R Kadin and Blunted, your memories reminded me of an apocryphal story that, one night on stage, a Shakespearean sound effect (thunder, I think) failed just as an actor had to refer to it. The actor bravely declaimed his line, and Welles slipped up to him and whispered: "Who do you think you're kidding?" Everyone nearby, including the actor, broke up, the story goes.
I was trying to check the source and the details. I could not find it, but I did find a reference to Orson Welles in a Robert Fulford column about Canadian Radio. Most of the article concerns a satire based on the Joe McCarthy Period, entitled "The Investigator," which became an underground classic.
[I have a copy of it on reel-to-reel, somewhere.]
The second part of the article deals with less renowned Canadian Radio, in particular a wartime propaganda series, Nazi Eyes on Canada, which utilized Hollywood actors, including Welles, to sell warbonds.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
<<[The radio plays] were inspired by the National War Finance Committee and designed to sell Victory Bonds. J. Frank Willis, who produced them, brought Helen Hayes, Vincent Price and some other Hollywood actors to Toronto to play Canadians. Remarkably, the narrator on one show is Orson Welles.
Four years earlier, Welles had created panic in the streets with his realistic depiction of an interplanetary invasion, The War of the Worlds.
Now he was involved in another futuristic drama, this one about the conquest of Canada. The plays depict the Germans and the Japanese winning the war around 1946 and imposing a murderous tyranny on Canada. In successive one-hour dramas, we hear the enemy destroying Canadian families in five different regions, from New Brunswick to British Columbia (predictable anti-Japanese racism here). Each script has several commercials shamelessly embedded in the dialogue, calculated to produce intense guilt in those who haven't bought enough Victory Bonds.
One poor Toronto woman, now living under the Germans, accepts personal responsibility: "I failed ... I could have worked harder. I could have given up pleasures, given up luxuries, given to the last ounce of my strength."
Welles, narrating the story of a courageous Saskatchewan newspaper editor, tells Canadians to invest as much as possible: "Have you planned on personal self-denial to the point where your conscience is clear?" And Lorne Greene, nicknamed the Voice of Doom for his ability to make even good war news sound bad, says: "What about it, Canada?"
The tapes produced by Scenario deliver the direct and unmediated sound of history, and for that I'm grateful. On the other hand, some golden ages are better to read about than revisit.>>
Sounds like a guilty pleasure to me. For the full article, which is interesting on other scores, go to: