1 user

The Orson Welles Show (1979)

| Talk-Show | TV Movie


(as G.O. Spelvin), (uncredited)


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Don Quixote (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story of a Spanish gentlemen gone mad and his dim-witted squire sancho panza, who set forth on a journey to right wrongs and accomplish good deeds in the name of chivalry.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Francisco Reiguera, Akim Tamiroff, Orson Welles
The Deep (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A couple's honeymoon trip aboard a yacht leads to a claustrophobic drama when another vessel runs into their voyage, apparently drifting.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Michael Bryant, Oja Kodar, Laurence Harvey
It's All True (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary about Orson Welles's unfinished three-part film about South America.

Directors: Bill Krohn, Myron Meisel, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Manuel 'Jacare' Olimpio Meira, Jeronimo André De Souza, Raimundo 'Tata' Correia Lima
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An American ballistics expert in Turkey finds himself targeted by Nazi agents. Safe passage home by ship is arranged for him, but he soon discovers that his pursuers are also on board.

Directors: Norman Foster, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio
The Immortal Story (TV Movie 1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the Portuguese town of Macao, a wealthy trader named Charles Clay hires two people to recreate a story of a sailor who is paid to impregnate a man's wife.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Roger Coggio
Certificate: M Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

In 1912 West Africa, diamond tycoon Kramer hires penniless American fortune hunter Dan Rockland, who's posing as a geologist, but when a huge diamond is found, everyone wants to steal it.

Directors: Sidney Hayers, Orson Welles
Stars: George Segal, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three stories of murder and the supernatural. In the first, a museum worker is introduced to a world behind the pictures he sees every day. Second, when two lifelong friends fall in love ... See full summary »

Directors: David Eady, George More O'Ferrall, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Orson Welles, John Gregson, Elizabeth Sellars
Orson Welles' Magic Show (TV Short 1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Orson Welles was a big fan of magic and in this television broadcast develops a number of traditional tricks.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Allen Bracken, Angie Dickinson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In one of his final appearances, Orson Welles reads a moving passage from a diary written by Charles Lindberg, who wrote a lovely message to comfort a dying friend. Sitting behind a ... See full summary »

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles
Moby Dick Rehearsed (TV Movie 1955)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A play-within-play of Moby Dick by Orson Welles.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Gordon Jackson, Christopher Lee, Patrick McGoohan
Moby Dick (2000)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a screening of 'The Trial' at the University of Southern California, Welles discussed with the public and tried to answer their questions.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Joseph McBride, Todd McCarthy, Myron Meisel


Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gonzo (voice)
Himself / Kermit the Frog
Himself / Fozzie Bear / Animal


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

character name in title | See All (1) »







Also Known As:

Die großen Geheimnisse des Orson Welles  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Searching for Orson (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Too Intelligent to be a "Flop"
19 January 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"It was frankly an attempt to enter the commercial field and earn my living as a talk show host. It was just a flop, that's all, nobody wanted it." This was what Welles said about this unsold pilot for a television talk show. I have come across some obscure unsold pilots in my time as an old tape collector, but I am still reeling from seeing this one and learning that the networks collectively passed on it.

The Orson Welles Show had no shortage of brilliance. Few people on the stage and screen fill the shoes of a host better than he did in this endeavor. Regrettably, I am not too familiar with Welles' work as a director or a performer. I have seen only a few of his movies, and Citizen Kane was not among them (something I still need to remedy). Nevertheless, the man is difficult to dislike for those familiar or unfamiliar with his work. For 1979, his idea for a talk show is a step above his predecessors, combining one part variety show, one part magic act, one part Ripley's Believe It or Not, and one part Inside the Actors Studio. Welles' interview with Burt Reynolds was candid and consisted entirely of questions from the audience. There was an intimacy to it because there was no stage: Reynolds and Welles discussed the trials and tribulations of directing with the audience surrounding them and sitting only a few feet away.

Welles filmed the entire pilot with a single camera. It became obvious through the course of the pilot that several takes were required to deliver what Welles intended. This detracted from the realism in the sketch material, but fortunately it had little effect on the interview segments. It could be jarring at times and clearly was a difficult effort. The Muppet performance suffered the most. It seemed as though none of them wanted to spend a great deal of time between cuts and takes to struggle to make each Muppet's lines and actions come close to what an audience expects to see with the limitation of Welles' camera equipment. The result was a far cry from what a Muppet audience expects to see but somehow more intriguing to watch because it felt like a dress rehearsal for a Muppet show. The personalities of the puppeteers themselves seemed to come through their respective Muppets more than the characters of the Muppets themselves. There were obvious multiple takes to put close-ups on each Muppet to hold the illusion because the puppeteers did not have a custom-built stage to hide them from sight, but they made it clear they were reading from cue cards (as Gonzo struggled to hold up the cards for anyone to see). They got through it, stumbling and ad-libbing on occasion to fill in the holes of the cue card routine. Welles reminded the audience that this was more a demonstration of what goes into producing a professional talk show, and that absence of seriousness showed.

The show took a sharp turn from interview to stage performance as Welles displayed his love of the history and spectacle of stage magic. This is the point of the show that made it seem like production costs might have been more than a network was willing to pay for even a weekly show. Welles showed prerecorded footage of a card trick he performed with Angie Dickinson (which also suffered from the multiple camera cuts), eventually taking the stage with her to perform a suspenseful psychic Russian Roulette trick inspired by the death of early 20th century magician Chung Ling Soo. The performance provided more in its history lesson than its execution, but, again, this was a pilot and not a semi-annual television special.

The Orson Welles Show had virtually no competition for the kind of show it was for 1979. Orson Welles tried to be a jack-of-all-trades, but he was anything but a master of none. I can imagine the sort of challenges it would have presented for Welles and any network that might have taken this show, but it is no less disappointing that no one even gave it a chance. It would be hard to imagine Welles doing one of these shows once a week let alone every weeknight because of the amount of energy that comes off the screen. Welles was a film director, and television was a different entity. Still, Welles showed ample knowledge and respect for the industry itself, and he did not seem to subscribe to the idea that television viewers were on some lower intellectual plane (though it might have insulted the intelligence of a few network executives). The only time the atmosphere was uncomfortable was when someone in the audience asked a loaded question that caused Welles or his guests to hesitate. Some audience members asking the questions seemed to want Welles and his guests to denigrate their peers in Hollywood, or they simply wanted to shine a spotlight on the crowd to proclaim, "I'm a (wannabe) actor, too." Welles and his guests took it in stride.

The personality Welles had was perfect for a variety show, but, sadly, he had a limited window for displaying it. He might have been known more as a director than anything else, but the man knew how to deliver lines. Any information or anecdote he shared always was delivered with his signature enthusiasm, eloquence and dry sense of humor, an on-screen personality comparable to Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock. Welles was well-read and quoted literature often, but he could tell a joke, too. In this reviewer's opinion, he came through on his vision to put something together that would engage and entertain a television audience, but the fact that this obscure gem is all but lost to history seems to prove I am alone.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
G. O Spelvin? pearce-duncan
Discuss The Orson Welles Show (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page