For his part, Welles needed the money to finish his masterpiece Shakespeare mashup Chimes At Midnight. All that effort didn't translate into a stellar reception at the time, though. A critic described Welles performance as Falstaff as "a dissolute, bumbling street-corner Santa Claus." One listen to the Findus sessions, and it's probably fair to characterize his reading of frozen food copy the same way, though add "really pissed off."
From "One more word out of you, and you go. Who the hell are you, anyway?" to "What is it that you want, in the depths of your ignorance?" to "No money is worth this s**t," Welles rags away at the director with all the irritation someone being made to do the ads against his will. Except he could reportedly command 15k for work like this, so it's not like he wasn't compensated.
None of this seems all that outrageous in an age in which pissy celebrity outtakes get tossed to us daily. But in the mid-1970s, it was absolutely world-crashing to learn that such a revered director had stooped to blathering about frozen peas for money and then hear him pretty much go insane doing it.
Known colloquially as "Orson Welles Frozen Peas," the tape surfaced first at radio stations, then copies were made and traded among friends. British actor and My Cousin Vinny director Jonathon Lindus, who worked with Welles, has described bootlegs going around Europe, and tells of how Welles fucked with the producers of the commercials for having the temerity to make him audition by then forcing them to chase him all over Europe to get the sessions done.