Store, I am so pleased to see you state that you first discovered Welles through the Paul Masson commercials, and I love that RayKelly has chosen that incarnation of Welles as his avatar. I have never had a problem with Welles the pitchman; that endearing, avuncular commercial confidant, ubiquitous in the late 70's early 80's, is an important component of the Welles persona. It somehow made him seem an even more essential and enduring part of the culture for a younger generation at a time when many of the old giants were being marginalized, forgotten, or mummified. My friends and I used to talk about Welles's commercials, and look forward to the new ones. The man had presence, he was cool, and when I later caught up with most of his films, it just made him cooler that the guy who directed THE TRIAL could show up on TV and state with utmost authority, "if variety is the spice of life, then Preview is surely the paprika...". The commercials humanized Welles to a degree, made him more like us, and, conversely, made it seem possible that we could be more like him, that his achievement was not an Olympian impossibility destined never to be repeated.
I would like to note that I have always suspected that that infamous Paul Masson drunk outtake is not what it seems. Every biography of Welles that I have ever read agree on two things: that he was scrupulously professional during his commercial gigs, taking them very seriously and doing his utmost to make the thing work; and that his ability to imbibe and function was almost superhuman. This was a guy who could drink two or three bottles of wine at lunch, go back to work until midnight, and then stay up until four tapping out a script. For Welles to get that stupified, so that he could barely function, would require drinking how much wine, a case? While they were setting up the lights? I don't buy it. I think the thing was a gag, another Wellesian hoax, and a funny one to boot. Watch the video again without preconceptions and look at the expression on Welles's face. It's priceless. Classic comedy from a master of manipulation.