Orson Welles (1915-1985) was a man of many skills, most especially radio, film and writing. He made his name with his dramatic 1938 radio broadcast of HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds” which it is said caused mass panic that Martians really were invading. He went on to produce one of the best films ever made “Citizen Kane” and “The Third Man” among many other successes.
Welles was a great fan of all things Spanish and aficionado of bullfighting. He was a frequent visitor to and was well known in Jerez where he was made the fourth member of the Orden del Tio Pepe by the Marqués de Torresoto, and his signed butt can still be seen at the bodega. In “Chimes at Midnight” he played Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, an inveterate drinker of Sherris Sack.
It may be for this reason that he was commissioned by Domecq in the 1970’s to make television commercials for their Double Century Sherry, a slightly sweetened Oloroso, introduced in 1930 for Domecq’s bicentenary and which became very popular. After his death, Welles’ ashes were buried in an old well at the finca near Ronda of his friend and bullfighting legend Antonio Ordóñez.
Now, on the occasion of the centenary of the great man’s birth the president of the Cine-Club Popular de Jerez, José Luís Jiménez, has proposed to the city council that a street be named in his honour in recognition of what he did to promote the city. What an excellent idea!