Below I've posted two clips which, together, give us a view of Welles that is both amusing and sad. First is the infamous audio of Welles at a voiceover session, destroying the director and in general behaving abominably (though it's hard not to empathize with him, given the annoying and confusing direction he's being given). No matter how many times you've heard this very famous clip, it remains freshly cruel and hilarious.

But the second clip I've posted tells us a somewhat darker story. It's a sketch from a 1982 Billy Crystal Comedy Hour in which John Candy plays Welles. It's clear that his rendering of Welles--boorish, rude to technicians and dismissive of other's feelings--is based on knowledge of the audio tapes. And the audiences laughter at the routine suggests that they, too, are in on the Welles tapes. The question is HOW? There was no Youtube to spread the word back then. Weird audio was strictly black market stuff--I know because I used to collect non-Kermit Schaeffer bloopers from various strange sources. Had the original Welles tapes somehow surfaced and lowered the public's opinion of the great man even further?

Public perception of Welles was never lower than in this time period--just a few years before his death. I'm not talking about cineastes but about the mainstream audience--the ones who once-upon-a-time thrilled to his "War of The Worlds" broadcast. Clearly, from the laughter generated by Candy's cruel portrayal, Welles was considered bloated, self-loving, arrogant and rude. Maybe he knew this and didn't care. As he commented to somebody (Bogdanovich? Jaglom?) once: "Oh how they'll love me when I'm dead.

Here's the Welles audio:

And here's the John Candy/Billy Crystal...

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