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Monday, 14 December 2009

The Movies

Me and Orson Welles

By Richard Carreño
Junto Staff Writer
In the late 1960's, my parents owned a flat at 21 Boulevard Montmorency, in the 16th, in Paris. In that same building, so did Orson Welles.

I got to thinking about 'me' and 'Orson' because of a new sort of eponymous movie that has a young fellow paling 'round with a youngish Orson, of the Mercury Theatre era in New York. Ahem, that was not me.

In the 60's, I was a student at the American University of Paris, and I was mostly paling 'round with Andy Hamilton, who was hardly a Mercury type. But that's not to say that Orson wasn't on my radar screen.

In fact, he was a very large black blip on the screen. That's because Welles, when I spied him several times per week, was always dressed in black. Head to toe. Bearded. Always with a black-coloured trilby topping his head.

And very fat. 

Normally such an attribute wouldn't make much difference -- unless, of course, as was the case, you're in the apartment house lift with Orson. In those days, Paris lifts were small. Still larger than the 'cages' we knew best.

'Good morning, Mr. Welles,' I'd say, sashaying around him, especially if others were crammed in the lift. 'Good morning!' he'd boom.

That was pretty much it as far as 'Me and Orson Welles' goes.

I'd walk down the street to connect with the nearby Metro stop at Jasmin.

Mr. Welles would enter the rear of his chauffeured-driven vehicle. A grey Volkswagen bug.