Just watched the legendary Merv Griffin interview of Orson Welles, available from Amazon as part of a 3-disc set, “The Merv Griffin Show: 40 of the Most Interesting People of our Time.” Griffin says it was one of some 40 he did with Welles, and that, unlike the others, which were made with the agreement that the two of them would “just wing it” and there’d be “no trips down memory lane,” this time Welles told him: “Tonight, I feel very expansive... all those questions you wanted to ask me about Rita, Marlene, Citizen Kane – ask them...” Welles died just hours after taping the show.
While it’s not complete, running about 8 minutes, the excerpt contains some very personal observations, although Welles slyly (and for us, sadly) tells Griffin, who asks him about “painful times,” that “I’m saving them for MY book.” His encomium to Dietrich is eloquent, his respect and affection for Hayworth moving. At the end, he says he’s been “tremendously lucky – that’s not false modesty – I do believe it has everything to do with everybody’s life.”
A propos de rien, a curious thing happens as he enters the set: approaching the audience, he throws a small box – a cigarette box? – to a girl in the front row. Anyone know what that was?