,

That's funny, I'm halfway through this book myself.

Thanks for the kind words everyone.
posted by supercrayon at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2007



Oh how I wish that someone would convert those Lives of Harry Lime files to MP3 or similar format, because RAM can eat my ass - as the kids say.


If you buy the Criterion Collection's restored version of Mr. Arkadin, it actually comes with three episodes in mp3 format on one of the DVDs. Worth at least a rental for those files alone.
posted by mikeh at 11:45 AM on January 11, 2007


grumblebee : "Casablanca" is very well-know and respected. It's not like there's only one film that film-buffs love. If there was, we could complain about the fans that "Kane" or "Casablanca" steal from the great films of the silent era!

I don't disagree, both are amazing films, it's just that it seems like whenever you see one of those "Best Films of all Time" lists, Kane is always number one and Casablanca is always number two.

I just feel the need to rail against this injustice from time to time. [Also these lists invariably exclude what is easily the most powerful and best film of all time. Ever. A movie that the likes of Kane and Casablanca should cower in fear of. I speak of course, of Repo Man.]
posted by quin at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2007


Casablanca better? maybe.
As technically influential? No freaking way.
posted by juv3nal at 12:51 AM on January 12, 2007


I love this man so much. Citizen Kane transformed the way I watched movies- before it, I couldn't stomach anything made prior to 1960.

His best performance yet, was much later though, and for TV.

Great post, thanks!
posted by id at 2:19 AM on January 12, 2007


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